The southeasternmost state in the U.S. boasts the best beaches, oceanfront restaurants well-known for their flavorful cuisine, stunning parks such as the Everglades and Pine Island, a diverse collection of birds and animals, the best schools, and many attractions that offer an invincible experience for both residents and visitors. However, Florida’s visitors of all ages want to avoid the scorching sun and thunderstorms to explore Florida a little more better. The science and arts, the military and history, and agriculture blasting themselves to flare the state diversity in natural wonders and cultures. In this article, we have listed the best museums in Florida to explore and include in your itinerary when visiting the Sunshine State.
Best Museums In Florida
Bass Museum of Art – Miami Beach
|Bass Museum Of Art
|Contemporary art exhibits including paintings, sculptures, design, fashion, and architecture
|General ($15), Seniors/Youth ($8), Children Under 6 (Free)
|2100 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
The Bass combines international contemporary art with Miami Beach’s diverse population, compelling boundaries by including modern disciplines like design and fashion in their collection, redefining the concept of art.
The permanent exhibition features commissioned works by Sylvie Fleury, using modern iconography with a touch of irony, as well as works by Jim Drain, known for his use of textiles, mainly yarn.
A 42-foot elevated stack of megalithic boulders outside Miami Mountain combines romantic minimalism and cultural stone-stacking traditions.
For the best art classes in Miami, check out Art After Hours! They offer courses in charcoal, experimental watercolors, and kinetic art. Plus, you can continue learning with virtual classes from the Bass.
Edison and Ford Winter Estates – Fort Myers
|Edison And Ford Winter Estates
|Home of Thomas Edison and winter home of Henry Ford
|Adults ($25), Teens ($20), Children 6-12 ($15), Children 5 And Under (Free)
|2350 McGregor Boulevard, Fort Myers
To celebrate innovation and invention:
Visit the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Explore the historic homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, stroll through their research gardens, and immerse yourself in a 15,000-square-foot museum showcasing their creations and lives.
Learn about Edison’s pioneering work on electric lights and the evolution of lighting technology.
Discover how Ford revolutionized car manufacturing with the modern production line.
Tallahassee Automobile Museum – Tallahassee
|Tallahassee Automobile Museum
|Over 160 classic automobiles
|General ($20), Seniors/Military ($17.50), Youth 10-18 ($11.75), Children 5-9 ($8), Children Under 5 (Free)
|6800 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee
Tallahassee Automobile Museum showcases 160+ rare automobiles, including amphibious cars, steam-powered vehicles, Lincoln’s hearse, and multiple Batmobiles. It received the Antique Automobile Club of America’s top preservation award in 1999. Beyond cars, explore collections of case knives, historic boats, toys, motorcycles, Steinway pianos, and a nostalgic general store. Discover a diverse array of yesteryear memorabilia and technology that sparks nostalgia and wonder.
Great Explorations Children’s Museum – St. Petersburg
|Great Explorations Children’s Museum
|Child-friendly hands-on exhibits
|Children 1-17 ($15), Adults ($12), Seniors ($11)
|1925 4th Street North, St. Petersburg
Explore the Great Explorations Children’s Museum in Florida, a family-friendly destination for kids and adults. It offers hands-on learning experiences in agriculture, meteorology, architecture, nutrition, and more. Kids can play as firefighters, veterinarians, or weather forecasters and enjoy a playground, ropes course, and creative spaces. The museum even has a mini-grocery store partnership with Publix. The Sunken Gardens, a historic botanical garden, is nearby for extended enjoyment. It’s the ultimate spot for active, educational family fun!
Tampa Museum of Art – Tampa
|Tampa Museum Of Art
|Art from various periods including a rotating display of pottery, sculptures, and carvings from 600 to 300 BCE
|Adults ($25), Seniors/Military ($15), Children K-12 ($5), Children 6 And Under (Free)
|Cornelia Corbett Center, 120 West Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa
If you’re in Florida near the west coast, don’t miss the Tampa Museum of Art. It’s known for its ancient treasures, like old pottery, sculptures, and carvings dating from 600 to 300 BCE. These pieces come from far-off places like Rome, Greece, and Egypt, offering a glimpse into ancient life.
But that’s not all! The museum also hosts changing exhibitions every few months, featuring famous artists like Yayoi Kusama, Robert Indiana, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Manuel Carrillo. These artists come from diverse backgrounds, showcasing various artistic styles and subjects.
If you’re an art enthusiast, keep an eye on the museum’s website for upcoming exhibitions. It’s a fantastic place to explore and discover new art.
