Central Florida: Wikis

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Central Florida

Central Florida (also known as "Greater Orlando" and "CenFla") is the central region of the United States state of Florida, on the East Coast. The region enjoys a hot and stormy climate; thunderstorms and hurricanes are a constant threat in the Summer months.

Although the exact boundaries can be disputed, Central Florida is the area around metropolitan Orlando, including Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, Brevard, and Volusia counties. Polk, Flagler, and Sumter counties are often included in Central Florida demographics and are primarily served by Orlando media outlets. This area is part of the I-4 corridor.

The west central coast, including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Hernando counties, is the Tampa Bay Area or the Suncoast. These counties are not considered a part of Central Florida.

Contents

Population

In 2009, the estimated total population of the Central Florida region was just over 4 million people. This includes the populations of Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Brevard, Volusia, and Lake Counties. Explosive growth has fueled Central Florida for the past thirty years, but 2009 actually saw a decrease in population by about 2%. This decline is perceived to be a result of the real estate bust, but it is estimated that growth in Central Florida will rebound by 2010.[1]

The largest cities in Central Florida are Orlando, Palm Bay, Lakeland, Melbourne, Deltona, Daytona Beach, Kissimmee, Altamonte Springs and Sanford.

Transportation

Central Florida is the hub of Florida's transportation network with three major state highways, I-4, Florida's Turnpike, and SR 528, all intersecting in Orlando. As a result, a large number of distribution companies serving Florida are located in Orlando.

Central Florida has one interstate, Interstate 4, and a 100 plus mile network of tolled expressways. The region's reliance on toll roads is the result of local leaders failing to anticipate massive growth the arrival of Disney World brought in 1971. When the time came to build bypass and connecting freeways to I-4, federal funding depleted and Central Florida was forced to build toll roads in an effort to ease traffic congestion. The first of these toll roads, SR 408, opened in 1975. Expansion of the toll network began in the mid-1980's and continues to this day. Future plans include a toll road north to Daytona Beach running parallel to I-4, south from Orlando International Airport to Florida's Turnpike near St. Cloud, and east to Titusville running parallel to SR 50.[2]

Urban sprawl has long plagued Central Florida and has made Orlando the 8th worst city in the United States for traffic congestion. Local governments have continuously disagreed with each other, but have now started taking a more regional approach and several transportation initiatives are taking shape. A local citizens planning board, MyRegion.org, is an active voice in regional planning and communication.

Central Florida hopes to become the first region in the US to build a high-speed rail network. The first phase of this initiative, SunRail, is a commuter rail line that will run from Deland, north of Sanford, south to Kissimmee. The second phase is a high speed rail line that will run from the Orlando International Airport to Tampa. The final phase of the project, still in the planning stages, is a high-speed rail line running from Orlando south to Miami. Environmental studies have yet to begin for that initiative. If awarded funds from the US Government, Florida will begin construction on the Orlando-Tampa high-speed rail line in early 2010.[3]

Attractions

The area's biggest attractions include Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Studios Florida, Kennedy Space Center, Cypress Gardens, Bok Tower Gardens, Daytona International Speedway and Gatorland. Central Florida also has a wide variety of natural attractions including the St. Johns River, the Ocklawaha River, the Econlockhatchee River, Canaveral National Seashore, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and over 1,500 lakes and ponds. The region also boasts an extensive network of recreational trails (jogging, biking, equestrian, etc). While many connections are already in place construction continues on eventually linking all of the hundreds of miles of trails and greenways being developed by each county. Major trails include the Cady Way, Cross Seminole and West Orange Trails. Central Florida has one major zoo, The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, which is located in the city of Sanford, north of Orlando.[4] Other zoo's have been proposed, but never materialize. The main reason is that there are already two theme parks in Orlando featuring animals; Disney's Animal Kingdom and SeaWorld Orlando.

Culture

Central Florida is a culturally unique region. The traditional Southern feel found in states such as Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama is found primarily in the northern, rural sections of Central Florida; namely northern Volusia and Lake counties, and pockets of Orange County. The perceived "typical Florida" culture dominated by cosmopolitan living and national and international migration is primarily in Orlando. Visitors often notice a stark contrast between parts of Central Florida and North Florida and many Floridians often joke that you leave the South when you pass Ocala.

Cultural attractions in Central Florida include The Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando Science Center, Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre and Orange County Regional History Center; all of which are located in downtown Orlando. The Cornell Fine Arts Museum and Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art are located in Winter Park, just north of downtown Orlando. The Museum of Arts and Sciences and the Daytona International Speedway, home to NASCAR are located in Daytona Beach. Because of the large number of tourists and increasing local wealth, the area is home to major upscale retailers, hotels and restaurants. As a result, several major designers from Chanel to Louis Vuitton have shops in Orlando, most of which are located at the The Mall at Millenia.

