The Orlando Wetlands Park is a great to place to come out, relax and enjoy nature. The most popular activities are bird-watching, nature photography, jogging and bicycling. Nature enthusiasts will be greeted by 1,650 acres of hardwood hammocks, marshes and lakes. There are over 20 miles of roads and woodland trails crisscrossing the Park.
- The Park is OPEN February 1 through November 14 each year!
- The Park is CLOSED on November 15 and remains closed through January 31 of each year.
- The Park is not open to vehicular traffic
Information about Wetland Operations
In the mid 1980’s the City of Orlando’s Iron Bridge Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant needed more effluent capacity than what was allowed in the Little Econlockhatchee River. In 1986 the City of Orlando purchased 1,650 acres for $5,128,000. In July of 1987 the 1,220 acres wetland treatment system was completed and reclaimed water from Iron Bridge Plant began to flow. The system was designed to polish up to 35 million gallons a day of reclaimed wastewater. The water is conveyed through a four-foot diameter pipeline approximately 17 miles.
Seventeen cells and three different communities were designed to remove excess nutrients from the water. More than 2 million aquatic plants and 200,000 trees were planted to create deep marsh, mixed marsh and hardwood swamp habitats.
The water flows into the influent structure and is then divided into three flow pathways. The water first flows into the deep marsh. The deep marsh cells are primarily monocultures of cattails or giant bulrush. From there, the water flows into the mixed marsh.
In the late 1800’s this land was used as open range for cattle grazing by the settlers moving into the Christmas area following the Seminole Wars. In the early 1900’s many of the red cedar trees were logged with this durable wood being used for furniture, construction and fence posts. Pine trees were tapped for turpentine and later were logged for lumber. In the 1940’s the land was used as a dairy farm. Click for more of the Orlando Wetlands Park History.