Because of its close proximity to Orlando, it took us only about 20 minutes to drive to Kissimmee. The name "Kissimmee" is not derived from 'Kissing me' or 'Kiss I'm Mee' as many people would like to think. Rather, it comes from 'Cacema', an Indian (native American) name meaning 'long water.'

As it was still early morning we decided to visit the Lakefront Park first which is situated along the shores of scenic Lake Tohopekaliga or Lake Toho for short, the second largest natural lake in Florida. Before entering the park we walked over to the 50 feet tall (over 15 meters) Monument of States which celebrates the 50 US states. It is actually an unevenly shaped tower constructed with brightly colored slabs of concrete and stone piled on top of each other to be shown as a symbol of American unity, and eventually became known as a work of art. At the top of the monument is the American bald eagle and flag to represent the United States as a whole.

This park is more or less a local hangout for the city's residents and offers a three-mile paved trail for walkers and joggers. There is boating and fishing on the lake for water enthusiasts. Ancient oak and cyrpress trees are all around the park, as well as basketball courts, a kids playground, fishing pier, horseshoe pits, a volleyball court and picnic area with barbeque grills. We saw a boat launch ramp, and docks for recreational fishing. We also strolled over to Lighthouse Point, but was somewhat disappointed with the small lighthouse. I think the highlight of our visit to this park was seeing a water turkey (called anhinga) spreading its wings besides the water. This type of bird is known only to live in the swamps and marshes of the southern states.

I was surprised but pleased to see a World War II Memorial inside the park too. It is the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial and sculpture placed there by the local Filipino-American community as a tribute to the Americans and Filipinos who lost their lives during WWII, particularly in the infamous Bataan Death March. On the grounds in front of the statue are hundreds of bricks with the names of the soldiers and civilians who died in the Philippines.

Anyway, this park is very much family-oriented, so a good place for parents to take their children to enjoy its many features and/or facilities. I believe there are a lot of popular events, festivals and concerts also held there throughout the year.

Next, we drove over to downtown Kissimmee to have lunch at a cozy little restaurant called Nadia's Cafe which specializes in Mediterranean cuisine. (A separate review about this restaurant to be posted later). The city itself is a small one so we took some time at all the places we went to. We saw both the new and old County Courthouse, City Hall, etc. They were all quite interesting and I enjoyed the tour of this tourist driven town. On the way home we were going to make a stopover at Gator Land, known as the alligator capital of the world, but it rained cats and dogs so we took a rain check, vowing to go there in the near future.