20 Museums In Florida

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The U.S.’s furthest southeastern state offers many vacation opportunities: gorgeous beaches, fascinating ecosystems like the Everglades, exciting attractions and stellar museums in every category. So whether you are looking to escape the hot sun and regular thunderstorms or to explore history, art, science and culture, the Sunshine State offers many options for the whole family and people of all ages.

Let’s check out 20 of the best museums in Florida. Note that details on hours and admission are general and that each museum’s website should be checked for the most up-to-date information and details, including discounts and reciprocal admission.

Museums in Florida

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20 Florida Museums To Visit

1- Bass Museum Of Art In Miami Beach

This contemporary art museum is in the heart of the Miami art scene and strives to bring contemporary art into the community.

Expanding people’s interpretation of it, this Florida museum features the expected sculptures, paintings and novel mediums like design, fashion and architecture.

Permanent collections include commissioned works by prominent or boundary-breaking artists, such as contemporary iconography by Sylvie Fleury and textile work (especially yarn) by Jim Drain.

The 42-foot (almost-13m) Miami Mountain is a stack of megalithic boulders that utilise many cultures’ traditions of stacking stones to create a sense of romantic minimalism.

Their art classes in Art After Hours are famous throughout Miami, and many are offered virtually.

The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday with a general admission of $15 for adults and $8 for children.

The Bass Museum Of Art is at 2100 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, 33139.

2- Florida Museum Of Natural History In Gainesville

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You’ll also find a pretty decent natural history museum in Florida to tick off your list.

Explore massive fossils from long-gone animals like prehistoric shark jaws and giant sloths, as well as other aspects of the natural history of Florida.

Experience a magnified Florida estuary featuring even the smallest forms of life.

Honour and celebrate native culture by enjoying a Native American ceremony held within a 1500s-style Calusa building, along with other artifacts and art from ancient and contemporary native culture.

The Natural History Museum is open daily and general admission is free.

Access to the Butterfly Rainforest and special exhibits are available as a discounted package or individually.

The museum is on the University of Florida campus at 3215 Hull Road, Gainesville, 32611.

3- St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum

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Check out this pirate museum in Florida for a fun time.

Climb aboard mateys and explore life during the Golden Age of Piracy in Port Royal in the 1600s.

Every square inch of the museum is dedicated to immersing visitors in interactive experiences with colour, light, sound and hands-on elements to bring your pirate adventure to life.

Explore artifacts from sunken wrecks and documents from governments and pirates, steer the captain’s wheel, tie sailor’s knots, view props from famous pirate movies, experience the original Jolly Roger flag, explore interactive digital maps and books.

The St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum is open every day and discounted online ticket prices are under $20 for adults and under $10 for children.

The St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum is at 12 South Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, 32084. St Augustine has some other unusual museums, such as the Oldest Store Museum and the World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum.

4- John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art In Sarasota

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Sarasota is home to a famous circus museum in Florida.

Commonly known as the Ringling, this is one of the iconic Florida museums and consists of the Circus Museum, Art Museum and the impressive Ca’ d’Zan.

One of the five Ringling brothers of the famous circus, John, built what is now the museum with his wife, Mabel, in the 1920s, and much of the Art Museum is made up of their personal items.

Experience the Greatest Show on Earth with original costumes, train cars and reproductions of every animal, performer and employee through a series of hallways and viewing platforms.

The Ringling is open daily with $25 admission for adults and $5 for children, free admission to the grounds and Art Museum on Mondays.

Explore the original coloured glass windows, antique furniture and fascinating water views in the Ca’ d’Zan, or House of John, for an extra cost.

The Ringling is at 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, 34243. This city sightseeing trolley tour is an easy way to see the sights and it includes entry to the Ringling Museum.

5- Salvador Dalí Museum In St. Petersburg

This museum, often called The Dalí, features a distinctive design from Yann Weymouth, the famous architect, with mirrored windows that wrap around the building to give it the appearance of being covered in silver bubbles.

Explore over 2,400 pieces by this famous artist (the most significant collection outside of Europe), including photographs, paintings, drawings, book illustrations, sculpted objects and even clothing.

The museum also hosts travelling and temporary exhibits, even those from local students.

The new augmented reality program helps guests learn more about the installations and experience them in a unique, novel way.

