The city of Orlando park named after an American hero and tucked between a lake, airport and toll road.
In 1992, the city of Orlando and the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) dedicated a park on the shore of Lake Underhill to Colonel Joseph Kittinger, a retired US Air Force pilot, balloon pilot and prisoner of war.
Located at the corner of South Street and Crystal Lake Drive, the park is tucked into a corner of the Orlando Executive Airport property. It sits on the shore of Lake Underhill. The majority of the park is taken up by a shallow reservoir that is usually dry.
Because of the reservoir, visitors park at the entrance and walk about 300 feet on either side of the reservoir to get to the playground and lake shore. The playground is fenced in and there’s a pavilion inside the playground area. One fun thing to note – the pavilion has a speaker that broadcasts the radio calls of the airport.
In 2014, a restored McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fighter jet was placed on display in the park. During part of the Vietnam War, Kittinger flew F-4s and through research, it was discovered that this was one of the jets he piloted.
Kittinger Park is an interesting city park with an important aspect of history. It’s also a great place to watch small planes take-off or land, including occasional small commuter jets. There’s usually waterbirds, including heron, egret, and anhinga.