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Last updated on April 20, 2020
You probably already know that Lake Eola is the jewel in downtown Orlando’s crown with its beloved swans, famed swan paddle boats, weekly Orlando Farmers Market, and year-round events, but these 10 facts about the park’s history may surprise even the most in-the-know downtowner.
The Summerlin family (yes, the same name as the street near the park's eastern border) donated the land to the city with the condition that it be beautified for public use. It was declared a public park in 1888.
Lake Eola resulted from a sinkhole. With a natural aquifer filling it from 200 feet below and stormwater from above, it became a popular spot to cool off during hot, summer days.
Some rumors state that "Eola" was the name of one of the Summerlins' sweethearts (either Jacob or his son, Robert), but others say she was only a family friend. The real story of the lake's namesake remains a mystery.
The Lake Eola fountain was installed in 1912 for $10,000. It was replaced in 1957 with the $350,000 Centennial Fountain, which was renamed the Linton E. Allen Memorial Fountain in 1966 to honor its biggest advocate.
The ancestors of today's resident swans first arrived in 1922 when they were separated from another breed being raised on Lake Lucerne. There are at least five species of swans-a-swimming in the lake now.
A 2009 lighting strike disabled the fountain until 2011 when the city invested $2 million to repair and restore the iconic landmark. Every night, the lake reflects a beautiful rainbow of colors from the choreographed light show.
And what about that very large lady reclining in the grass near the corner of Rosalind and Robinson? She’s The Muse of Discovery, one of six See Art Orlando sculptures at the park. Go ahead—sit in the palm of her hand for a unique photo.
The swans receive annual check-ups and vaccinations. They’re microchipped to keep track of their medical records and to recover them in case they get lost.
The large piece of black marble in the Japanese Rock Garden was received in 1983 from the city of Tainan, Taiwan as a token of friendship. The 12.5 ton stone was kept in storage and nicknamed “the Mayor’s pet rock” until being placed in its permanent home in 1988.
The rings of the Walt Disney Amphitheater bandshell were repainted with pride colors in 2016 to honor the 49 lives that were lost in the Pulse tragedy.
1 of the Top 10 must dos:
Pedal a swan boat on Lake Eola
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