Last Updated: January 25, 2022

Best Museums In Florida 

When visiting Florida you’re always going to have a few days that are either quite rainy or simply too hot to spend anywhere but in some cool air conditioning. Instead of sitting at home in avoiding the heat of thunderstorms, why not try visiting some of the best museums in Florida?

The museums in Florida are very diverse and cover everything from art to history, culture, science, and nature plus there are some cool museums that will keep kids entertained too. Join me as we take a look at the best museums in Florida so you can make a rainy day a bit more interesting.

IMAG History & Science Center – Fort Myers

IMAG History & Science Center – Fort Myers

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

One of the best museums in Florida to visit if you love natural science, want to learn some Flordia history, and keep children inspired is the IMAG History & Science Center in Fort Myers.

Know as one of the best science museums in Florida, the IMAG museum has you getting up close and personal with Florida’s history, ecosystems, weather patterns, and lots more.

The earth science exhibits include an enormous globe that doubles up as a screen and shows all the weather patterns moving around the Earth. Another of the exhibits explains topography using an AR sandbox and teaches you about Florida’s watersheds ad how they work.

You’ll also find a few interactive exhibits that children love such as the Sea-to-See Touch Tank where kids can touch species from Florida’s ocean such as yellow-spotted stingrays you can snorkel with off the beach.

This museum really is fun for the whole family, incredibly informative, and should be at the top of your list to visit, especially with children.

Modernism Museum – Mount Dora

The Modernism Museum in Mount Dora is one of the weirded Florida museums to visit as it showcases modern design through furniture. But don’t let that put you off as it’s a lot of fun and very engaging so I highly recommend it.

The museum is full of modern pieces of furniture and on arrival, you should watch the museum’s info video where you’ll learn about the 1980s Memphis art movement which helped shape the modern designs you’ll find in the exhibits.

You will also be guided around the museum by a guide who will explain each piece in detail. It’s a very informative tour and by the end, you’ll understand why there is a museum dedicated to modern furniture.

The works in the museum’s collection are quite eccentric and eclectic and some are from David Bowie’s private estate. While they are works of art, every piece in the comprehensive collection is functional for purpose.

St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum – St. Augustine

As far as history museums go the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum in Florida is one of the more unique museums. Sitting in the estuary of the Mantanzas river in South Florida since 1589 or before, the lighthouse holds Florida history in it.

Inside this Florida museum, you’ll find old artifacts across served buildings that are packed full of loads of great marine artifacts and amazing model ships. One of the best exhibits is a room covered with the personal belongings of old lighthouse keepers and their families, making it feel lived in and like the lighthouse is still functioning.

The view from the lighthouse is also incredible as you can look over the estuary, the many islands, and back over St Augustine too.

You’ll be guided around this museum and the guides are very knowledgeable, passionate, and will answer any questions you might have. The lighthouse is also thought to be haunted so keep your ears out for the ghosts.

Kennedy Space Center – Merritt Island

A fantastic museum in Florida everyone should visit is the Kennedy Space Center just outside of Titusville on Merrit Island in Central Florida. It’s a really interesting and engaging museum that teaches you all about space and exploring it, and it’s a great one for children too as they can explore their inner astronaut.

The rocket garden when you first enter is pretty awesome and you’ll see old space ships from past missions including Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. From here you can join a bus tour around NASA’s operations in Florida including seeing the launchpads and hangers to the enormous machines that help send them to space.

You’ll also find loads of fun activities that give you a sense of being an astronaut including things like training simulations, games about colonizing planets, space travel, flight simulators, moon missions, and more interactive games.

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science – Miami

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Image courtesy of Phillip Pessar

An amazing museum everyone should visit is the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Miami, South Florida. In this science museum, visitors can explore everything from the sky to the sea and you’ll find it just next to Biscayne Bay.

Something all visitors love about this museum is the state-of-the-art planetarium which features an amazing clear 16-million-color 8K projected display with a surround sound system that completely immerses you into the experience.

