Today's News

Wednesday, March 15, 2000

Welcome to Orlando and Florida!

By J. Dean Cole, MD

As local chairman of the 67th Annual Meeting, I would like to welcome you to Orlando and the state of Florida.

Ask people about Orlando and they think of Mickey Mouse, a prehistoric tour of "Jurassic Park," Shamu the whale or the space shuttle. However, more than a century before Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld and the Kennedy Space Center ever existed, people began coming to Central Florida.

When the second Seminole War ended in 1842, the first settler, Aaron Jernigan, traveled from Georgia and made his home in "Jernigan." The town developed around Fort Gatlin, an army post that was abandoned in 1849. The name Orlando replaced Jernigan in 1857, after Orlando Reeves, a soldier who was on sentinel duty, was killed near what is now Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando.

With its temperate climate, greater Orlando (which includes Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties) now boasts a population of more than 1.4 million people. To accommodate the intense tour-ism industry, the counties have more than 88,000 guest rooms for visitors and 3,700 restaurants that provide either continental or ethnic cuisine.

I hope that during your stay in Orlando you will be able to take advantage of some of the 35 tours and courses in the AAOS Extended Program, and other entertainment opportunities our city features. Church Street Station, in historic Orlando, is a dining, shopping and entertainment complex that is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and has something for all ages. If you have children, you might want to visit Wet 'N Wild, one of the nation's best attended water-parks, where a four-passenger toboggan ride will take you through 450 feet of curves on the "Fuji Flyer." Florida is famous for its alligators, and thousands of alligators, birds and animals live at Gatorland.

For people who like the water, the Orlando area offers more than 300 lakes, springs and rivers for swimming boating, water skiing and fishing. Approximately 125 golf courses, some of which were designed by pro golfers Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, are available for beginners and more advanced players. Eight hundred tennis courts are in the area for tennis enthusiasts and many tennis centers and hotels rent equipment to visitors.

Visit local museums that focus on art, science and history, or, if you are more ad-venturous, try a hot air balloon or helicopter ride over the city. Cruises are available on the St. Johns River; shoppers can enjoy seven regional malls. One of the more unusual shopping areas is the Mercado, a Mediterranean shopping village on Interna-tional Drive which features 60 shops, a half dozen restaurants and an international food court.

The Orlando Opera Company, Southern Ballet, Shakespeare Festival and Civic Theatre of Central Florida are only a few of the performing arts companies in the area. Sports enthusiasts know Florida for the Orlando Magic and the Daytona International Speedway.

The average high temperature in March is 78 F, so people who love sun and fun cannot help but be attracted to Orlando. Those who like the coastal beaches often base themselves in Orlando, since the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are each only an hour away.

While attending the Annual Meeting, remember to take a few minutes and step outside of the confines of the convention hall to "get some sun" and explore some of the things Orlando has to offer.

Remember to step outside of the convention hall and "get some sun" and explore some of the things Orlando has to offer.

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Last modified 15/March/2000 by IS