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Mead Botanical Garden, established in 1940, is a park in Winter Park FL. Though the paved bike trail is short (about 4/10 mile), it's well-used by bikers as a link between the Orlando Urban Trail and Winter Park Biking. Mead Botanical Garden's 48 acres include varied ecosystems from sandhill upland to wetland with natural areas including Howell Creek, Lake Lillian and Lake Lillian Marsh, and Alice's Pond. The park offers a variety of activities for nature lovers, including walking/hiking paths, boardwalk, butterfly garden, and more. Other than the paved bike trail and main road, most trails are better suited for walking and hiking. Part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, the park is also popular with birdwatchers. (Map and photos below).
Mead Garden-Winter Park Biking Map
Location: Orange County (Winter Park)
Surface: Paved multi-use path, dirt and grass trails, boardwalk
Trailheads/Parking: Mead Garden (See map)
Nearby Points of Interest: Park Avenue, Morse Museum of Art, Rollins College, Albin Polasek House and Gardens
From the Park entrance at Denning Drive and Garden Drive, the bike trail is just inside to the right. A grassy parking area is to the left, or proceed straight to the main parking area at the Garden Club. Bikers can become hikers by using the entry gate off a Winter Park multi-use path along S. Pennsylvania Ave., leading to a sandy path following Howell Creek. Here, the path is narrow with many roots, not suited for biking, but a pleasant (when dry) short, shady walk, much creek side, until nearing the parking lot.
The path winds through the south end of the garden, past the picnic pavilion and a Sandhill Restoration Area, passing near Alice's Pond. It exits onto Nottingham St. in Orlando, a street route link to Orlando Urban Trail.
The walking/hiking paths wind through and around the park, about 1.5 miles total, including a boardwalk through the marsh - it's hard to remember you're in the middle of town, it's jungle-like! They interconnect but are not marked so sometimes you have to guess which way to go. The trails along the creek and in the marsh area can be wet and muddy with many roots.
The park offers parking, restrooms, and picnic facilities. It includes the Winter Park Garden Club, reception hall, an amphitheater, a performance pavilion, greenhouse, community garden and more. Many educational programs are offered for both children and adults. It's also a popular venue for weddings and other events.
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