13 years of Wekiva Island: What we love about this special place

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On September 30, 2008, the Weinaug family purchased the old Wekiwa Marina, and Wekiva Island was born. Bill Weinaug had plans for this special property, and over the last 13 years, we’ve loved working hard to realize that vision of sustainability, education and art to leave a little more beauty in the world than what we found.

In honor of our anniversary, we wanted to share 13 things we love about Wekiva Island. Check out our list below.

1. Hosting amazing events.

From our ever-popular Wine & Paint classes to fun events like the Kona Luau in the fall, live music every weekend and more, there’s always something going on at Wekiva Island. We love providing fun things to do in Orlando, and we love seeing our guests attend. Check out everything we’ve got going on here.

2. Providing unique educational opportunities.

Education is a core pillar at Wekiva Island. While we hope that guests learn something new every time they come on property, we also have a new homeschool program specifically for young explorers. The program aims to teach kids about this unique environment and can be customized to half-day, full-day or multi-day modules. Learn more here.

3. Adding to our solar power.

Wekiva Island has long been powered by the sun because of our mission of sustainability. In fact, we have pledged to go carbon neutral by 2030, and solar power is a big part of our efforts. We were proud to recently add a huge (and beautiful!) solar array to the Island near Without a Paddle Café, and we now have 290 solar panels—210 onsite and 80 offsite.

4. Opening Gallery CERO.

Art is another of our pillars here, and in 2021, we realized a huge goal—to open an Orlando art gallery. Gallery CERO is located above the Tooting Otter Craft Beer & Wine Bar, and it’s an upscale space also available for corporate retreats and events. With a gallery, library, conference room and office, this modern space features works from local Florida artists and artists around the world. We’re incredibly proud of it.

5. Growing the Wekiva Paint Out.

Bill Weinaug and his wife, Mary, have their own art collection, so when they bought Wekiva Island, they knew art would be part of it. They sponsored the Wekiva Riverfest, and eventually, the event evolved into the Wekiva Paint Out we know today—a week-long celebration of plein air art in which artists live and work around the springs and Wekiva River. We love this event every year and encourage you to check it out each spring!

6. Partnering with local organizations.

Like with the Wekiva Paint Out, we’re proud of how our partnerships with local organizations have grown. Mary Weinaug serves as the executive director of Keep Seminole Beautiful, and the group organizes bimonthly river clean ups, including one that begins at the Island. We’ve also forged a strong relationship with the Audubon Society and donate the money from our Audubon Cabana to support their efforts.

7. Serving as the home to Paddleboard Orlando.

In 2019, we were proud to become the home to Paddleboard Orlando. This awesome organization is all about helping people explore the beauty of the Orlando springs, and so are we. We love having them on property and partnering on tours down the beautiful Wekiva.

8. Providing an up-close look at the Wekiva River.

Not into SUP? Orlando kayak and canoe rentals are one of the main things that draw people to Wekiva Island. We’re proud to rent dozens of vessels every day in the service of helping people get out to explore the REAL Florida. The Wekiva River is a Florida gem.

9. Serving local brews.

We’re all about local at Wekiva Island, even in your cup! Whenever you belly up to our outdoor bar in Orlando, you can expect an array of choices from local breweries, as well as your nationwide favorites. Try something new and tell us what you love!

10. Eating incredible food.

Ever since they came on site, Without a Paddle Café has been serving up absolutely amazing eats, from classic burgers to ahi tuna tacos. They also have special events, like Sizzling Saturday, where you can catch some unique dishes for a great price.

11. Hosting special occasions and corporate events.

Wekiva Island has been the site of many a birthday celebration and family reunion, as well as bridal showers, holiday parties and even weddings—and we love it all! From our fun cabanas to our corporate space, including the Mike Barr Education & Learning Center (which holds the highest rating in sustainability), we’re the Orlando event venue to meet your needs!

12. Providing holiday joy at the yearly Winter Wonderland.

Even in the Sunshine State, Wekiva Island brings to mind snowflakes and shimmering trees for many. That’s because every year, we’re proud to host a month of fabulous holiday events through Winter Wonderland. From fun characters to exciting happenings, it’s worth marking your calendar.

13. Our irreplaceable fans.

And the number one thing we love about Wekiva Island? YOU, of course. We wouldn’t be us without the support we’ve received over the last 13 years. We’re so thankful to our fans and visitors. We look forward to serving as a place to learn, appreciate and have fun for many years to come.

Thank you!