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071918 SWB DIGITAL EDITION

8 x July 19 — August

8 x July 19 — August 1, 2018 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com Most people come to Florida for its man-made attractions — SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World Resort — however, in picturesque Winter Park, it is all about natural attractions and sights; one attraction being that of the treasured Scenic Boat Tour that has been generating oohs and aahs from visitors and residents for decades. Started in 1938 by the Meloon family, the boat tour takes people of all ages through the scenic canals nestled within the city to view historic homes, iconic structures and the beautiful, private campus of Rollins College. The tour shows people a different side of Central Florida that takes them back to a time when the state was mostly known for its chains of lakes and natural surroundings. “Winter Park architecture is interesting and not what people think when they think of Florida: beaches, theme parks, etc.,” said Ron Hightower, owner/manager of Scenic Boat Tour for almost 25 years. “We do hear NOTEWORTHY a lot [from visitors] that it is a nice break from the theme parks.” The tour originally began when two brothers — one being Walter C. Meloon, who established NEWS A Timeless Trip on the Water Scenic Boat Tour Celebrates 80 Years! by Blair Parke The Scenic Boat Tour takes guests through canals nestled in Winter Park. the boat-manufacturing company Correct Craft — decided to invest in a boat tour that would feature the charming flora and fauna of Winter Park. Today, 80 years after its 1938 launch, the Scenic Boat Tour still recognizes the originality of the historic homes and locations that are in and around Lake Osceola, as well as Florida’s native occupants of alligators, fish and birds, through its hourlong, 18-person pontoon tours. “We have always tried to keep the tour as close to the original format as possible,” said Ron, whose grandfather was one of the knowledgeable tour guides before purchasing the touring business in 1995. “My grandfather started working with the boat tour in 1970, so I grew up here and came down to the tour as a kid. It has stayed with me over the years.” Even if the tour has remained the same for years, you never know what you might see — animal, human or sight — while taking the excursion. It is not uncommon to see the Rollins crew team practicing boat drills on the lake, and, in 2013, the Capen House was floated across the water to its new location. Although the scenery may change in Winter Park, the Scenic Boat Tour

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