Volusia County Attractions
Stetson University is liberal arts, non-sectarian, comprehensive university with several colleges and schools with a select group of graduate and professional programs. The small student population makes for an excellent student-faculty ratio, which enhances the learning experience.
Stetson, Florida's first private university was founded in 1883 as the DeLand Academy by Henry DeLand, a New York millionaire. In 1889, the name was changed to Stetson University due to the generosity of John B. Stetson, the hat manufacturer.
Stetson draws students from all over the world, which enhances the learning experience of the student body and provides different perspectives from all corners of the globe. Stetson is considered one of the best private universities in the Southeast and provides its graduates with one of the best educations possible.
Mainstreet DeLand is a non-profit organization dedicated to the redevelopment of the downtown area of DeLand. Funding for the organization is provided by government grants, memberships and individual contributions.
The group believes in the preservation of the city's downtown as a vibrant economic area and to show what the heart of a city looked like at one time.
DeLand Museum of Art
The DeLand Museum of Art is an integral part of not only DeLand but also West Volusia County. Its programs serve more than 65,000 people and many of these programs are found outside of the museum itself, thereby enabling more people to enjoy its treasures.
The Museum combines collections, exhibits and educational programs to create an exciting experience for the community. Florida art and artists are featured in the exhibits but with 8-12 exhibitions a year, other perspectives are presented.
Memberships are available and the Museum shop features items from all over and makes great gifts not only for holidays but for any special occasion.
DeLand Municipal Airport
The DeLand Municipal Airport was deeded to the city shortly after World War II. It is the hub of the DeLand Industrial Park and was recently refurbished to correct problems with the taxi ways and tarmac. There are two restaurants on the site and you can watch skydivers practice virtually every day, right from your table. There are also several hotels in the vicinity. The airport is the home of SkyDive DeLand, a free-fall parachuting club. Should you have the desire to learn to fly, lessons are available.
Hontoon Island State Park
Hontoon Island State Park, 6 miles west of DeLand is accessible only by boat, either private or the passenger ferry, which runs every day during daylight hours. Many activities are available including full camping, swimming, picnicking, horseback riding, guided nature tours, scuba diving and boat tours. Several days would be needed to take advantage of all the possible choices presented.
SkyDive DeLand is a free-fall parachuting club based at the DeLand Municipal Airport. Professional lessons are available for those wishing to experience this fascinating sport.
DeLeon Springs State Park
DeLeon Springs promised tourists a virtual fountain of youth due to the supposed sulfur content of the water. No matter what the actual benefits of the water, the springs are still a natural wonder and draw tourists from around the world.
In the mid 1800s, a sugar mill was built using the springs for power. During the Civil War, Union forces captured the mill and destroyed it. The ruins can be viewed. At the Old Spanish Sugar Mill and Griddle House, visitors can make their own pancakes using flour stone-ground on site.
Blue Springs Park
Blue Spring State Park is located west of Orange City. The spring maintains a constant 72 degree temperature year round and provides winter shelter for manatees escaping the cooler waters of the St. Johns River. Visitors can watch them swim and relax.
Cruises on the St. Johns River are also available at the park, a nice change from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You can also picnic, hike, bicycle and just observe nature at the park.
St. Johns River
The St. Johns River is the longest in Florida at 310 miles in length. It starts in marshes around Cape Canaveral and winds its way northward (one of the few rivers in the nation to do this) through many lakes until it reaches the Atlantic at Jacksonville. It drains about one-sixth of the state of Florida and it flows through numerous lakes on the way to the ocean.
The Army Corps of Engineers is working with the state of Florida to reclaim much of the land which had been diked and drained in order to restore the river to as much of its original state as possible. This will help with water retention and flood control.
There are numerous recreational activities available along the St. Johns at all the cities and towns bordering it, along with many state parks. The St. Johns river is a vital resource to Florida and is well on its way to being preserved for the use by future generations.
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