There is also a three-level aquarium at this museum which shows the levels as a kind of example of the layers in the sea. It also teaches you all about the Gulf Stream off Florida and how it affects the rest of the world in so many ways.

There are lots more exhibits that focus on different things such as natural science and flight as well as cool interactive parts that are all about biology and physics.

Salvador Dali Museum – St. Petersburg

The Salvador Dalí Museum or the Dali Museum as it’s often referred is a Florida museum everyone should visit if they are in the Tampa area.

This art museum holds pretty much the world’s largest collection of works by the famous artist Salvador Dalí, with over 2000 pieces overall in the permanent collection. You’ll find paintings drawings, book illustrations, and even sculptures and clothing created by the artists.

This art museum also plays host to a lot of temporary exhibitions included pieces by noteworthy artists as well as mainstream art and art created by local students. You can even do an augmented reality tour that gives visitors detailed explanations and a chance to see exhibits in a new way.

Another great thing about a visit to this museum is the building itself. Designed by Yann Weymouth, a famous architect, designed the architecture to be a little bit like the art of Salvador Dalí and he used mirrored windows to make it look like the museum is dotted with silver bubbles.

Great Explorations Children’s Museum – St. Petersburg

One of the Florida museums you have to go visit if you’re traveling with kids but also want to enjoy the museum is the Great Explorations Children’s Museum. This museum is made to keep kids entertained and learning all day long while having a lot of fun.

You’ll find spaces with themes such as architecture, agriculture, and nutrition that are made for immersive play. They can also learn to be a fireman for a day, or how to be a vet, and they can even host a weather forecast, live! You’ll also find a miniature supermarket where kids can go shopping with their own mini trolly.

The museum is also covered in fun spaces such as playgrounds, a rope course, and the historic gardens of Sunken Gardens, a famous botanical garden.

The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art – St. Petersburg

The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art is a little different from normal art museums as it’s all about showcasing art from the West which includes both the culture and the environments. It’s pretty much a museum that pulls art and science together.

As you explore the museum you’ll find photos, sculptures, and jewelry that bring the old west to life and will bring up memories of watching old western movies and images of the Animal planet.

You’ll also find collections about global wildlife and collections that represent arts you don’t often see. There is a collection of Native American art from the past and present as well as artifacts from the west too.

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art – Winter Park

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art is one of the top art museums in Florida and if you’re a fan of the arts, a visit to this Orlando museum is a must.

You’ll find the museum in Winter Park in downtown Orlando and it’s a museum of art packed with thousand of pieces over a whopping 19,000 square feet, so there are lots of arts to explore.

The most prized collection in this museum is the Louis Comfort Tiffany collection where you’ll find hundreds of pieces from this famous glassmaker.

You’ll find yourself in a hallway lined with lamps that merge and cast colors across the room, there is also an area with art only inspired by daffodils, and you can even see the 1893 Tiffany Chapel made from the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Tallahassee Automobile Museum – Tallahassee

If you’re looking for a museum in Florida that is a little different and not full of paintings, then a stroll around the building of the Tallahassee Automobile Museum might be the perfect place to visit.

At this museum, visitors can go on a tour around amazing old artifacts from the golden age. You’ll find over 160 rare cars in the collection including a few batmobiles, Abraham Lincoln’s hearse, and even cars that run on steam and even cars that drive on water!

The collection is super impressive and great for adults and kids, and it’s so impressive it won first place for Preservation of Antique Cars at the Antique Automobile Club of America.

There is more interest to discover and explore at this museum though including old boats, boat engines, toys, motorbikes, and Steinway pianos. It’s a great museum for the family and a fun place to visit. It’s also a good spot to grab a souvenir of your time in Florida!

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art – Sarasota

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art on the west coast of Florida is one of the art museums you have to visit in Florida. The Ringling museum is a campus dedicated to all kinds of art and is home to three museums including The Museum of Art, Ca’ d’Zan, and the Circus Museum all surrounded by wonderful gardens.