Florida Museum of Natural History – Gainesville
|Florida Museum Of Natural History
|Florida’s official state-sponsored museum
|University of Florida campus, Gainesville
Experience the awe of colossal fossils at the Florida Museum of Natural History, where prehistoric giants captivate visitors. Beyond fossils, explore a magnified Florida estuary, 1500s-style Native American ceremonies, and artifacts dating back centuries. Discover the intricate connection between Native traditions and Florida’s natural cycles. This museum celebrates Native ancestors and the state’s biodiversity, offering a rich learning experience.
The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art – St. Petersburg
If you enjoyed cowboy shows like Roy Rogers or nature documentaries like National Geographic, you’re in for a treat at the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art. It will bring back those exciting feelings in a new way.
This museum has many things to look at, like pictures, sculptures, and jewelry. They show the different ways people and animals lived in the American West. But it’s not just about the West; they also celebrate wildlife from all over the world.
What’s cool is that the museum includes artists from Native American backgrounds, and they don’t just focus on the old West from the 1800s; they also look at modern times. So, it’s not just about history; it’s about today, too.
If you’re into culture and nature, this museum has it all. It’s a unique and unforgettable experience that will make you appreciate both the past and the present.
Indian Temple Mound Museum – Fort Walton Beach
|Indian Temple Mound Museum
|Exploration of Native American culture over the past 12,000 years
|Adults ($5), Seniors/Military ($4.50), Children 4-17 ($3.00), Children 3 And Under (Free)
|139 Miracle Strip Parkway SE, Fort Walton Beach
Before the Spanish came to Florida, people lived there for thousands of years. They left behind lots of old stuff that shows us how they lived. The Indian Temple Mound Museum in the Florida Panhandle has collected these things for over twelve thousand years, though most are from around 1200 to 1500 CE.
They left things like pottery, bones, and shells that they used as tools and decorations. These items tell us about the people who used them and how they lived.
You can also see a big mound at the museum, which is still 12 feet tall even after being battered by Florida storms and hurricanes for many years. This mound was necessary for the people there – a religious place, a base for Native leaders’ homes, and a burial site for essential people in the community.
If you visit the museum, you can check out replica items in the gift shop. These replicas are made to look just like the real things in the museum, so tourists can take a piece of history home while keeping the actual artifacts safe in the museum.
By celebrating the lives of these critical people from Florida’s history, this museum is one of the best in the state.
St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum – St. Augustine
The Saint Augustine Lighthouse has been a famous landmark since 1589, when it was first marked as a Spanish watchtower on a map. It’s an integral part of Florida’s history. Nowadays, the lighthouse is a museum where you can see old stuff and get an amazing view of the city and the ocean.
The museum has many buildings filled with cool old things from the sea, like antique stuff from ships and detailed model ships. One of the best parts is the rooms with items belonging to the people who used to care for the lighthouse and their families. It feels like you’re invited to their dinner, and maybe the lighthouse keeper is just around the corner.
Some guides know a lot about the place and are there to tell you interesting facts about all the stuff in the museum. They are happy to answer your questions and are excited to teach you about the lighthouse’s history.
If you like spooky things, some people think the lighthouse is haunted, so keep your eyes and ears open!
St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum – St. Augustine
|St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum
|An interactive museum dedicated to the Golden Age of Piracy in the 1600s in Port Royal, Jamaica
|Adults ($17.99), Seniors ($15.99), Children 5-12 ($9.99)
|12 South Castillo Drive, St. Augustine
Transport yourself to the 1600s in Port Royal at this awesome pirate museum in Florida. Imagine hearing cannons firing and experiencing the Golden Age of Piracy. You can see cool stuff from shipwrecks, steer a pirate ship, learn to tie sailor knots and check out props from famous pirate movies.
What makes this place so cool is that every room is packed with colorful displays, sounds, and hands-on stuff. They even have the Jolly Roger flag, interactive maps and books, and real pirate and government documents. If you love adventure and pirates, you’ll have a blast at the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum!
Salvador Dali Museum – St. Petersburg
|Salvador Dali Museum
|Largest collection of Salvador Dalí’s works outside Europe
|Adults ($25-29), Discounted Adults ($23-27), Student ($18-20), Youth 6-12 ($10-12), Children Under 6 (Free)
|1 Dali Boulevard, St. Petersburg
The Salvador Dalí Museum, also known as the Dalí, looks impressive from the outside. It’s designed by a famous architect named Yann Weymouth, and the outside of the museum looks like it’s covered in shiny silver bubbles. The strange and creative art of Salvador Dalí inspires this particular design.
