When you come to the Orlando area, to visit Lakeland Florida may not even register in your mind. It didn’t for us early on, either.
On the first day we went to visit Lakeland Florida, we were actually heading for Legoland. Instead of confirming the opening days before leaving, we just went, and sure enough, Legoland was closed that day. My navigator (read boss) had wandered across something on the internet about a garden of some sort in Lakeland, and since we were almost there, we decided to press on and visit and see what’s what. Glad we did. It is very worthwhile.
We went to see the Hollis Gardens, the Lake Mirror Promenade, the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, and then we found a jewel… Barnett Park!
Here is information about some neat free stuff that parents can do, and kids can do, and have a good time while doing it when you visit Lakeland, just down the I4 from Orlando.
For the kids in Lakeland
Overlooking Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland Florida, with free parking no less, is this absolutely spectacular no-charge park for children of all ages. Our children are grown, and we had taken them to a lot of parks over the years, but never anything like Barnett Park. If you have the time scoot over to Lakeland from Orlando and get to this park, particularly if it is a warmer day. The water features just aren’t as nice when it’s cool. Even if it is sweater weather when you visit Lakeland, there is so much for the kids and the parents to do around Barnett Family Park the hours will fly by.
There are many kids and parents at the park all the time, yet the park is huge, and there is lots of room.
Take your time viewing the photos, and then, when you are in Orlando, take your kids to Barnett Family Park. No charge, free parking, nice bathrooms, bistro restaurant adjacent on the grounds, great places for mom & dad to sit and relax, free WiFi… it’s all good!
Open 8 am until dusk at 121 S Lake Ave, Lakeland, FL 33801, about 54 miles from downtown Orlando.
Enjoy Lake Mirror when you visit Lakeland
The Lake Mirror promenade is enjoyable and varied enough to keep children and adults entertained as they circumnavigate the lake. The promenade is located right beside the Barnett Family Park and adjacent to Hollis Gardens, as well.
There are other beautiful lake views of the many lakes in downtown Lakeland (after all – she’s known as Lakeland for a reason!) as well, but for all it has to offer we find Lake Mirror to be special.
There are lots of steps down to the water around Lake Mirror so if you and the kids stuff a couple of slices of bread in your pockets before you go, you can toss pieces to the birds and you’ll soon have many different species swimming at your feet.
Watch the little ones. The water is not safe for swimming (high bacteria count – many birds in the water don’t you know) and though we didn’t see any but the steel gator shown in the photos, I wouldn’t bet my kid’s life that there are none in Lake Mirror.