Lakeland, Florida is the largest city in the Polk County Region, and was settled in the 1870s about a decade after the Polk County Region had been established. In the 1880s, a rail line was developed which saw Lakeland expand by an additional 80 acres, which is now known as the downtown portion of the city. Visitors can enjoy the historic promenade, amphitheater, museums, and the Hollis Garden which showcases over 10,000 indigenous Florida flowers and plants.
1. Circle B Bar Reserve
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The Circle B Bar Reserve is a large portion of land southeast of Lakeland which has been restored to protect the floodplain portion of Lake Hancock. The Polk County Environmental Lands Program has used the property to restore the Banana Creek marsh system, and has completed numerous restoration projects on the land in order to reinstate the hydrologic function of the land.
Due to this environmental restoration, the land makes a great destination for those who enjoy hiking on unpaved trails, biking along roadways and trails, as well as fishing along Lake Hancock. There are picnic facilities that can be used, a Nature Discovery Center and an impressive bird population of bald eagles, ospreys, waterfowl, and wading birds.
4399 Winter Lake Road (SR 540), Lakeland, FL 33803, 863-534-7377
2. Things to Do in Lakeland, Florida: Hollis Garden
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The Hollis Garden is a 1.2-acre botanical garden located in Lakeland that is accessible to all who wish to take in its beauty as admission is free. The garden has a neo-classical theme with several fountains surrounded by lush ferns and tropical flowers. The garden is home to a Koi pong, a limestone grotto as well as a promenade that allows you to walk all the way around the lake.
The garden has over 10,000 different species of plants and flowers and gorgeous views of the Lake Mirror. The garden is named after the Hollis family that donated the 1.2-acre land, and is tended to by the city.
702 E Orange St Lakeland, FL 33801, 863-834-6035
3. Sharp Family Tourism and Education Center
© Sharp Family Tourism and Education Center
The Florida Southern College is a national historic treasure in terms of architecture. It is one of the ten buildings that Frank Lloyd Wright designed when envisioning a “college of tomorrow,” during the Great Depression. Frank Lloyd Wright believed that traditional college architecture had been a failure and he wanted to use his knowledge of organic architecture to connect the individual structures of a campus together through their environment.
By the time he started his work at the Florida Southern College, Frank Lloyd Wright was world renowned and was considered by many to be the greatest living American architect. The Florida Southern College offers tours, but visitors may also walk through the