When you go inside the museum, you get to see lots of Salvador Dalí’s famous artwork and some of his not-so-famous pieces. There are over 2,400 works of art here, like photos, paintings, drawings, illustrations for books, and even things he made and clothes he designed.
But the museum isn’t just about Dalí’s art. They also have other special exhibits that change over time. Sometimes, they show the artwork of local students, which is a way to celebrate young artists and let them share their creativity.
The museum recently added something cool called an “augmented reality program.” It lets visitors learn more about what’s on display and see it in a new and exciting way.
The Dalí is one of the most famous museums in the state, and it’s always finding new ways to blend the past with the future.
Orlando Museum of Art – Orlando
|Orlando Museum Of Arts
|American Art and Art of the Ancient Americas collections
|Adults ($20), Seniors ($12), Students ($10), Children 6-17 ($8), Children 5 And Under (Free)
|2416 North Mills Avenue, Orlando
The Orlando Museum of Art is exceptional among Florida’s art museums because it has a lot of temporary exhibitions, which means it can show different artists and styles of art all the time. But it’s not just about the temporary stuff; the museum also has an extensive and diverse collection of art that’s always there.
They have an American Art collection that goes back to when America was first settled, up until the 1960s. This collection is a big part of the museum’s educational programs, where they teach people about art.
There’s also an Art of the Ancient Americas collection, one of the most complete collections in the United States. It shows over 900 pieces of art made by the people who lived in North, Central, and South America for a very long time before the Europeans came.
The museum’s Contemporary Art collection is even bigger and keeps growing because the community is involved and donates art. You could spend hours exploring this beautiful museum with so much to see.
Orlando Science Center – Orlando
|Orlando Science Center
|Wide array of science and natural history exhibits including reconstruction of the Florida Everglades
|Adult ($24), Senior/Student ($22), Youth 2-11 ($18), Children Under 2 (Free)
|777 East Princeton Street, Orlando
When you enter the Orlando Science Center (OSC), you’ll see a big staircase wrapped around a recreated Florida Everglades with fish and a turtle. You can explore this indoor Florida wilderness to learn about sinkholes, the water table, and local wildlife. Upstairs, there are dinosaur bones, flight simulators, kinetic sand, and lots of fun physics and earth science exhibits.
The building has two theaters, one for planetarium shows and one for Tesla coil demonstrations. If you visit on a clear night, go to the top floor to use their powerful telescope with the help of an astronomer.
Keep an eye on their event schedule because they host cool stuff like adults-only nights, tech conventions, and video game design competitions. Whether planning a unique date night or a family outing, OSC has something for everyone.
Air Force Armament Museum – Eglin Air Force Base
|Airforce Armament Museum
|Over 29 planes (WWII to present) Gun vault
|Eglin Air Force Base
If you’re into military history and want to visit a museum, you might have noticed that many of them are either for people in military museums or cost a lot to get in. But there’s a cool place in the Florida Panhandle called the Air Force Armament Museum, and guess what? It’s open to everyone, and getting in is free!
You’ll see signs with information next to most things on display when you visit. These signs explain all about the different airplanes and weapons they have. They’ve got planes, missiles, and items from important American wars, some from way back in the 1940s or even earlier.
Don’t forget to check out the gun vault. It’s a long room with cabinets filled with all kinds of guns, some old and some modern. They tell you the history and cool stuff about each weapon.
The museum is still growing and plans to open a new part in the spring of 2022. This new section will be all about the Eglin Air Force Base and the achievements of African Americans in the Air Force.
There’s much to do here, with interactive activities and learning opportunities. Over two million people have visited so far, and it’s a great place for super-military fans and those who like big, exciting machines.
Kennedy Space Center – Merritt Island
|Kennedy Space Center
|Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island, FL 32953
|Adults 12 And Up ($75), Children 3-11 ($65)
|2-campus space center on the same property as NASA in Florida
When you visit the Kennedy Space Center, get ready for an exciting journey through time and space! When you walk in, you’ll see the Rocket Garden, where they’ve kept rockets from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. You can explore on your own or take a guided tour.
This museum is spread over two areas, and it’s located where NASA did much of its work in Florida. It’s super close to where they launch rockets and keep spacecraft. You can even take a bus tour to see all the big machines and buildings where they send rockets into space.
The bus tour also takes you to the Apollo/Saturn V Center, a special place for moon missions. Here, you can watch a show about the Apollo 8 launch from 1968 and walk around big spacecraft that took people to space.
The Kennedy Space Center is a fantastic place for kids and adults who dream of being astronauts. There are games about going to Mars, astronaut training simulations, and a look at the future of space travel. It’s a real space adventure!