Stroll through the Avant Garden for moments of tranquillity with different plants and trees, ponds and fountains, and the famous Dali wishing tree.

The Dalí is open daily at $29 for adults and $12 for youth, but the ground floor, featuring the cafe, store, and community room, is free.

The Salvador Dalí Museum is at One Dali Boulevard Street, St. Petersburg, 33701.

6- Orlando Science Center

Step into a living reconstruction of the Florida Everglades to see marine life, such as fish and a snapping turtle.

Explore the Florida wilderness, including sinkholes, the water table, and native wildlife, but thankfully all air-conditioned.

Then, explore all things science, including dinosaurs, flight simulators, kinetic sand, and hands-on physics and earth science exhibits.

See the night sky and astronomy in their planetarium and an electrifying Tesla coil show in a separate theatre.

After dark, on clear nights, explore the night sky on the top floor with an astronomer and the Center’s telescope.

The Orlando Science Center general admission is $24 for adults and $18 for youth at 777 E. Princeton Street, Orlando, 32803.

7- Air Force Armament Museum At Eglin Air Force Base

While many of the best military museums and experiences often require Department of Defense identification or have high prices for civilians, the Air Force Armament Museum is open to the general public daily for free.

Explore planes, missiles, and artifacts from the United States’ involvement in various wars.

The gun vault features display cases filled with guns from antiques to modern-day specimens, with documentation on the details and history of each.

The new expansion (expected to open in the spring) will celebrate the contributions of African Americans in the Air Force and honour the achievements of Eglin Air Force Base, including innovations from its research lab as well as explosive ordinance disposal and robotics.

The Air Force Armament Museum is located at 100 Museum Drive, Eglin Air Force Base, 32542.

8- Great Explorations Children’s Museum In St. Petersburg

Widely regarded as the best museum in Florida for children and families, the Great Explorations Children’s Museum was created with children specifically in mind, but adults will also find the exhibits enjoyable.

Hands-on and immersive experiences help children explore agriculture, meteorology, architecture, careers and nutrition.

They can test their bodies and endurance on the playground and ropes course, and many of the exhibits encourage climbing, moving, and building to keep tiny hands and bodies active.

The Sunken Gardens, a historic botanical garden, offers a natural respite for adults and children.

Great Explorations Children’s Museum is open daily and general admission is $15 for children and $12 for adults.

Great Explorations Children’s Museum is at 1925 4th Street North, St. Petersburg, 33704.

9- Charles Hosmer Morse Museum Of American Art In Winter Park

One of the best art and culture museums in Florida and bigger than its unassuming entry may suggest, it has over 19,000 square feet (1,765 square meters) of gallery space.

The museum is filled with works from various creators, but it is most famous for being the permanent home to hundreds of pieces by Louis Comfort Tiffany, the renowned glassmaker.

Experience a kaleidoscope of colours in the hallway of Tiffany signature lamps, a room solely devoted to works inspired by daffodils.

Make sure you see the Tiffany Chapel, originally created for Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.

Open Tuesday through Sundays, general admission is $6 per person older than 12.

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum is at 445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park, 32789.

10- Museum Of Science and Industry (MOSI) In Tampa

As one of the best science museums in Florida, MOSI ties together the latest innovations in STEM and emphasises art and design, featuring interactive and hands-on exhibits.

Explore paleontology, our trips to the moon and future plans, project building, physics, anatomy and virtual reality.

Explore the cosmos in the planetarium guided by the museum’s astronomers.

Tackle the Sky Trail Ropes Course to see how high you can climb. Open daily, MOSI is $14 for adults and $10 for children. Prebook your tickets to avoid the lines.

The Museum of Science and Industry is at 4801 East Fowler Avenue, Tampa, 33617.

11- Frost Museum Of Science In Miami

Explore the skies and seas at one of the best science museums in South Florida, featuring a state-of-the-art planetarium and an aquarium spanning three levels.

You’ll also learn about the Gulf Stream and how it impacts environments globally.

Flight, natural science and hands-on interactive exhibits in physics and biology are also featured in addition to the planetarium and aquarium.

The Frost Museum of Science is open daily, with admission varying based on the day you visit, averaging about $30 for adults and $23 for youth.

