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Best of Orlando 2010:Sports & Recreation 


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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

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Sports & Rec

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Best City Park
; ; 1st: Lake Eola Park

2nd: Central Park

3rd: Blue Jacket Park

Best Dog Park
; ; 1st: Fleet Peoples Park

2nd: Dr. Phillips Park

3rd: Paw Park

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Best Public Golf Course
; ; 1st: Dubsdread Golf Course
; 549 W. Par St.
; 407-246-2551
; www.historicaldubsdread.com

2nd:  Winter Pines Golf Club
; 950 S. Ranger Blvd., Winter Park
; 407-671-3172
; www.winterpinesgc.com

3rd: MetroWest Golf Club
; 2100 S. Hiawassee Road
; 407-299-1099
; www.metrowestgolf.com

Best Yoga Studio
; ; 1st: College Park Yoga
; 706 W. Smith St.
; 407-999-7871
; www.collegeparkyoga.com

2nd: Orlando Power Yoga
; 2415 E. South St.
; 407-719-0101
; www.orlandopoweryoga.com

3rd: Shine On Yoga
; 619 N. Thornton Ave.
; 407-601-4394
; www.shineonyoga.com

Best River to Canoe/Kayak
; ; 1st: Wekiwa Springs State Park
; 1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka
; 407-884-2008
; www.floridastateparks.org/wekiwasprings

2nd: Econlockhatchee River

3rd: (tie): Rock Springs Run State Reserve
; State Road 46, Sorrento
; 407-884-2008
; www.floridastateparks.org/rockspringsrun;

3rd:  (tie): Blue Springs State Park
; 2100 W. French Ave., Orange City
; 386-775-3663
; www.floridastateparks.org/bluespring

Best Local Sports Team
; ; 1st: Orlando Magic
; www.orlandomagic.com

2nd: Orlando Predators
; www.orlandopredators.com

3rd: Orlando Titans
; www.orlandotitans.com

Best Shooting Range:
; 1st: East Orange Shooting Sports
; 7210 Gardner St., Winter Park
; 407-679-1995
; www.eastorangess.com

2nd: Shoot Straight
; 4700 S. US Highway 17-92, Casselberry
; 407-834-2242
; 1349 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Apopka
; 407-889-0842
; www.shootstraightonline.com

3rd: Oak Ridge Gun Range [12]
; 6160 S. Orange Ave.
; 407-857-5663
; www.oakridgegunrange.com

Best Miniature Golf Course
; ; 1st: Congo River Golf
; Multiple Locations
; www.congoriver.com

2nd: Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf
; 8501 International Drive
; 407-352-7378
; 12545 State Road 535
; 407-827-1242
; www.piratescove.net

3rd: Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf
; 1205 N. Epcot Resort Blvd., Lake Buena Vista
; 407-560-4870
; www.disneyworld.disney.go.com

Best Skateboard Park
; ; 1st: Vans Skatepark
; 5220 International Drive
; 407-351-3881
; www.vans.com

2nd: Orlando Skate Park
; 400 Festival Way
; 407-898-9600
; www.actionparkalliance.com

3rd: Rippin' Riverside Skatepark
; 1608 Lockwood Blvd., Oviedo
; 407-971-5575

Best Place to Bowl
; ; 1st: Boardwalk Bowl
; 10749 E. Colonial Drive
; 407-384-0003
; www.alomabowlingcenters.com

2nd:  Firkin & Kegler
; 12850 Waterford Lakes Parkway
; 407-373-7444
; www.firkinkeglercenter.com

3rd: Colonial Lanes
; 400 N. Primrose Drive
; 407-894-0361
; www.coloniallanes.net

Best Theme Park Ride
; ; 1st: The Incredible Hulk Coaster
; Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando
; www.universalorlando.com

2nd: Manta
; SeaWorld Orlando
; www.seaworld.com

3rd: The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man
; Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando
; www.universalorlando.com

Best Place to Camp
; ; 1st: Wekiwa Springs State Park
; 1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka
; 407-884-2008
; www.floridastateparks.org/wekiwasprings

2nd: Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort
; 4510 N. Fort Wilderness Trail, Lake Buena Vista
; 407-824-2900
; www.disneyworld.disney.go.com

3rd: Ocala National Forest
; 877-444-6777
; www.fs.fed.us/r8/florida/ocala

Best Theme Park
; ; 1st: Universal's Islands of Adventure
; www.universalorlando.com

2nd: Disney's Magic Kingdom
; www.disneyworld.disney.go.com

3rd: SeaWorld Orlando
; www.seaworld.com

Best Place to Work Out
; ; 1st: YMCA
; Multiple Locations
; www.centralfloridaymca.org

2nd: LA Fitness
; Multiple Locations
; www.lafitness.com

3rd: Planet Fitness
; Multiple Locations
; www.planetfitness.com

Best Water Park
; ; 1st: Wet ‘n Wild
; www.wetnwild.com

2nd: Disney's Blizzard Beach
; www.disneyworld.disney.go.com

3rd: Aquatica
; www.aquaticabyseaworld.com

Best Pool Hall
; ; 1st: Sportstown Billiards
; 2414 E. Robinson St.
; 407-894-6258
; www.sportstownbilliards.com

2nd: Trick Shots Billiards
; Multiple Locations
; www.trickshotsbilliards.com

3rd: Clicks Billiards
; 2524 S. Semoran Blvd.
; 407-275-6064
; 1455 N. Semoran Blvd., Casselberry
; 407-678-9366
; www.clicks.com

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Writer's Picks

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Best garters and gridiron

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Orlando Fantasy,
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;Lingerie Football League;
;www.iflux.com

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. 

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Best theme-park hideaway

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The Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort;
;4510 N. Fort Wilderness Trail, 
;Lake Buena Vista
407-939-1289
;www.disneyworld.disney.go.com

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. 

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Best way to die with the wind in your hair

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Black Hammock Adventures
; 2356 Black Hammock Fish Camp Road, Oviedo
;407-365-1244
;www.blackhammockairboatrides.com

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. 

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Best way to get a new football field

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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. 

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Best family-friendly tribute to an alleged child molester

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Captain EO's return to Epcot at Walt Disney World
;407-824-4321
;www.disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/
epcot

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.

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Best date spot to play with your balls

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Bocce ball court at Portofino Bay Hotel
;5601 Universal Blvd.
;407-503-1000
;www.loewshotels.com

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.

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Best resurrected fronton

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Orlando Jai Alai ;6405 U.S. Highway 17-92, Fern Park;407-339-6221
;www.orlandojaialai.com

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. 

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Best way to be both gay and a jock

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Gay Orlando Sports
;www.gayorlando.com/gosports

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. 

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Best gator cheese

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Gatorland
;14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail
;800-393-5297
;www.gatorland.com

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.

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Best almost-champions

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Orlando Titans
;www.orlandotitans.com

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.

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Best civic water sport

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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.

; feedback@orlandoweekly.com
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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