Introduction to Kissimmee, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida is 17 miles S of Orlando, Florida (center to center) and 68 miles E of Tampa, Florida. It's located in Osceola county in Central Florida along the shore of Lake Tohopekaliga, which is locally referred to as Lake Toho. It has a large Hispanic population which includes a large number of Puerto Ricans. Residents often take day trips to the scenic beaches. Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios and the Epcot Center are nearby. The city is popular with tourists due to offering hotels and motels that are typically less expensive than the hotels near Disney World and the other popular nearby Florida attractions.
The area was established in the mid-19th century and known as Allendale. Kissimmee was incorporated as a city in 1883. Hamilton Disston was largely responsible for the initial growth of the municipality. His large drainage business was located in Kissimmee. Disston had a contract with Florida to drain the southern portion of the state, in return for owning half of the acreage he successfully drained. He became one of the largest single landowners in the nation.
The Kissimmee shipyard produced steamboats to transport people as well as goods for Disston's dredging and land speculation enterprises. The steamships lost a significant amount of business due to the popularity of trains for transporting people and goods. The Kissimmee area became a prominent location for raising cattle. In 1971 Disney World opened and tourism and development became the important factors for the economy and the cattle industry decreased in importance. In 2004 Hurricane Charlie damaged homes and numerous buildings.
- Osceola Center for the Arts.
- Osceola County Historical Society & Museum.
- The Houston Astros participate in Spring Training in Kissimmee at the Osceola County Stadium.
- Silver Spurs Arena is popular for concerts and other events.
- Warbird Museum restores World War II aircraft to flying condition. Tours are available of the work shops, planes and aircraft which are being restored.
- Osceola County Historic Courthouse.
- A world of Orchids.
- Green Meadows Petting Farm.
- Pirate's Island of Kissimmee.
- Jungleland Zoo.
The notable Osceola County Softball Complex is a popular location and includes five quality softball fields. The Austin-Tindall Regional Park is popular for sports activities. The city features a large water park and numerous golf courses including Kissimmee Golf Club, Ginn Reunion Resort Golf Course and Kissimmee Oaks Golf Club. Excellent fishing opportunities are available at Lake Toho.
Visitors have opportunities to take a tour of the region's working cattle ranches. Tours of the Boggy Creek wetlands are available. The close by Lake Buena Vista is popular for outdoor activities. The Kissimmee Chain of Lakes is well known for its largemouth bass fishing. Residents and visitors can easily take day trips to Melbourne Beach and other shoreline destinations.
The city is served by the Orlando International Airport.