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Welcome to Central Florida’s Polk County, where wide-open spaces meet up with sparkling lakes, fragrant orange groves, exciting attractions and unique downtowns. Our unmatched beauty, with abundant culture and history, makes us the perfect location for a quiet retreat or family vacation.
LEGOLAND® Florida Resort
LEGOLAND® Florida Resort is Dedicated to Families with Children Ages 2 to 12
As the largest LEGOLAND® Park in the world, the 150-acre property offers a unique mix of more than 50 rides, shows and attractions; plus restaurants, shops and a beautiful botanical garden (the former Cypress Gardens). Spectacular LEGO® models are found throughout 11 themed zones which include Miniland USA, LEGO Kingdoms, Imagination Zone, Pirates’ Cove and DUPLO® Village. The resort opened a new five-story, 152-room LEGOLAND® Hotel on May 15, 2015, adjacent to the entrance of the park. Rooms and suites feature décor in four themes: Pirate, Kingdom, Adventure and LEGO Friends. Guests of the hotel enjoy early access to LEGOLAND Florida Resort, free full breakfast daily, interactive play areas, daily and nightly entertainment, disco elevators, resort pool and exclusive access to a Master Model Builder Workshop. In addition to the new hotel, the park has upgraded with several expansions since opening in late 2011, including the LEGOLAND Water Park, LEGO® Star WarsTM Miniland Model Display and The World of ChimaTM presented by Cartoon Network - featuring an interactive water ride called The Quest for CHI. A new land, Heartlake City (based on the popular LEGO® Friends line of toys), opened on June 26, 2015.
Safari Wilderness: Named one of the “10 Best Safaris in the U.S.” by Fodors.com
Witness the dramatic landscapes of the Serengeti without setting foot on an airplane. At Safari Wilderness, you will be guided through lush wetlands and open grasslands, and enjoy spectacular close-up encounters with huge herds of exotic hoofstock. This 260-acre preserve is surrounded by Florida’s Green Swamp, an 870 square mile pristine watershed that is source to five of Florida’s finest rivers. Tours are available by safari vehicle or on camelback. Reservations are required and tours operate Wednesday through Sunday at 9 am and 1 pm. Optional extras include lemur (see photo at left) and budgie feedings. Safari Wilderness is a family-run agritourism venture.
Bok Tower Gardens
Bok Tower Gardens - Undergoing Largest Expansion in its 85-Year History
Voted “Florida’s Best Garden,” this National Historic Landmark was dedicated in 1929 as a gift to the American people from Dutch immigrant and world peace advocate Edward Bok. Nearly 700 acres of conservation lands and gardens surround the 205-foot neo-Gothic and art deco “Singing Tower” carillon and the Pinewood Estate, a 20-room, Mediterranean-style 1930s winter retreat. A haven for wildlife, Bok Tower Gardens sits on one of peninsular Florida’s highest points and is home to more than 120 bird species, the threatened gopher tortoise and rare plants found nowhere else in the world. Scheduled to open in 2016, Bok Tower Gardens is in the process of completing a $12 million capital improvement project that will expand the attraction to include a children’s garden, wild garden, pollinator garden, outdoor kitchen, edible garden and a new garden entrance that features an oval lawn.
Westgate River Ranch Resort
Westgate River Ranch Resort: Largest Dude Ranch East of the Mississippi
Rooted in the history of the nation’s first cowboys, Westgate River Ranch lies on 1,700 lush acres in the heart of Florida’s cattle lands, offering cowboy-themed accommodations from tents and Glamping (glamour camping) up to luxurious two-bedroom cabins. Recreational activities include horseback riding, swimming, golf, a petting farm, nature hikes, trap and skeet shooting, airboat and swamp buggy rides, hayrides, cookouts and a full-service marina complete with boating and fishing. Westgate River Ranch Resort also features the River Ranch Saloon and the longest-running Saturday night championship rodeo in the United States, showcasing trick riding, bull riding, calf roping and barrel racing in a 1,200-seat rodeo arena.
