Central Florida – Arts and Culture
Known as the “Town of Murals,” Lake Placid features more than 40 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 campus of South Florida State College.
Standing tall on Iron Mountain, Bok Tower 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 Go bells ringing every half hour. 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 hand-selected 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.
From September through June, the college hosts the Festival of Fine Arts, featuring a calendar of musical, theatrical and dance performances as well as art exhibits.
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 5o 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 Indians 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.