Apopka is also known as the “indoor foliage capital of the world” because of its multi-million dollar foliage industry. In the city's 24.9 square miles much of the land outside of the commercial and residential area is still used for agriculture. Located in both Orange and Seminole counties (but predominately in Orange County), Apopka borders Altamonte Springs and is also located 12 miles northwest of the popular tourist destination, Orlando. The estimated population is 37,000, and Apopka is noted for being home to the 2001 baseball U.S. Little League champions.
The city government is run by the Democratic Mayor Joe Kilsheimer, who bumped out the city's last mayor, John H. Land after a 55-year tenure. Mayor Land was honored in 2011 as the longest-serving mayor in the United States.
The area was first inhabited by Seminole Indians who lived along the Apopka river banks. The word Apopka came from the Timucuan Indian language and means big potato. The area was first settled by nonnatives in 1842. In the 1850's the settlement began to grow because of the agricultural opportunities available in the area. The area continued to grow rapidly in the 1860's and 1870's and was incorporated as a town in 1882. Apopka is currently one of the fastest growing areas in central Florida due to new construction on Florida State Road 429 (Daniel Webster Western Beltway), a major highway in the area.
Visitor Information and Notable Places
While Apopka is a sleepier town than the bigger central Florida destinations, there are still plenty of things to do in town for visitors. There are quite a few lodging options for guests, though many are popular chain hotels such as the Hampton Inn & Suites and the Holiday Inn Express, as well as local motels. There is a greater variety just outside of the city in Altamonte Springs.
Several attractions are in the area, such as the Museum of the Apopkans, housed in the historic Carrol Building that was built in 1932, teaches visitors all about the history of the city, and Wekiwa Springs State Park and Kelly Park/Rock Springs State Park where you can hike, swim, or just relax in the beautiful outdoors.
For a walk on the wild side, make sure you stop at the truly unique CATalyst, where guests are given the opportunity to come face to face (but safely through fences) with several different big cat species, including lions and tigers, and learn how to let go of stress instantly.
There is a great diversity of the types of restaurant cuisine available. From steakhouses such as the Back Room Steakhouse to Italian cafes like Caffe Positano and the Cuban cuisine influence at Herbers Cuban Cafe, no matter what your taste buds are craving, there is something here in town for you. Seafood restaurants are also popular, and you can also find traditional Irish pubs, Chinese food, sushi restaurants, barbecue joints, and much more!