Sports and RecreationBest of Orlando 2010:Sports & Recreation
Sports & Rec. City Park - Dog Park - Local Sports Team - Miniature Golf Course - Place to Bowl - Place to Camp - Place to Work Out - Pool Hall - Public Golf Course - River to Canoe/Kayak - Shooting Range - Skateboard Park - Theme Park Ride - Theme Park - Water Park - Yoga Studio
2nd: Central Park
3rd: Blue Jacket Park
2nd: Dr. Phillips Park
3rd: Paw Park
Best Public Golf Course
2nd: Winter Pines Golf Club
3rd: MetroWest Golf Club
Best Yoga Studio
2nd: Orlando Power Yoga
3rd: Shine On Yoga
Best River to Canoe/Kayak
2nd: Econlockhatchee River
3rd: (tie): Rock Springs Run State Reserve
3rd: (tie): Blue Springs State Park
Best Local Sports Team
2nd: Orlando Predators
3rd: Orlando Titans
Best Shooting Range:
2nd: Shoot Straight
3rd: Oak Ridge Gun Range 
Best Miniature Golf Course
2nd: Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf
3rd: Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf
Best Skateboard Park
2nd: Orlando Skate Park
3rd: Rippin’ Riverside Skatepark
Best Place to Bowl
2nd: Firkin & Kegler
3rd: Colonial Lanes
Best Theme Park Ride
3rd: The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man
Best Place to Camp
2nd: Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
3rd: Ocala National Forest
Best Theme Park
2nd: Disney’s Magic Kingdom
3rd: SeaWorld Orlando
Best Place to Work Out
2nd: LA Fitness
3rd: Planet Fitness
Best Water Park
2nd: Disney’s Blizzard Beach
Best Pool Hall
2nd: Trick Shots Billiards
3rd: Clicks Billiards
Lingerie Football League
The city of Orlando didn’t warm to the professional, if sedate, Orlando Miracle WNBA team years ago, so that team left town in 2003 and renamed themselves the Connecticut Sun. Perhaps the spice and spectacle of the much-hyped Orlando Fantasy, a new team that’s part of the Lingerie Football League, will meet with better success. The Fantasy held tryouts in May, and they’ll play their first game on Sept. 24 at the UCF Arena, battling the Tampa Breeze. It’s an all-women’s tackle league — and the players are equipped with helmets, shoulder and knee pads, and yes, bras, panties and garters.
The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
4510 N. Fort Wilderness Trail,
Lake Buena Vista407-939-1289
If you stay at the faux-Northwestern log cabin Fort Wilderness resort, in order to get to the actual Disney theme park you’ve got to hop on a ferry that travels around the back, way past a mysterious wooded island filled with active, athletic outdoorsmen and women doing things other than gorging on room service and buying up souvenirs. Who are these heathens, you ask? They’re campers at the real “fort” of the Wilderness resort, a 750-acre getaway with horses, beach volleyball, water sports, fishing and exercise trails. Starting at just $59, which gets you a full hook-up campsite for one RV, two tents, electricity, water/sewer, a grill and a picnic table, you can enjoy the Magic Kingdom without the sedentary guilt.
Black Hammock Adventures
2356 Black Hammock Fish Camp Road, Oviedo
Keep your hands and feet inside the airboat, for under the black waters of Lake Jesup lurks the largest concentration of gators in the country – it’s estimated that more than 10,000 of them cruise the lake’s depths. You’re bound to catch sight of a few as Black Hammock’s tour guides take you on a death roll through the swamp ($23.95 for a 30-minute ride), weaving and j-turning the airboats through the gator-laden waters. If you’re lucky, you’ll also catch sight of wild boar, turtles and bald eagles along the way.
The Citrus Bowl sod fiasco
January’s pigskin follies didn’t come without a price tag. The city spent $36,000 on Bermuda grass to try to make the old Citrus Bowl presentable for national consumption. The only problem was that it didn’t get around to putting down the sod until just days before the 2010 Champs and Capital One games. TV audiences nationwide got to watch as the cleats of the college-football players ripped up the sod in flying chunks. Immediately after the debacle, the city went into crisis-management mode, promising a thicker $69,000 sod makeover. By April, though, still stinging from that embarrassment, the city went ahead with an agreement that included the installation of $1 million worth of artificial turf.