Streamsong® Resort - Adding to its World Class Golf Offering
Streamsong® Resort - Adding to its World Class Golf Offering. While Streamsong® Resort continues to receive rave reviews from travel and golf publications for its spectacular destination resort, a new addition was recently announced. Streamsong® Black, being designed by Gil Hanse, is scheduled to open in 2017 and is a highly anticipated addition to the resort’s two widely acclaimed golf courses (both in the GOLF Magazine Top 100) that debuted in December of 2012. Built upon 16,000 acres of reclaimed phosphate mining land, Streamsong® Red (Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw) and Streamsong® Blue (Tom Doak) are atypical of most Florida golf courses, utilizing natural contours, towering sand dunes, expansive waste areas, native grasses and sweeping vistas to offer a golf experience that is reminiscent of the links-style courses of the British Isles. The resort features a distinctive clubhouse, golf shop, meeting space and Restaurant 59.
The magnificent lakeside Lodge at Streamsong features a grotto-style spa, state of the art conference facilities, two restaurants, an infinity pool and a roof-top lounge that offers 360 degree vistas to watch the spectacular Florida sunrises and sunsets. World-class bass fishing, sporting clays, tennis courts and nature trails round out the resort’s amenities. Streamsong Resort’s courses join a list of more than 40 historic and championship golf courses in Polk County that includes Southern Dunes and The Club at Eaglebrooke, offering golfers an enticing array of options.
Outdoor and Nature
Outdoors and Nature: Some of Our Best Attractions Took 4 Million Years to Build!
Central Florida’s Polk County is home to some of the best preserved nature areas in Florida with 37 nature parks and preserves that span more than 25,000 acres of environmental lands, 554 lakes and the unique Lake Wales Ridge ecosystem. Millions of years ago Florida was mostly covered by ocean, except for a small island that ran down the center of the state. That island, now the Lake Wales Ridge, is home to many rare plant and animal species, some found nowhere else in the world. Visitors can explore our beautiful parks, lakes and nature areas by airboat, by bike or by hiking Polk County’s more than 375 miles of trails... the choices are as diverse as our wildlife.
World Class Bass Fishing in the “Largemouth Bass Capital of the World.”
Polk County provides ample opportunity for you to have a “fish tale” that you can tell throughout your lifetime. Recognized as the “Largemouth Bass Capital of the World” for the abundance of large bass caught on area lakes annually, anglers catch “trophy class” bass weighing more than 10 pounds, and in 2015 at least three 13+ pound bass have been caught on local waters. Polk County is home to five of the “Top 10 Largemouth Bass Lakes” in Florida and the state's certified record Florida Largemouth Bass, which weighed in at 17.27 pounds, was caught in Polk County. Abundant sunshine and pleasant temperatures allow for fishing in Polk County year-round on the region’s more than 550 lakes that occupy over 135 square miles.
Arts and Culture
Architecture and Art - at the Heart of Central Florida
Visitors to Polk County can tour the largest one-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world, consisting of thirteen completed structures, including the Usonian House, finished in 2013 - based on a 1939 design. The collection is located on the Florida Southern College campus in Lakeland, and both paid and self-guided walking tours are available. Polk Museum of Art, also in Lakeland, offers a permanent collection of Pre-Columbian artifacts along with various collections and rotating exhibits on display in eight galleries and a sculpture garden.
Vacation Rental Homes
Vacation Rental Homes - Spread Out and Soak Up the Sun
Central Florida's Polk County offers comfortable accommodations in its more than 6,500 luxury vacation homes and condominiums. Just minutes away from Florida’s major attractions and a short drive to the Gulf and Atlantic beaches, these convenient and affordable properties are the perfect "home away from home," with amenities including full kitchens, spacious furnished living areas and washer/dryer units. The properties range from two to seven bedrooms and most include private, screened-in swimming pools. They are also ideal for golf vacations since many of these homes are located in communities right on some of Central Florida’s best golf courses.