When Orlando was a much smaller city, just finding its wealth from the citrus trade, Lake Eola was part of its downtown. Today, Orlando is the fifth-biggest city in the United States, yet Lake Eola Park still stands there, perfectly preserved, at its heart. Of course, the park has developed a few new amenities over time, including an outdoor amphitheater and one-mile running path around its perimeter. Most iconic amongst the area's entertainments, though, is the Lake Eola Swan Boat. Visitors can rent these swan-shaped paddle boats, each capable of holding five adults as they cruise around the Lake, enjoying views of the surrounding neighborhoods and listening to the unsatisfied sighs of swans who wish they were ducks.
Orange County Regional History Center showcases the area's past inside a building steeped in Orange County history: the 1927 Courthouse. Today, visitors can explore the grand courtroom where the murderous Ted Bundy was allegedly arraigned. Such recent events, however, barely scratch the surface of the 12,000 years worth of history encompassed within the center's permanent exhibitions. Spanning Native American and Spanish roots to the meteoric rise of Walt Disney World, the museum illustrates Orange County's vast lineage.
The building has five floors, four of which house permanent exhibitions, temporary exhibitions and materials for traveling exhibitions that highlight Florida history throughout the country. An Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum also plays host to programs for all ages, from lunchtime speaking engagements to educational programs designed to spark the imagination and satisfy curiosity. The Emporium offers one-of-a-kind gifts reflecting the cultural history of Central Florida including rare vintage photographs, quirky Florida souvenirs, and delicious Florida treats.
The Ultimate Drunken Scavenger Hunt begins at Avenue Gastrobar and ends at Ghost Bar Lounge?and what happens in between is anyone's guess. On the first Sunday of June, teams of up to five will gather to compete for cash and prizes during a booze-filled afternoon of searching and solving around town. At Avenue Gastrobar, each team gets their list of items to track down and a round of shots for good measure. From there, they'll put their photography and drinking skills to the test while walking or jogging to establishments around the city as they uncover clues and perhaps the secret of where the city keeps all the baby pigeons. Along the way, they'll discover fun new places and drinks as they compete for the game's top three spots.
The Urban Dare Adventure Race is a fast-paced competition that challenges two-person teams to decipher clues, navigate the city, and perform playful stunts. Combining the bustle of a track meet with the brain-taxing sleuth work of a luge competition, the race uses a dozen trivia-based clues to lead contestants to checkpoints all over their sprawling metropolis. Location hunters reach their checkpoints by whatever means necessary, be it hopping a bus downtown, flying madly through a network of secret ziplines, or scuba-diving in a fountain for bus fare. At the mini destinations, racers must use a camera to document their presence or, in some cases, get their passports stamped after completing challenges that may include a climbing wall or solving a riddle.
The Orlando Predators stampede into the Arena Football League’s 25th season boasting the debut of a new head coach and retooled roster. Former Predators player and Winter Park native Bret Munsey brings with him both a new playbook and ArenaBowl championship expectations, telling the Orlando Sentinel upon his hiring, “[The Predators] want to win [this] year, and I’ve got to find a way to do that.” The front office has contributed to the championship campaign with new additions on both sides of the ball. Recently acquired quarterback Trevor Harris will compete with Collin Drafts for the duties of breaking the team out of each huddle and igloo-encased locker room. On defense, new nose tackle Richard Clebert dominates the line of scrimmage by clogging foes’ running lanes, as he did in his last two seasons on a pair of ArenaBowl championship teams.
Gathered at a local watering hole with his buddies, Chris Brown hatched an idea: a bar where guests could drink bottled craft beer in the company of classic, stand-up arcade games. Chris's vision transformed into BART, where coolers stock wine and craft beers from breweries such as Bell's, Harpoon, and Dogfish Head. The brews change every week, as do the free games, which include favorites from the 70s, 80s, and 90s such as Centipede, Donkey Kong, and Pac Man, the classic game that taught a generation that the best way to overcome their demons was to eat them. After beating the boss levels, patrons can enjoy more brews while checking out the local artwork.