Orlando is also home to several recording studios and television & film production facilities.

Economy

Tourism is a large contributor to Central Florida's economy. However, the area has made great strides to economically diversify. As a high-tech industrial hub, Metro Orlando has the seventh largest research park in the U.S., Central Florida Research Park, the engineering and business school of the University of Central Florida, and major defense companies such as Lockheed Martin and Siemens. Orlando will become a major medical research center with the University of Central Florida medical school, the Burnham Institute biomedical research facility and a new Veterans Administration hospital all opening in 2010. All of the aforementioned facilities will be located in the Lake Nona area and will collectively be referred to as Medical City. See the article Orlando, Florida for more detailed information regarding the local economy.

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aZOI02HF8V80
  2. ^ https://epass.oocea.com/Corporate/oursystem/FuturePlansStudies/ConceptStudies.aspx
  3. ^ http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2010/02/05/us-makes-play-to-catch-up-on-high-speed-rail.html
  4. ^ Welcome to the Central Florida Zoo "Central Florida Zoo.com

External links

Template:Greater Orlando

Coordinates: 28°55′37″N 81°43′17″W / 28.92694°N 81.72139°W / 28.92694; -81.72139

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Central Florida is a favorite destination for visitors due to the theme parks, NASCAR races, natural springs, golf courses, and the NASA facilities that put a man on the moon.

  • East Central Florida - Ranges from the theme parks in the center of the state to the Atlantic coast.
  • West Central Florida - Stretches from the Gulf Coast inland. May also be referred to as the Suncoast or the Tampa Bay area.
  • I-4 Corridor - The I-4 corridor overlaps the above and links the major population centers of Central Florida, stretching from Daytona Beach on the Atlantic coast, southwest through DeLand, Seminole County, Orlando, Lakeland, and into Tampa.
  • Cape Canaveral - Home of the Kennedy Space Center and Port Canaveral
  • Clearwater - Offers miles of beautiful beaches
  • Cocoa Beach - Beach community near Kennedy Space Center
  • Daytona Beach - Home of Daytona International Speedway
  • Kissimmee - Spring Training home of the Houston Astros
  • Orlando - Home of Universal Studios and SeaWorld
  • Ormond Beach - Offers miles of beautiful beaches and home to Tomoka State Park
  • Saint Petersburg - Home to Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays
  • Tampa - Home of Busch Gardens Theme Park

Central Florida is home to many natural springs. Many have been incorporated into state parks. The springs are great during the summer months because the water stays at a constant 72 degrees and the water is perfect for cooling off. Many visitors also go to the springs to spot manatees and alligators and to go boating. Some of the more popular natural springs destinations are listed:

  • Alexander Springs - Lake County
  • Blue Spring - Volusia County
  • DeLeon Springs - Volusia County
  • Juniper Springs - Lake County
  • Rock Springs - Lake County
  • Weeki Wachee Springs - Hernando County
  • Wekiva Springs - Orange County
  • Zolfo Springs - Hardee County

Talk

English is the official language of the state. However, the Spanish language is making inroads throughout the state. Native-born Floridians will usually speak in a southern accent. However, after the migration of millions of Americans from other states to Florida, the southern dialect is becoming diluted with other accents.

Full sized Hotel, with all anemnities and services, directly within Orlando International Airport itself.
Full sized Hotel, with all anemnities and services, directly within Orlando International Airport itself.
  • Orlando International Airport (MCO) - your choice airport for Disney World and the surrounding attractions in East Central Florida. Located south of Downtown Orlando, this airport offers car rentals and free shuttles to Disney World for visitors.
  • Tampa International Airport (TPA) - airport closest to the beaches of the Gulf coast and Busch Gardens in West Central Florida.
  • Daytona Beach Int'l Airport (DAB) - airport closest to the beaches of the East coast in East Central Florida.

Be aware that there are more airports throughout Central Florida which may get you closer to your ultimate destination; watch for these smaller airports while researching your destination.

By boat

Coastal cities have excellent year-round marina facilities, often serving large, luxury yachts. Port Canaveral on the Atlantic Coast and Tampa Bay on the Gulf Coast serve as cruise ports.

  • Amtrak Auto Train offers service with its southern terminus located in Sanford, about halfway between Daytona Beach and Orlando. The Amtrak Auto Train carries passengers and automobiles between Sanford and Lorton, Virginia, effectively serving as a car-rail link to Florida from the Washington, D.C. Metro Area. You can easily drive your car to your destination in Central Florida after departing from the Auto Train.