John Ringling owned the Ringling Bros circus along with his five brothers and built the estate, which is now the museum campus, with his wide back in the 1920s. Over time they slowly collected a lot of artwork of all varieties and these are not on show in the Museum of Art on the campus.

The Ca’ d’Zan museum is a house dedicated to John and is home to antique furniture, stunning originally stained glass windows, and it also has wonderful views of the water.

The main attraction at the campus is the Circus Museum which is home to a complete model of John’s circus back in its heyday including animals, employers, performers, train cars, and costumes.

All Florida trippers whether traveling as a family or just adults so should visit. The admission prices are low and you a get free admission to the Museum of Art and the gardens on Mondays and there are lots of discounts too.

Museum of Science and Industry – Tampa

The Museum of Science and Industry, aka MOSI, is all about hands-on interactive exhibits that introduce you to many scientific fields. Everything is covered from project building to moon colonization and paleontology in these hands-on experiences.

You’ll also find a virtual reality exhibit, a planetarium with tours guided by astronomers, and there is even a Sky Trail Ropes which is challenging and fun for both adults and kids.

Everything at this museum is super hands-on and it is not only fun but all visitors will leave the museum having learned a lot.

Indian Temple Mound Museum – Fort Walton Beach

Indian Temple Mound Museum

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

The Indian Temple Mound Museum is all about showcasing the artifacts and ways of life of the people who first lived in Florida, the Native Americans. Sitting on the coast at Fort Walton Beach it houses a collection of artifacts that spans twelve thousand years.

You’ll see a collection of bones, tolls made from shells, pottery and there is even “The Mound” on-site which was used by the native people as a religious monument, a burial ground for important figures, and even a base for Native political leaders to build on.

The gift shop at his museum is great with loads of replica artifacts that you can take home as a souvenir and a reminder of the old civilizations.

Air Force Armament Museum – Eglin Air Force Base

One of the best military museums in Florida to visit is the Air Force Armament Museum. It’s just down the road from the city of Pensacola and is free to enter, making accessing it about as easy as possible.

You’ll discover loads of planes, missiles, and other things used in the Air Force over the past as you walk around and there are cards next to each thing of interest explaining what it is and how it was used.

The gun vault display is particularly cool as it’s full of both modern and antique guns and each gun has a card that tells you its story from the history of the gun to its features.

This isn’t just a museum for adults, kids will love it too and it’s a great way to see a different museum than usual.

Florida Museum of Natural History – Gainesville

The Florida Museum of Natural History in Florida is a great place to walk around if you love learning about the world and how it came to be.

There are rooms filled with fossils of dinosaurs, shark jaws, sloths, and lots more as well as old artifacts from the natives who first lived in Florida. You’ll find a magnified Florida estuary showing microorganisms and other exhibits that focus on the flora and fauna of Florida and its evolution.

Tampa Museum of Art – Tampa

Tampa Museum of Art

Image courtesy of Steven Martin

The Tampa Museum of Art is another great place to visit if you’re in Western Florida and it’s most famous for its excellent permanent exhibition of items dating back thousands of years. You’ll find things like pottery, sculpture, and carvings that go back to 600 BC and were from Roman and Egyptian times.

In addition, they also host temporary exhibitions that include pieces by great artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yayoi Kusama, Manuel Carrillo, and Robert Indiana.

Orlando Science Center – Orlando

The Orlando Science Center is an awesome place to go if you want to learn about Florida and a bit of science too. There is a recreation of the Florida Everglades as you enter which has real fish and even a snapping turtle in it.

There is also a planetarium, fossil museum, a giant telescope you can peer through, plus a tour around the Florida Wilderness that teaches you about features such as sinkholes, native wildlife, and the water table.

It’s a super interesting museum with some very hands-on parts that is great for kids, adults, and families.

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

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