ICON Park is a destination in Orlando, Florida, that's home to dozens of attractions. However, its observation wheel is really the heart of the whole operation. Known as The Wheel at ICON Park, it serves as everything from a meeting place to a reward for children who make it through a whole day of shopping with their parents.
Recently, The Wheel at ICON Park was dressed up in honor of Pulse Remembrance Week. From June 8 through 12, the popular ride was adorned in rainbow colors to support the LGBTQ+ community. The Orlando Park also donated $5 to the onePulse Foundation for every ticket to The Wheel sold on the sixth anniversary of the Pulse shooting on June 12. Learn more about how the proceeds benefit the community and why ICON Park is quickly becoming the place to be for Orlando locals and tourists.
The Pulse nightclub shootings were driven by hate and fear during a month that was supposed to highlight tolerance, love, and acceptance. Dozens of people were injured during the violence and 49 people lost their lives, making it at the time the deadliest shooting by a single gunman in the United States. ICON Park was honored to offer its support to a community that has been marginalized for centuries. Since the tragedy occurred, the amusement attraction has lit The Wheel at ICON Park in rainbow colors every year as a way to acknowledge the event.
In 2022, ICON Park offered everyone who rode the rainbow-colored observationwheel a free hat and commemorative photo with unlimited downloads from Magic Memories. The hat reads "Orlando Strong" - the slogan adopted after the Pulse shootings as a way to boost morale for the city. It's a way not only to keep the memory alive, but to keep hope afloat.
The Collaboration Between ICON Park and onePulse Foundation
The onePulse Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that was incorporated by Barbara Poma, the owner of Pulse nightclub. The money donated by ICON Park will be used to complete a memorial for the victims, as well as design educational programs and fund legacy scholarships. While the funds will be funneled to different projects, the mission is the same. This group is a sanctuary for those who suffered on that day and those who continue to suffer in the wake of the loss.
To increase awareness of the nonprofit and get more support from the community, ICON Park partnered with iHeartMedia to promote the foundation and its fundraising efforts. The two groups working together have brought more attention to how people are trying to address the toxic effects of hatred and what can be done to curb these extreme feelings before they even begin.
About ICON Park
Conveniently located off I-4, Florida's Turnpike, and the Beachline Expressway, ICON Park is in the heart of the Orlando Entertainment District and is a premier destination for residents and tourists alike. Boasting 20 acres of open-air adventures for the whole family, you can ride, imbibe, dine, or just explore in a gate-free environment with all the trimmings. Offering more than 50 restaurants, bars, and shops, the park is centered around The Wheel. It's truly jaw-dropping to stare up and see people at the top, but it's even more fun to come down and around from such great heights.
Central Florida residents and Orlando tourists can also visit Madame Tussauds Orlando, SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium, and the Museum of Illusions Orlando at ICON Park. The free parking and diverse mix of eateries and destinations make it a crowd pleaser for even the pickiest of patrons. The entertainment destination features festoon lighting and a brick promenade, making it an ideal place to stroll, window-shop, or just relax in the shade.
The Carousel on The Promenade
In addition to The Wheel, ICON Park is proud to introduce its second self-owned and operated ride. The Carousel on The Promenade is the first ride of its kind in the Orlando Entertainment District, and 'Just as The Wheel has created wonderful memories for families all over the world, so will our new carousel,' said CEO Chris Jaskiewicz.
Featuring 30 handmade figures such as sea dragons, reindeer, and zebras in addition to the traditional horses, the animals are replicas pulled straight from the antique carousels of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Guests may recognize a replica of the famous Rose Horse, which was carved by Charles Looff for the first carousel in the United States.
The lead horse in the carousel was named after Herschell Spillman, the company that created the first Fairy Horse. Known as the Spillman Fairy Horse, visitors can identify the center horse by the colorful flowers, ribbons, and fairy clinging to the side of the figure. The carousel also features two chariot benches.
Tickets are $5 per ride, and adults ride free if they're accompanying a paid child. Kids two and under ride free with a paid adult ride. (Children under 42 inches tall must be accompanied by an adult; the maximum weight limit for each animal is 170 pounds and 680 pounds per chariot bench.) It's an affordable and beautiful way to relive memories while making new ones.
