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Good wildlife locations in/near Orlando

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Richard Peters, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. Just a quick question for anyone living in or around Orlando...

    On my last trip over to Florida to visit my other half, we stayed at her parents weekend house in Orlando, which was all a bit new to me in terms of locations for shooting wildlife. We did Viera on the way up to the house and I've been to Merrit Island before too but other than that can anyone suggest any good locations near(ish) to Orlando?

    We visited the Orlando Wetlands Park but it seemed pretty void of life for the most part, is there an optimal time of year for the park? during it's summer opening hours of course lol

    Any advice welcome as it would be great to have some tips from locals for my next visit :smile:

    And whilst I'm on the subject, is there a lot of sunshine state members on here? Usually when I'm over I spend my time in Southern FL but it would be good to maybe meet up with local shooters at some of the various wetlands etc, I always see people walking around with all the gear but whenever I ask if they are from the forum they say no (with the exception of one).
  2. I live about a 30 min drive from the Disney area in Lakeland, but I have only lived in Florida a bit less than 2 years and I have only taken up photography as a hobby late last year, so I am unsure of any good wildlife spots in the area (I'd be interested to know though :) )
  3. general


    Apr 30, 2005

    Check out Gatorland south of the airport. My daughter spend 1/2 day there and were busy tripping shutters the whole time. Not only the gators but lots of wading birds - a rookery filled with herons, woodstorks, etc. Sort of pitched to the youngsters but you don't have to participate and there is plenty of room to shoot.
  4. deadmeat


    Jul 18, 2008
    Sarasota, FL
    This might be the wrong kind of wildlife you're looking for, but I found some pretty nice examples at Wet n' Wild and Downtown Disney... :p 

    Have you checed out the Disney wildlife park, I think it's Animal Kingdom?

    A short ways down the road is Busch Gardens. Lots of cool animals to take photos of there.

    If you're looking for non-captivity stuff, take a look around at the local parks and rec. website. Probly tons of information there.

    Airboat ride?

  5. Sangetsu


    Apr 18, 2009
    Get on US 27 (which runs through outer-Orlando) and head south. You'll find plenty of places once you get south of Lake Wales. There are canals, rivers, lakes, etc. The highway will take you by Lake Okeechobee, which offers many photographic opportunities. I used to travel this road often, and was always amazed by the scenery.

    This picture was taken about an hour south of Orlando on US 27, using my old D70 kit.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  6. mobeious1


    Oct 24, 2008
    Okeechobee is a little ways away.. lol i would check out animal kingdom
  7. Go east from Orlando, taking the highway to the Kennedy Space Center. When reaching I95, turn south towards Miami. After about 30 miles, take exit ??? and head east about 2 miles to the Viera Wetlands - you will not regret the trip. Sorry about the unknown exit, but if you PM Bolts or Flygirl or HabbyB they all live/go there a lot and will be more than happy to fill in the blanks.
  8. There's plenty in Central Florida but for me Viera is your best bet.
  9. Thanks for the suggestions guys. I've been to Viera a few times, love the place - it's exit 191 off the I95 btw ;) 

    Not really interested by captive animals but I'll check out gatorland next time I'm over that way. South Florida is my main place to hang out in so I'm not sure when the next orlando visit will be yet.
  10. If you ever come farther South, feel free to PM or email and we can shoot. There's plenty of places south of Viera (Palm Beach County, Broward County and Miami-Dade County).

    I go to Viera every February for the big Nikon Cafe meetup. Hope to see you there.
  11. If you are coming like now, things are pretty slow this time of yeay. Gatorland's rookery season is over. It starts in February and goes through June. Best time of year is November through around May. Rookery season at Gatorland and St Augustine are the same. By the way Gatorland and St Augustine's rookeries are NOT captive. The rest of their areas are, but not the rookery and they are quite terrific during the season!! Hope that helps.

  12. Thanks all :smile:

    My gf lives in West Palm Beach although may be moving to Miami soon, so I'm familiar with Green Cay, Wako, Lox etc. I'd like to do the Everglades again as I've only briefly touched on that - I'll definitely give PM you next time I'm over though!

    I didn't know about the Feb meet iat Viera so I might try and make it over for that :smile:
  13. gladjo

    gladjo Guest

    Merrit Island has a great bird sanctuary.
  14. Bolts


    May 7, 2007
    Tampa, Florida
    If you feel like driving over to the west coast, send me a PM. I'm pretty much always available on Saturday's and Sunday's with a bit of notice and always looking for peeps to shoot with.

    The middle of summer is some tough shooting in Florida...

    However, the usual suspects are almost always out at Desoto in St Pete; skimmers, waders, the reddish egret, shore birds, and the white morph are almost always there. And the beach is beautiful; much more scenic and quiet than the east coast shore for sure.
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