By bus

Central Florida is served by Greyhound Bus Lines, which has scheduled stops in Orlando and other cities. The Greyhound routes connect with other major cities in the United States of America.

  • I-95 runs north-south along the Atlantic coast throughout the entire Central Florida region. It connects with Jacksonville to the north and Miami to the south.
  • I-75 runs north-south through the middle-west of Central Florida, and connects to Ocala to the north, and Fort Myers in Southwest Florida.
  • Commuter Rail [1] - The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), in cooperation with local government officials in Orange, Seminole, Volusia and Osceola counties and the federal government, are currently working on a 61-mile commuter rail project, using existing Amtrak and CSX freight rail lines. The commuter rail line will roughly parallel Interstate 4, and is projected to start service in 2010.
  • LYNX - Public transportation by Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority. [2] With the main hub centered on Orlando, bus service provided in Osceola, Orange, and Seminole Counties. Some buses link to neighboring counties. Service to Disney World is available.
  • SCAT - Public Transportation by Space Coast Area Transit, offers bus service around Brevard County [3].
  • VOTRAN - Volusia County Transportation service. [4] Offers buses, shuttles, special services for the disabled and elderly. Connection offered with LYNX to reach Orlando.
Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse in Ponce Inlet
Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse in Ponce Inlet

Eat

With two coastlines, seafood is extremely popular in Central Florida. Some favorite dishes in the area include:

  • Conch (pronounced "conk") - These chewy clams are served tenderized with lime juice, raw, and chopped in salad. Also chopped, breaded, and fried as conch fritters and in conch chowder (usually red and spicy).
  • Mahi Mahi - A firm, white fleshed fish; delicious when served grilled, blackened or Cajun-style.
  • Grouper - One of the mildest fishes available; served fried, blackened, broiled, or grilled as an entree. Fried grouper sandwiches are also popular.
  • Yellowfin Tuna - A firm, flavorful semi-dark meat fish often served grilled, broiled, or blackened.
  • Florida Lobster - Known as a spiny lobster, the Florida lobster has no claws like Maine lobster. Florida lobster tails are broiled and served with melted butter.

Drink

All the counties throughout Central Florida are "wet" counties. Alcoholic beverages are sold in both taverns and liquor stores. The Florida State Alcoholic Beverage Control (Police) frequently conduct raids for underage drinking in tourist areas, particularly during Spring Break. There are places in the area for clubbing mainly in Orlando and the beach tourist areas. There are also many biker bars around the area because of periodic motorcycle rallies.

Tropical Drinks

Some tropical drinks that are popular in Central Florida, include:

  • Planters Punch - 1 oz. lemon juice, 1/2 oz. lime juice, 1 oz. passion fruit juice, 1 oz. pineapple juice, 1 1/2 oz. rum. Combine ingredients over shaved ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
  • Rum Runner - 1 1/2 oz. rum, 3/4 oz. blackberry brandy, 3/4 oz. creme de banana, splash of grenadine, splash of lime juice.
  • Bahama Mama - 1 oz. orange juice, 1 oz. pineapple juice, 1/2 oz. grenadine, 1/2 oz. rum, 1/2 oz. coconut flavored rum, 1 cup crushed ice. Garnish with a slice of pineapple and a cherry.
  • Pina Colada - 1 shot rum, 2 oz. coconut milk, 3 oz. pineapple juice, 1 cup ice. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Cuba Libre - 2 oz. rum, Coca Cola, lime wedge.

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Simple English

Central Florida is the central region of the United States state of Florida, on the East Coast. The region enjoys a hot but stormy climate, with many thunderstorms, and hurricanes threatening often.[1]

The exact boundary of the area may be in dispute. Central Florida tends to be thought of as the area around metropolitan Orlando, including Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, Brevard, and Volusia counties. Polk, Flagler, and Sumter counties are considered by some, including the local media, to be part of Central Florida. Although geographically in the central part of the state, usually the west central coast, including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Hernando counties, is considered the Tampa Bay area or the Suncoast, rather than a part of Central Florida. This area is known as the I-4 corridor.

In 2007, the guessed total population of the Central Florida area was just over 3.8 million people. Central Florida is a mix of deep south and typical Floridian culture. This is what makes the area unique.

The largest cities in Central Florida are Orlando, Palm Bay, Lakeland, Melbourne, Deltona, Daytona Beach, Kissimmee, Altamonte Springs and Sanford.

The region has grown over the last two decades. A lack of growth management has led to massive urban sprawl in the area. Outdated and unplanned building has led to an overload of vehicle traffic. Local governments, in dispute with each other over growth, have now started taking a more regional approach and several transportation programs.

References

Other websites

Coordinates: 28°55′37″N 81°43′17″W / 28.92694°N 81.72139°W / 28.92694; -81.72139


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