The area that is now Orlando was originally settled by Native Americans. The first permanent pioneer settlement of Orlando happened in 1842. Settlement did not expand much until after the Third Seminole War in the 1850s. Orlando was incorporated as a town in 1875. At that time, Orlando had 85 residents. Orlando became a popular resort in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Other key dates in Orlando’s history include:
- In 1838, the U.S. Army built Fort Gatlin south of present day Orlando to protect settlers from attacks by Indians.
- In 1880, the South Florida Railroad extended its line into Orlando.
- In 1970, the Orlando International Airport was built.
- In October of 1971, Walt Disney World opened.
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The City of Orlando is nicknamed “The City Beautiful,” and its symbol is the fountain at Lake Eola. Orlando is also known as “The Theme Park Capital of the World.”
Orlando is home to more than a dozen theme parks. Chief among its claims to fame is Walt Disney World, comprised of parks like the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, as well as water parks.. Orlando is also only 45 minutes from Port Canaveral, a major cruise ship port that plays host to at least three major cruise lines and over ten different cruise ships, including the Disney Cruise Line’s two ships.
Orlando has a hot, sub-tropical climate that is divided into two main seasons, the warm season (from late spring through early fall) and the cool season. The warm season is hot and very humid. The cool season is more temperate and comfortable. The cool season does occasionally see temperatures below freezing, typically over night. On average, the temperature dips below freezing in Orlando about three times a year.
- The Central Florida Zoological Park
- The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
- The Cornell Fine Arts Museum
- The Harry P. Leu Gardens
- The Historic Bok Sanctuary
- The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida
- The Orlando Science Center
- The Imperial Symphony Orchestra
- The Maitland Art Center
- Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in nearby Maitland
- Busch Gardens, Discovery Cove, SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Orlando Resort, Walt Disney World Resort
- Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba
- Cypress Gardens