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art – Winter Park
|Charles Hosmer Morse
|World’s largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany works
|General ($6), Seniors ($5), Students ($1), Children Under 12 (Free)
|445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park
Don’t be fooled by the modest entrance and affordable ticket prices—the Morse Museum is an incredible art and culture destination in Florida, much bigger than it seems. It spans over 19,000 square feet and houses various artworks from various creators. However, what truly sets this museum apart is its extensive collection of pieces designed by the famous glass artist Louis Comfort Tiffany.
Inside, you’ll discover a corridor filled with stunning Tiffany lamps that paint colorful patterns on the walls, a whole room dedicated to art inspired by daffodils, and the iconic Tiffany Chapel, originally created for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. If you’re seeking a one-of-a-kind art experience that you won’t find anywhere else in the world, the Morse Museum is the place to visit.
IMAG History & Science Center – Fort Myers
|IMAG History & Science Center
|Hands-on exhibits and interactive experiences
|General ($19.50), Children 3-18 ($15), Student ($15)
|2000 Cranford Avenue, Fort Myers
At the IMAG, they want you to really dive into Florida’s history and nature. They have cool stuff like a giant globe that shows Earth’s weather patterns in detail and an AR sandbox that teaches you about the land and waters in southwest Florida.
But if you’re craving a more hands-on experience, check out the Sea-to-See Touch Tank. You can touch the same stingrays that live near Florida’s beaches! They also give you lots of info about everything you see. It’s a great place for the whole family to visit.
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science – Miami
The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in South Florida is a fantastic place for exploring the wonders of the sky and sea. It has a top-notch planetarium with amazing surround sound and a stunning 8K display. Above the planetarium, there’s a level where you can discover the Gulf Stream’s impact on global environments. As you move through the museum, you’ll find exhibits on flight, natural science, physics, and biology, with plenty of hands-on activities. These exhibits are nestled alongside the aquarium’s different levels, creating a mini ocean world. With its sleek modern design and cool technology, this museum is a must-visit for gadget lovers!
Museum of Science and Industry – Tampa
|Museum Of Science And Industry
|Highly interactive learning environment
|Adults ($14), Children 3-17 ($10), Children 2 And Under (Free)
|4801 E Fowler Avenue, Tampa
MOSI, which stands for the Museum of Science & Industry, is a place where science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) come to life in a fun way. It’s not just about science; they mix in art and design too. They have loads of interactive exhibits that cover all sorts of scientific topics like dinosaurs, going to the moon, building projects, physics, the human body, and even virtual reality.
You can also visit their planetarium to explore space with cool visuals and learn from astronomers. And if you’re up for some physical activity, they have a Sky Trail Ropes course with exciting challenges.
MOSI is all about learning by doing, and that’s why it’s one of the best science museums in Florida.
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art – Sarasota
|John And Mable Ringling Museum
|Built by John Ringling
|Adult ($25), Senior ($23), Children 6-17 ($5), Children 5 And Under (Free)
|5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota
The Ringling is a super interesting museum in Florida with three parts: the Art Museum, the Circus Museum, and Ca’ d’Zan. John Ringling, part of the famous Ringling Bros. Circus, and his wife Mabel built this place in the 1920s. They collected all kinds of art, and a lot of what you see in the Art Museum is from their collection.
You can also check out Ca’ d’Zan, which was their house. It has pretty colored windows, old furniture, and excellent water views. And don’t forget the Circus Museum, where you can see cool stuff like circus costumes and train cars. They even have a whole model of the circus back in its glory days, with everything – animals, performers, and workers.
On Mondays, you can visit the grounds and the Art Museum for free, and they offer discounts for students, teachers, and military folks. If you’re on the Gulf Coast, this is a must-visit museum.
Modernism Museum – Mount Dora
|Age 4-17 ($5), Students ($7), Adults ($8)
|145 E 4th Ave, Mount Dora
The Modernism Museum seems a bit strange at first because it’s all about furniture. But once you watch their video about the Memphis art movement from the 1980s and chat with the knowledgeable staff, you’ll get more into it. Plus, many of the furniture pieces here were once owned by David Bowie!
These pieces are pretty unique and unconventional but still work as things like bookshelves, chairs, and serving carts. If you’re into pushing boundaries and seeing something unexpected, this museum is worth a visit.
Florida is a treasure trove of culture and history, boasting a plethora of remarkable museums. When you’re in the state, be sure to carve out some time to explore these fascinating destinations and uncover fresh insights!