Located in Orange County, in central Florida, Winter Garden is situated on the south end of Lake Apopka. It is known for its impressive citrus fruit industries and is also a popular resort for tourists. Redevelopment projects and the additional diversification of the manufacturing and service industries have resulted in the city's more recent growth spurt. The city is home to more than 25,000 residents.
Winter Garden contains a handful of educational institutions:
- Westside Tech: Located on East Story Road, Westside Tech is a high-tech vocational training institute that offers programs in adult basic education, English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), and General Educational Development (GED) test preparation.
- University of Central Florida, in nearby Orlando, contains the colleges of arts and humanities, business administration, education, engineering and computer science, optics and photonics, and sciences.
- Valencia Community College: This school, rated among the top 100 community colleges in the nation, has a campus in Winter Garden.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
The citrus industry is still a vital part of Winter Garden's economy and is bolstered by large companies such as Heller Brothers Packing, Roper Growers Cooperative and Louis Dreyfus Citrus Inc. However, the city's natural splendor has enabled tourism to become one of the leading industries in the region. The city currently boasts large manufacturers and service industries as well.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Winter Garden area accommodates about 5,800 houses with an occupancy ratio that is more than 90 percent. Out of occupied houses, owners occupy about 3,400 houses and renters occupy about 2,000 houses.
The Winter Garden Downtown Historic District is a U.S. historic district bounded by Woodland, Tremaine, Henderson and Lake View streets. It encompasses approximately 100 acres and contains 26 historic buildings. In 1996, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
West Orange is a beautiful neighborhood that features West Orange Trail, where you can enjoy the natural beauty of West Orange.
For the outdoor enthusiast or nature lover, Winter Garden offers numerous green spaces and parks:
- Chapin Station and Neighborhood Park is a 30-acre wooded park featuring the popular West Orange Trail, as well as a basketball court, a playground, tennis courts and a picnic pavilion.
- West Orange Trail: Situated near metropolitan Orlando and Walt Disney World, the West Orange Trail wends its way through the communities of Winter Garden and Apopka and features a xeriscape/butterfly garden and the Winter Garden Historical Museum, which offers a pleasing view of Lake Apopka. For equestrians, the trail also leads to the Clarcona Horseman's Park.
- Dr. Bradford Memorial Park: Located on West Division Street near Lake Apopka, this park features a canal that runs through it and empties into Lake Apopka, and offers visitors a delightful array of birds and aquatic animals to observe.
- Newton Park is also located near Lake Apopka and provides some very scenic views as well as some wildlife, including snakes, turtles, alligators and birds. The park's most impressive features are its 300-foot fishing pier and tot-lot playground, which is outfitted with climbing equipment, swings and a merry-go-round.
- Sam Williams Little League Complex hosts countless Little League teams in West Orange County and is the principal youth athletic facility in Winter Garden. The complex also contains Walker Field, which is home to the West Orange Wildcats Pop Warner Football League.
- Zander's Park is one of the more popular facilities in the city and features a pool and other outdoor amenities. Several seasonal events are held at this park, including a Christmas cook-out and an Easter egg hunt.
Winter Garden has some additional outdoor amusements that may be attractive to the avid golfer or water skier:
- The Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge is considered to be one of the best municipal golf courses in the state and features first-class facilities, including two 18-hole courses and one nine-hole course. This ruggedly beautiful 920-acre facility also features more than 40 rooms and suites and special packages for overnight golfing vacations.
- Jodi's Ski School offers summer waterskiing clinics taught by British World Cup Champion water skier Jodi Fisher.
For those interested in local history, the city offers a handful of museums operated by the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation, including:
- Winter Garden Heritage Museum: Established in 1998, this museum includes an impressive collection of railroad memorabilia from the pioneer days, as well as Native American artifacts and photographs. The museum also houses the archives detailing the restoration of Lake Apopka.
- Central Florida Railroad Museum: This museum has perhaps the best collection of Florida railroad artifacts in the nation.
The city also features a variety of events:
- Uncle Don's Chili Cook-Off is held in January to benefit the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.
- Fridays on the Plaza, held in the Centennial Plaza in downtown Winter Garden, offers free family entertainment, including Celtic, bluegrass, blues, jazz, folk and beach music. While taking in the musical entertainment, residents and visitors can also check out the downtown area's bakeries, restaurants and specialty shops.
- Spring Fever in the Garden, an annual event organized by the Bloom and Grow Garden Society and the City of Winter Garden, offers the chance for residents to take two days of plant, flower and garden festivals.