The Frost Museum of Science is at 1101 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, 33132.

12- Tampa Museum Of Art

The Tampa Museum of Art’s permanent collection is featured in rotating displays of pottery, sculpture and carving dating from 600 to 300 BCE.

The Roman, Greek, and Egyptian works provide a glimpse of ancient life and the people who inhabited it.

The noteworthy temporary exhibits have featured outstanding artists of diverse backgrounds with different styles and subject matters, such as Yayoi Kusama, Robert Indiana, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Manuel Carrillo.

Check ahead to see if the temporary exhibitions feature your favourite artists or styles.

The Tampa Museum of Art is open daily with a general admission fee of $20 for adults and $5 for K-12 students.

The Tampa Museum of Art is at the Cornelia Corbett Center, 120 West Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, 33602.

13- Kennedy Space Center On Merritt Island

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One of the most famous museums in Florida is the Kennedy Space Center.

If space is your jam, a trip to the Kennedy Space Center is a must, featuring NASA’s work to conquer and understand space.

This two-campus indoor and outdoor museum is located right on Kennedy Space Center’s campus, minutes from the launchpads and hangars.

Browse the Rocket Garden, featuring Mercury, Gemini and Apollo mission spacecraft.

The bus tour between the main area and the Apollo/ Saturn V Center dedicated to the moon missions allows you to see some other parts of the camps and provides background on NASA’s history here.

Relive the historic 1968 Apollo 8 launch from the control room theatre and experience the gigantic majesty of these innovations that have helped humanity touch the stars.

Unleash your inner astronaut, experience training simulations, and look to the future of space travel, exploring what colonising Mars might look like with fun games and presentations.

Be prepared for crowds and lines; as a worldwide destination for space enthusiasts and a popular field trip destination for local schools, it’s sure to be packed.

Before you leave, check out the massive gift shop with all the souvenirs you could imagine and more for the space fan in your life or yourself.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is open daily but check for seasonal schedules.

It is a pricey expedition at $75 for adults and $65 for children, though you can purchase two-day tickets at a discount but not all experiences are included in the discounted admission. Skip the lines and reserve your tickets here.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is at Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island, 32953.

14- Earnest Hemingway Home and Museum In Key West

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Earnest Hemingway Home and Museum is a lovely Florida museum for literary fans.

Famous American writer Hemingway’s 1930s home in Key West is now a historic museum celebrating and sharing his life and works with the world.

Much of the house is in its original condition with genuine artifacts and personal effects of the writer and his wives, as well as period pieces and replicas.

One huge draw of the museum is the approximately 60 Hemingway cats that roam free on the grounds and are taken care of by the staff and a dedicated veterinarian.

The cats, all named after famous people from Hemingway’s time in keeping with his tradition, are descendants of his original polydactyl, six-toed cat and also feature six toes rather than the usual five per foot either in the mitten formation where the extra toe is on the side and the pizza formation where they form more of a solid circle.

We visited in the spring of 2022 and were surprised at how wonderful the guide was, bringing the eccentric writer and his family to life, making it one of our favourite stops in Key West.

The Earnest Hemingway Home and Museum is open daily at $18 for adults and $7 for children, but make sure to bring cash.

The Earnest Hemingway Home and Museum is at 907 Whitehead Street, Key West, 33040.

15- Orlando Museum Of Art

While the Orlando Museum of Art’s permanent collections feature fantastic displays of art throughout history, its constantly rotating temporary exhibitions from a wide range of artists and movements make it one of the best art museums in Florida.

In addition to these rotating temporary exhibits, the Orlando Museum of Art features American Art and Contemporary Art.

The American Art collection from colonial times to the 1960s influences the bulk of their educational programs.

The Art of the Ancient Americas collection is one of the most significant in the U.S., featuring over 900 creations by the peoples who inhabited North, Central and South America thousands of years before Europeans arrived.

The Orlando Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Sunday, with general admission for adults at $20 and for children at $8.

The Orlando Museum of Art is at 2416 North Mills Avenue, Orlando, 32803. If art is not your thing, you might like to check out the Museum of Illusions.

