The Maitland Art Center is a fantastic, and somewhat under-the-radar photo spot in Orlando. This place is a photographer’s (and blogger’s) dream. With various nooks and corners to explore, along with architecture that appears to be inspired by other parts of the world, the Maitland Art Center is the perfect place to spend a slow Saturday morning.
WHAT IS IT?
The Maitland Art Center is part of the Art and History Museums – Maitland; and this place is far more than an art school. While there are various artists that take classes or spend time in one of the studios, guests can visit the lush gardens and the beautiful (and kind of famous) Mayan Courtyard. Guests can purchase tickets to visit the museums, including the Maitland Historical Museum and Telephone Museum. On the day that I went, I did not purchase tickets. I guess that means I have to go back! For those that are interested in the museums though, general admission tickets cost $6.
There are opportunities to also visit the Waterhouse Residence Museum and Carpentry Shop Museum; however, these are located at the Lake Lily Campus. It’s not far from the main campus – just a short drive. Unfortunately, I didn’t wander this way; I visited just the main campus but, if I make my way back for a museum day, I might as well see if I can squeeze in all four!
Now, the grounds of the Maitland Art Center, which was the purpose for my trip, is open on Thursday through Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm. The grounds are free; however, there is a chance that portions could be closed for events. I just happened to be lucky the day that I went.
One super important thing to note about the grounds, especially if, like me, you want to get some epic snaps while you’re there: you must schedule a photography session with the Rental Manager.
I feel a bit lucky because, when I called, I just spoke with someone and asked if I could just bring a camera with me. She graciously told me that I could do this. I could not, however, bring a tripod or other professional equipment. I guess I should mention that I went with a friend, Christine of LiveLoveRunTravel, a fellow Orlando Blogger.
When we arrived, the place was marvelously empty. We wandered around, deciding where to start first, and started to snap away. A worker stopped us, asking us if we had completed the request paperwork. We (obvi) had not. The employee whisked away, to get us the so-called application. We thought our photoshoot plans were ruined. However, upon her return, I let her know that I spoke with someone and received verbal permission.
Despite her instincts, the woman went in to speak with her coworker. When she came back out – thankfully! – she gave us the green light. Whew! Because – guess what! – that application came with an application fee. I can’t remember the exact cost, but we both decided it wasn’t worth it.
Long story short. Call before you go. See what you need to do in order to take photos.
There are various photo spots on the grounds. Some worked for us the morning we were there (however, due to the hours being from 11 to 4 we missed the best lighting) but shadows did affect some other photo spots.
The famous Mayan Courtyard? Yeah, that was the main reason we drove to the Maitland Art Center. It’s a beautiful, modest courtyard that is an adjacent room to a beautiful venue. This venue is often used for intimate weddings – and it’s perfect for an occasion such as that! Once through the gates, it feels like part of another world.
The entrance, right on the other side of the gate, is a long hallway that leads to the area that I think would be the reception area and/or dance floor. This little hall was perfect for my go to “pose”: walking back and forth, hoping that something works out.
We got a few great shots that afternoon! Hey, isn’t one of those the snap on that annoying please subscribe pop up?!
There’s also a sort-of antechamber, that leads into the actual courtyard. This spot had a few photographic areas too! I mean, we were there (with permission!) and we weren’t going to miss out on any photos.
The rest of the grounds were gorgeous as well. The detail that went into each aspect of the Maitland Art Center is second to none. It was about as magical as one of our theme parks. The main area that Christine and I wandered through was across the street from the Mayan Courtyard.
These gardens were filled with various nooks and perfect photo spots. We tried out tons of locations and all but one worked for me. The water feature there is absolutely gorgeous but, because of the angle of the sun, I was unable to choose any of the photos at that location. However, I did snag a regular shot of it (which I posted in Instagram stories).
Overall, this is a fantastic place to visit. The grounds are beautiful and inspiring. It’s the perfect place for (like I said earlier) a slow morning. Even walking down toward the lake would be nice.
It’s one of those real pieces of Orlando that make this place so special. I can’t wait to share more of my home with you. I want you to fall in love with the real Orlando; after all, we’re more than just theme parks!