Travel Guide to Florida - - CENTRAL FLORIDA -

Known as the “Town of Mu­rals,” Lake Placid fea­tures nearly 50 color­ful mu­rals within its his­toric out­door art gallery. This small, Old Florida town is also known for its Amer­i­can Clown Mu­seum and School. Soak in the cul­ture in nearby Avon Park at the Mu­seum of Florida Art and Cul­ture and the Alan Jay Wild­stein Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts, both on the Avon Park cam­pus of South Florida State Col­lege.

Lo­cated on Iron Moun­tain, Bok Tower Gar­dens in Lake Wales has been a fan fa­vorite since 1929. Its 205-foot neo-Gothic and art deco “singing tower” houses one of the world’s finest car­il­lons, with 60 bells play­ing con­certs daily. Tour Pinewood Es­tate, a 20-room Mediter­ranean-style home built in the 1930s, nes­tled among a spec­tac­u­lar col­lec­tion of ferns, palms, camel­lias and mag­no­lias. Fol­low the River of Stone—a mo­saic path­way com­posed of more than 100,000 hand­s­e­lected peb­bles—to the 2.7-acre hands-on Chil­dren’s Gar­den, an out­door kitchen and a farm-to-ta­ble edi­ble gar­den.

Who would guess the largest con­cen­tra­tion of Frank Lloyd Wright de­signs in the world is in Lake­land, Florida? The leg­endary ar­chi­tect over­saw and de­signed the con­struc­tion of 12 struc­tures, in­clud­ing his only plan­e­tar­ium, on the cam­pus of Florida South­ern Col­lege. A 13th struc­ture, the Uso­nian House, was com­pleted in 2013. Based on an orig­i­nal 1939 de­sign, the unique build­ing is part of the new visitor cen­ter at the col­lege.

The City of Or­lando is now home to the Dr. Phillips Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts host­ing Broad­way shows, con­certs and com­mu­nity events in the heart of down­town.

North of down­town, the Or­lando Mu­seum of Art, the Or­lando Science Cen­ter, Or­lando Shake­speare The­ater, Or­lando Reper­tory The­atre and Men­nello Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Art are all con­ve­niently lo­cated in the same cul­ture com­plex, the 45-acre Loch Haven Park. Nearby, Harry P. Leu Gar­dens and Leu House Mu­seum are part of a 50-acre botan­i­cal park cre­ated as gar­dens in 1936. Stroll path­ways past 50 va­ri­eties of aza­leas, 50 species of bam­boo, 2,000 camel­lia plants and 50 kinds of cit­rus trees. The house, built in 1858, is open for daily tours.

In artsy Win­ter Park, The Charles Hos­mer Morse Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Art is the world show­case for ev­ery­thing Tif­fany with the most com­pre­hen­sive col­lec­tion of works by Louis Com­fort Tif­fany. For the old­est and most dis­tin­guished col­lec­tions in Florida, the Cor­nell Fine Arts Mu­seum at Rollins Col­lege is a must-see.

A visit to his­toric Win­ter Gar­den is a step back in time. Once the bustling cen­ter of Cen­tral Florida and the largest cit­rus ship­ping point in the world, ar­ti­facts found around Lake Apopka in­di­cate Na­tive Amer­i­cans in­hab­ited the land for thousands of years, up un­til the col­o­niza­tion of Florida by Span­ish ex­plor­ers. The Gar­den The­atre, built in 1935, was re­stored to its true Mediter­ranean Re­vival style in 2008.

For a fun way to en­joy cul­ture, join the pedal-pow­ered party through his­toric San­ford on a 15-pas­sen­ger Limo Cy­cle.

Sit a spell in a rocker on the porch over­look­ing beau­ti­ful Lake Dora at The Lake­side Inn in Mount Dora, circa 1883. En­joy the quiet while sip­ping iced tea, just as past vis­i­tors Thomas Edi­son, Henry Ford and US Pres­i­dents Dwight D. Eisen­hower and Calvin Coolidge have done.

TOP LEFT: Or­lando Science Cen­ter. TOP RIGHT: Uso­nian House, an ex­am­ple of Frank Lloyd Wright ar­chi­tec­ture in Lake­land.. BOT­TOM LEFT: Glamp­ing at River Ranch in Polk County. OP­PO­SITE: High­lands Mu­seum of the Arts.

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