16- Indian Temple Mound Museum In Fort Walton Beach

Dedicated to the people who lived in Florida thousands of years before the arrival of the Spanish, the Indian Temple Mound Museum features some of these pottery, bone, shell tools and adornments artifacts, mostly from between 1200 and 15 CE, to showcase their lives.

View the currently 12-foot-tall (3.7 m) mound, which has been eroded over time by thunderstorms and hurricanes.

The mound served as a religious monument, a base for native political leaders to build homes, and a burial ground for important community members.

The Indian Temple Mound Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday for an admission of $5 for adults and $3 for children, which includes access to the Garnier Post Office Museum, Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum, and the Civil War Exhibits in the Heritage Park and Cultural Center.

The Indian Temple Mound Museum is at 139 Miracle Strip Parkway South East, Fort Walton Beach, 32548.

17- Vizcaya Museum & Gardens In Miami

museums in florida vizcaya aerial of Vizcaray with bush in the background
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens In Miami is one of the Florida museums with a lovely setting.

The former estate and villa of businessman James Deering overlooking Biscayne Bay features Mediterranean-style architecture with 32 decorated rooms and 10 acres (4 ha) of perfectly preserved gardens, providing a beautiful respite and look into the past.

The first floor is open to the public, with reception rooms, the Music Room, and the Dining Room utilising artifacts from various periods.

In the gardens, you’ll be transported to Europe as they are designed to evoke 17th and 18th-century Italian and French gardens with low hedges cut into geometric patterns and sculptures.

Open Wednesday through Monday, admission is $25 for adults and $10 for children. Skip the line and reserve your tickets here.

The Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is at 3251 South Miami Avenue, Miami, 33129. While in Miami, you may also like to visit a few quirky contemporary museums, like the Paradox Museum or the Museum of Graffiti. The Go City Miami All-inclusive Pass will also get you into some museums. Check it out here.

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One of the most well-known museums in Florida is the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens In Miami.

18- Tallahassee Automobile Museum

Explore over 160 rare automobiles, including ones that drive on water or run on steam, Abraham Lincoln’s hearse and multiple Batmobiles.

In addition to automobiles, the museum also features other items, including case knives, historic boats and boat motors, toys, motorcycles and even rare Steinway pianos.

Check out the replica general store with artifacts priced “from back in the day”.

Open daily, the museum’s general admission is $20 per adult and less than $12 for children, with different prices depending on age.

The Tallahassee Automobile Museum is at 6800 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, 32308.

19- Edison And Ford Winter Estates In Fort Myers

Celebrating innovation and invention, the Edison and Ford Winter Estates feature Thomas Edison’s home and Henry Ford’s winter home, with over 15.000 square feet (1,393 square meters) of artifacts dedicated to their inventions and lives.

Walk through the research gardens where these historic minds brainstormed and created.

Learn about the lightbulb, a now commonplace item that Edison invented, how they work, and how they’ve changed since he first invented them.

Explore how Ford became the most successful early car manufacturer who revolutionised the modern production line and changed the car industry and manufacturing.

Put on your thinking caps and inventor hats to create your own gadgets and inventions in the Smithsonian Spark!Lab.

The Estates are open daily with general admission at $25 for adults and $15 to 20 for children depending on age.

The Edison And Ford Winter Estates is at 2350 McGregor Boulevard, Fort Myers, 33901.

20- Modernism Museum In Mount Dora

This museum is dedicated to furniture, from the Memphis art movement of the 1980s to unique, eclectic and unconventional items such as pieces from David Bowie’s private estate.

Functioning bookshelves, chairs, vanities and serving carts in unexpected designs are explained in detail by the dedicated museum attendants who bring each piece to life.

The Modernism Museum is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (excluding major holidays) with reasonable admission rates of $8 for adults and $5 for children.

The Modernism Museum is at 145 East 4th Avenue, Mount Dora, 32757.

museums florida
If you only have time for one museum in Florida, make in the Kennedy Space Center.
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Sarah Hoffschwelle is an author and freelance writer with a Bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in Museum Studies focusing on science communication and education. Originally from Texas, she moved to South Korea as a child for a couple of years, travelling to China, Thailand, Japan, and Australia during her time there. She has travelled to Germany, England, and Ireland and studied abroad for a summer in Italy. She currently lives in New Hampshire and continues to travel domestically as much as possible and is planning several international trips for the next few years