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PARKS, PLAYGROUNDS AND GARDENS Winter Park boasts 11 major parks and 14 miniparks, ranging from large, amenity-packed sites to cozy places tucked away in neighborhoods; from manicured showplaces to a vast botanical garden encompassing wetlands and other untamed natural areas. Here they are: MAJOR PARKS Central Park. Known as the crown jewel of the city, this 11-acre park in the heart of the vibrant downtown shopping and dining district is the site of many popular annual events, including the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival and Christmas in the Park. But the beauty of its fountains, rose garden and oak tree canopy make any visit a special occasion. Wheelchair accessible, Wi-Fi enabled. 251 S. Park Ave. 407-599-3334. Dinky Dock. This 1.6-acre park on the shore of Lake Virginia features two docks, boat ramps and ���� �������������� ������������ ������������������ ������ ���������� ������������������ ���������� grills and picnic tables, it’s an ideal spot for a whole day on the water. Wheelchair accessible. Ollie Avenue. 407-599-3397. Howell Branch Preserve. Surrounded by wetlands, this 10.4-acre park offers a boardwalk and observa- ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������- ness trail with exercise stations and a playground. There are also picnic tables and a rental pavilion. Wheelchair accessible. 1205 Howell Branch Road. 407-599-3334. Kraft Azalea Garden. If Central Park is the city’s crown jewel, then this is its hidden gem. Sometimes referred to as the “secret garden,” this secluded and shady 5.2-acre park on the shore of Lake Maitland features a grand exedra and even grander cypress 8 LIVING IN WINTER PARK trees as well as, of course, azaleas galore. Wheelchair accessible. 1365 Alabama Drive. 407-599-3334. Lake Baldwin Park. The whole family can romp and play along the sandy beach of Lake Baldwin — including Fido. This 23-acre park, known locally as “the dog park,” is the only one in the city where man’s best friend may be off-leash. A playground, picnic tables, dock and boat ramp complete the fun. 2000 S. Lakemont Ave. 407-599-3334. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park���� ���������� ���� ���������������������� ������������������������ ������������������������ ���������� ���������� ������ �������������������� ������ �������� ���� king (or a little prince or princess). The northeast corner, where the Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center is now, is slated to be home for the city’s new public library and events center. Its 23 acres also include a variety of sports facilities. Lake Mendsen, which features a fountain and a community-built bridge, also provides ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� lake — more of a pond, really — known as Lake Rose was formed when a massive sinkhole opened in 1981 and swallowed a home and parts of several businesses along Fairbanks Avenue. Wheelchair accessible. 1050 W. Morse Blvd. 407-599-3334. Mead Botanical Garden. A wild, wonderful oasis, this 47.6-acre park is known for abundant bird life, natural wetlands and lush foliage. The greenhouse �������� ������������������ �������������� ���������� ������������������ ���������� ��������������- ized, while the Discovery Barn and community garden encourage all ages to become involved. Boardwalks have been expanded and repaired, and two amphitheaters are available for concerts and special events. Wheelchair accessible. 1300 S. Denning Drive. 407-599-3334. Phelps Park. This 5.9-acre park offers a variety of facilities for all ages, including two large playgrounds, The exedra at Kraft Azalea Garden is a beautiful place to sit and contemplate the beauty of the surroundings. and basketball and tennis courts. With two rental pavilions, it’s especially suited to family get-togethers. Wheelchair accessible. Phelps Avenue. 407-599-3334. Shady Park. Located in historic Hannibal Square, next to the Winter Park Community Center, the park features a “spray play” water feature as well as benches and a walking path. Wheelchair accessible. 721 W. New England Ave. 407-599-3275. Ward Park and Cady Way. Bisected by the popular Cady Way Trail, this park offers a tranquil respite for trail-blazers — as well as an abundance of athletic facilities across its 66-plus acres, includ- �������� ������������������������������������ �������������� �������������� �������������� �������������� courts, a football/track stadium and an Olympicsized pool. There are also two playgrounds, one of which is disabled-accessible. Wheelchair accessible. Cady Way at Perth Lane, 407-599-3334 or 2525; Cady Way, 407-599-3397. MINI-PARKS Alberta Drive Mini Park, Alberta Drive; Alberta/ Cortland Mini Park, Alberta Drive and Cortland Avenue; Alfred J Hanna Mini Park, Holt and French avenues; Bonnie Burn Mini Park, Bonnie Burn Circle; Fawcett Road Lakefront Mini Park, Fawcett Road; Hooper Park, Orange and Orlando avenues; Jay Blanchard Park, Aloma Avenue and Sylvan Drive; Lake Knowles, Lake Knowles Circle; Lake Wilbar, Wilbar Circle; Lasbury/ Maiden Mini Park, Lasbury Avenue and Maiden Lane; Orwin Manor Park, Orange Avenue; Smiley Park Mini Park, Phelps Avenue; Sunset/Chestnut Mini Park, Sunset Drive and Chestnut Avenue; Tyree Lane Mini Park, Tyree Lane. Via Bella Mini Park, Via Bella. �� PHOTO BY WINTER PARK PICTURES


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