A phenomenal historical tour in Lakeland that is not only free but highly recommended is the Lake Mirror Historic Tour . Held on the 4th Tuesday of every month in the evening , you will leave with more history about Lakeland than you ever thought possible. We have taken the tour in the middle of the day coupled with a tour of Hollis Gardens which they will do for school groups and at night with a regular crowd. I like the night one hands down.
Stacy is a plethora of knowledge about Lakeland. He is quite an engaging storyteller who will draw you in to his tale and make you forget all about the walk. He is dressed in period garb holding a lantern which makes him easy to find for the tour. You start at one side of Lake Mirror learning about the early history then slowly move your way around the lake. Stacy has a story for every inch of that lake. From the tunnels under the old Coca Cola factory that is now the Lakeland Fire Department to Blinky the alligator that was the unofficial mascot of Lakeland in the early 1970s.
The tour culminates with a video session in what the locals commonly refer to as the dungeon. There , you see pictures of the people that Stacy has been talking about for the whole tour. You put a face with the history that comes alive in Stacy’s tales. After a brief time watching the slideshow, you walk back out for a few more tales before it’s all over. I’m not sure that everyone does this but our group gave him a few dollars for tips since he did an outstanding job.
If you go at Christmas time, you can see the Christmas tree in the middle of the lake. One of the stories Stacy recounts is that the first one went into the lake put there by the Boy Scouts. When it was lit, a bulb burst causing the tree to go up in flames. Thus , the city took over putting the Christmas trees in all the lakes .
Lake Mirror Historic Tour
4th Tuesday of the month
Look for the lantern at Kryger Park near the enormous swan statue
Call 863-834-2280 for times and details