Disney Wilderness Preserve
If you are planning a visit to Disney World, you have probably mapped out each of the rides and attractions you want to visit when you are in Orlando. But while you are planning, remember that Orlando is also home to some truly beautiful natural areas that serve as home to some fascinating wildlife.
Disney Wilderness Preserve is 11,500 acres of land that is managed by the Nature Conservancy. The Disney Corporation was inspired to preserve the land because of Walt Disney’s love of nature.
There are over 1,000 species of plants and animals living at the preserve. Most of the land was once an area for grazing cattle. In the early 1990s, the area was about to be used to build homes and offices. Fortunately, Disney stepped in and bought the land and with the help of the Nature Conservancy, they began restoration on the wetlands that had deteriorated due to years of misuse.
Things to See
There are many interesting animals to see at the preserve, such as the red-cockaded woodpecker. If you bring your binoculars you may get a gander at a bald eagle. You have a very good chance of seeing the dignified looking sandhill crane. If you are especially lucky, you may see a panther in the area. When you look down at the ground, you may see a gopher tortoise or two. These creatures live a long time and dig burrows that provide homes to 360 species of animals. Flowers that you will see include lily orchids and the very colorful ixia. Plants include longleaf pines and oak hammocks.
There is a 2.5-mile loop trail around the area that will take you past the breathtaking Lake Russell.
The preserve is open from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm every day from November to March. From April to October, they are not open on the weekend.
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