In 1986, Epcot featured a then-novel attempt at pop-culture relevance by debuting Captain EO, an extravagant 3-D movie that merged George Lucas, Anjelica Huston, Francis Ford Coppola and Michael Jackson in a silly science-fiction sing-off. Now that M.J.’s (alleged) sins have been washed away by untimely death, Disney returned EO to Epcot for a summer “tribute” run. Try not to flinch when the King of Pop protrudes from the screen.
Bocce ball court at Portofino Bay Hotel
5601 Universal Blvd.
Park in the Universal Orlando garage ($3 after 6 p.m.) and take a water taxi from CityWalk to the Portofino Bay Hotel. Time the visit at sunset, and you’ll arrive to a live opera performance in the plaza. Follow signs to the spa, then turn right to the pool. Tucked among the Roman baths are a couple of freely usable bocce ball courts nestled into the pseudo-Italian Riviera scenery. We promise that there’s nothing more romantic than a friendly game of lawn bowling.
Orlando Jai Alai
6405 U.S. Highway 17-92, Fern Park
Did you know that Florida is the only place where jai alai, that puzzling sport of kings (or at least of council elders) in which competitors hurl a “pelota” from a “cesta” at 150 mph while people bet on … um, we’re not sure … is still played? In the whole country! Back in December, Orlando Jai Alai in Fern Park was forced to close its doors after 47 years, thus moving the sport from endangered to nearly extinct. That is, until an unnamed buyer swooped in and saved the place. Huzzah! The gambling joint, which employs more than 100 people, is now back in business and looks to be able to continue throwing its balls around for a long time to come.
Gay Orlando Sports
Not all of Orlando’s gays are down in the Glee basement with Kurt practicing the choreography to “Single Ladies”; some are secretly crushing on footballing fumbler Finn. Fortunately for them, gayorlando.com offers a number of outdoor-activity options that shed gay stereotypes (or keep them). Softball, bowling, biking, tennis, running and, gulp, Gays and Lesbians on Water Skis (GLOWS!) are among the sports available, and they’re not all totally gay. The fact that the various groups are listed on the site is “not an indication of the sexuality of any particular player, manager, coach or owner,” gayorlando.com’s website clarifies. That’s up to you to find out.
14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail
You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced the distinct brand of gator cheesiness served at Gatorland. The family-run, 1949-founded attraction has always provided its signature gator wrestling and chicken-chomping “Gator Jumparoo Show” with a sizable side of kitsch. Last Halloween, however, the creative forces really layered on the redneck cheddar with a white trash versus UFOs haunted trail. For vintage Velveeta on a budget, there’s no better reptile resort or Halloween horror.
So, what about that Orlando sports team that plays at Amway Arena and made it all the way to the semifinals and then got beaten at home before making it to the big game? Wait. Did that happen? Yes, it did, to the Orlando Titans, our fair city’s professional indoor lacrosse team. Team captain Casey Powell was awarded the National Lacrosse League’s MVP honor and was also named to the NLL’s All-Pro team along with the team’s goaltender Matt Vinc. All-star and MVP players and a semifinalist team – all in the team’s first season in Orlando.
The Lake Eola fountain scandal
For nine months, the City Beautiful’s symbol of errant irrigation was dormant, just sitting there in its own green-tinged rust like a melted down Statue of Liberty. Why? An August 2009 lightning storm took the life out of the Lake Eola fountain and what followed was a comedy of aquatic errors that included private philanthropic efforts – a failed Phantom of the Opera benefit, some musings from local band/gurgling pool of awful Biteboy. Although the city’s insurance company is only promising $285,000 toward the projected $1.5 million overhaul of the stately nuisance, the city plans to go ahead with its water-feature redo. For now, though, a couple of motors have been restarted and everything is apparently back to normal. Apparently.