Pulse Remembrance Week 2022 Honored at ICON Park Orlando
Orlando Marks the Six-Year Anniversary of Pulse Nightclub Shooting With iHeartMedia and the onePulse Foundation
Orlando, Florida, marked the sixth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting this June with ICON Park's annual tradition of lighting The Wheel in rainbow colors for the month of June. The Wheel at ICON Park boasts more than 64,000 color-changing LEDs and has been named the brightest beacon in the Orlando sky. When lit up with rainbow colors for Pride, The Wheel is truly a stunning sight to behold and is a can't-miss attraction for both visitors and residents.
ICON Park partnered with iHeartMedia this year to host a weeklong remembrance event that culminated on the tragedy's six-year anniversary on June 12. The entertainment destination donated $5 to the onePulse Foundation for each ticket sold to ride The Wheel at ICON Park during the event. Visitors who rode The Wheel were offered a free baseball cap emblazoned with the words "Orlando Strong." Visitors could also get a free commemorative photograph along with unlimited free digital downloads from Magic Memories. The event will be held again next June to continue raising awareness for the foundation's initiatives.
About the onePulse Foundation
The onePulse Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created by Barbara Poma, the owner of Pulse nightclub, in response to the senseless attack on Pulse on Sunday, June 12, 2016. On a warm summer night six years ago, 49 people lost their lives and 53 more were injured in a shocking and tragic assault on the LGBTQIA+ community by a terrorist acting alone who pledged loyalty to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The incident is the second-deadliest mass shooting in American history and is a culmination of the long-standing discrimination faced by members of the LGBTQIA+ community. The onePulse Foundation was established following the horrific incident to bolster hope within the community and provide a haven for those who were impacted by the tragic attack, including those who were injured, the first responders who cared for victims, and the families of those who were lost. The goal of the foundation's fund is to open a public museum and memorial that will help provide legacy scholarships and educational programs for young members of the community. The Pulse Memorial is designed to be a place for quiet reflection and open-minded learning, honoring the precious lives that were lost and forever changed the night of the attack.
The foundation has established 49 scholarships, which are awarded yearly to selected candidates. Each scholarship was created to memorialize the life of one of the 49 victims based on their hobbies, passions, and aspirations. Members of onePulse met with each of the families who lost someone in the attack to get to know the person whose life was being honored by the scholarship. It was critically important to founders to make sure the scholarship programs were representative of what the victims would have wanted.
The foundation also hosts a variety of fundraising and awareness events to get people involved in the issues that matter most to the LGBTQIA+ community in Orlando. Organization members give regular talks at community venues like senior centers, libraries, historical societies, public galleries, and town forums to inform local businesses, community leaders, and residents about progress related to the Pulse Memorial.
About ICON Park
Since opening to the public in 2015, ICON Park has been one of Orlando's most beloved attractions, the 20-acre, open-air park is located in the heart of the Orlando Entertainment District and features numerous family-friendly rides, restaurants, games, and other exciting activities to explore. The lush, gate-free venue is home to The Wheel at ICON Park, an observation wheel that serves as the entertainment destination's central attraction. Visitors can see for miles across Florida's vacation and entertainment districts, including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Big Sand Lake, the Kennedy Space Center, and more. With over 50 bars, restaurants, and retail outlets, ICON Park is a vacation destination in its own right.
The park was named a Traveler's Choice destination by Tripadvisor in 2020. Popular rides at ICON Park for all ages include the Pearl Express Train and The Carousel on The Promenade. Shopping outlets include The Wheelhouse Gift Shop, The Wheelhouse Market, ICON Park Gifts, and Caleoni Sunglasses.
Other attractions in or near ICON Park include (but are not limited to):
- SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium
- Madame Tussauds Orlando
- Museum of Illusions Orlando
- 7D Dark Ride Adventure
- Mirror Maze
- Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf
- Build-A-Bear Workshop
- Breathe Oxygen Bar at ICON Park
- Orlando Starflyer
- In The Game ICON Park
- Ripley's Believe It or Not!
- Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows
- Sugar Factory Orlando
- Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips
- Sloppy Joe's Orlando
Visitors can enjoy free admission to the park and free vehicle parking. Plan for a trip at iconparkorlando.com.
ICON Park is conveniently situated on International Drive at the heart of the new Orlando Entertainment District, just minutes from I-4, Florida's Turnpike, and The Beachline Expressway (SR-528).