AIO 2018: Interesting Facts about Orlando, Florida

By By Cushla McGoverin

10 Interesting facts about Orlando, Florida:

1. How did it get its name?
There is no official documentation to explain how Orlando received its name. The city was originally named Jernigan, after it’s first permanent settler. As with any good mystery, there are several ideas behind how Orlando got its name including that it is the named after a character in Shakespeare’s “As you like it” or that it belonged to a soldier during the second Seminole War.
2. Florida is home to the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, and Seminole Tribe of Florida.
The original inhabitants of what is today known as Florida included the Apalache, Calusa, Choctaw, Creek, Miccosukee, Tequesta, Jeaga, Ais and Timucua tribes, among others.
3. It’s a popular destination.
More than 68 million people visit Orlando every year.
4. Orlando has a sinkhole downtown.
Lake Eola in downtown Orlando is the result of a sinkhole that is 80 feet at its deepest point. Lake Eola is one of Orlando’s more than 100 lakes, many of which are the result of sinkholes.
5. You may have watched the old city hall be destroyed.
When the old city hall had to go Orlando enlisted some outside help. The opening scene of the movie Lethal Weapon 3 shows the old city hall being blown up.
6. The first Orlando theme park opened in 1949 and was named Gatorland.
As the name suggested the main attraction was a gator, a 15 foot gator to be specific.
7. The City Beautiful
The official nickname of Orlando city is “The City Beautiful”. In the past, it has been known as “City Phenomenal” and “City of Light”.
8. Walt Disney never saw Walt Disney World complete.
Walt Disney began buying up swampland in Kissimmee, Florida after Disneyland (California) opened in 1955. He never saw the culmination of his Florida efforts, Walt Disney World opened in 1971, 15 years after Walt Disney died. Several of the original rides are still around today: Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Carousel of Progress, the Mark Twain Riverboat, It's a Small World, Tomorrowland Speedway, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, the Carousel, Mad Tea Party, Swiss Family Treehouse, the Country Bear Jamboree and the Enchanted Tiki Room, all of which are around today.
9. Lightning leader
Florida is known for its lightning. Florida has 17 out of the top 30 US cities for lightning and Orlando is among them.
10. Before Disney World there was cattle ranching.
Before tourism, there was a considerable amount of cattle ranching in Central Florida. Travel along the 417 GreeneWay Expressway and you are like to see some cattle grazing.
5 things to do in/around Orlando:

The theme parks
Orlando is known for its abundance of theme park fun. Between the Walt Disney World Parks, the Universal Theme Parks, Seaworld, Discovery Cove, Typhoon Lagoon, Legoland, and Gatorland you are sure to find something that appeals.
Kennedy Space Centre
Take a day trip and take in the Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex. At the Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex you can see the Heroes and Legends exhibit which exhibits the lives and careers of people who made the space program a reality, from engineers to early space explorers. You can take a stroll through the rocket gardens where you will see rockets from NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. Check out the events calendar to see what astronaut will be there the same day as you, and visit the Forever Remembered memorial honouring the astronauts who died during space shuttle missions STS-51L Challenger and STS-107 Columbia.
The Orlando Eye
Enjoy the view of downtown Orlando from a 400 foot observation wheel. Located on International Drive the ICON Orlando was previously known as the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye. The ICON Orlando 360 complex that houses the observation wheel houses several other attractions including the Orlando StarFlyer, a set of swings that rotate 360 degrees at 45 mph 450 feet in the air.
Enjoy the outdoors
Take in the native wildlife of Central Florida while skimming across the water’s surface in an airboat. See alligators, eagles, turkeys, wild boars, roseate spoonbills and other wildlife in their natural habitat. If an airboat isn’t your speed there are plenty of parks to hike through. Check out the hikes at the Tibet-Butler Preserve or take a stroll through the Harry P. Leu Gardens.
Visit a museum
If you are a fan of Tiffany glass then Orlando is the place for you; the Charles Homer Morse Museum of American Art has the world’s largest collection of Tiffany glass. The Museum of Osteology has more than 500 skeletons of different animals for those interested in vertebrate anatomy, or for a wider ranging science experience there is the Orlando Science Centre. The Orlando Museum of Art will be featuring several exhibitions during the final week of June, including Enduring Beauty: Seminole Art and Culture, 2018 Otlando Museum of Art Florida Prize in Contemporary Art, and Louis Dewis: A Belgian post-impressionist. Check out the Chocolate Museum and taste chocolate from around the world. 


Posted: 20 June 2018 by By Cushla McGoverin | with 0 comments

The views expressed by guest contributors to the Discover OSA Blog are not those endorsed by The Optical Society.


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