Orlando Curated! History, Art & Science Await at its Top Museums

You mean there was life in Central Florida before the theme parks? Yes, Virginia. And there’s a Santa Claus, too. You may not find him at Fort Christmas Historical Park – but you can get your holiday cards stamped at the town of Christmas post office before visiting this fascinating replica of an 1830s fort, along with several homes (filled with actual artifacts and personal effects) that teach visitors exactly what live was like here in the days of the pioneers, when open windows in your “Cracker” house constituted central air. Fort Christmas’ location outside the city proper allows for woodland exploration, as well. Bring your hiking boots just in case. If urban museums are more your speed, check out downtown Orlando's Orange County Regional History Center. Housed in a beautiful, historic building, permanent installations teach much about life in Florida’s way-waaaaay back while rotating exhibits feature everything from history to pop culture to intriguing amalgams of both. In the vein of the traditional art museum, you may want to visit the Orlando Museum of Art or Winter Park’s beautiful Charles Hosmer Morse Museum, where the world’s largest collection of Tiffany works awaits your oohs and aaahs. Just a few steps from there you’ll find the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens and Rollins College’s lovely Cornell Fine Arts Museum, both exceptional venues for content as well as lovely locations. Weather permitting, either one is ideal for an outdoor amble. 

While not a museum in the more static, traditional sense, Kissimmee's Chocolate Kingdom drops a great deal of knowledge on the chocolate lovers who come to take the journey from bean to bar. Beginning with the cacao beans origins (including a...  Read More

Want to make history as appealing to kids as it is to adults? Serving it up inside a restored 1926 fire house is a very good start. The Orlando Fire Museum showcases the history of the City Beautiful's bravest along with a host of antique...  Read More

The lovely architecture of the Rollins College campus is enough of a reason to pop in for a peek, but amid its Spanish buildings, art lovers have a haven in the intimate Cornell Fine Arts Museum. The venue is home to thousands of works,...  Read More

Whether you're active duty, a vet or someone with a keen interest in the military or history in general, you're like to appreciate the understanding and awareness you'll have after a visit to Kissimmee's Museum of Military History. Engaging for...  Read More

Lovers of both the art and outdoors will delight in the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Garden, home to more than 200 works by the Czech-born sculptor. Located in the beautiful Winter Park home that Polasek enjoyed upon retirement, it is...  Read More

This historical park – about 20 miles east of Orlando and an easy stop on the way to or from Kennedy Space Center – boasts many beautiful features common to wilderness areas of the region: massive shade trees, lovely hiking trails, a...  Read More

This downtown museum, smack in the middle of a wealth of other urban Orlando offerings, houses myriad exhibits covering some 12,000 years of Central Florida history, from its Native American roots to its citrus-farming heyday and more. Three...  Read More

With collections both ancient and contemporary, the Orlando Museum of Art inspires visitors with its wide array of works. Textiles and pottery from Africa and Mesoamerica, beautiful American paintings and sculpture, fantastical modern graphics...  Read More

This impressive museum, located amid the tony shops and bistros of beautiful Winter Park, houses the most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, including jewelry, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass lamps and more. Personal...  Read More

3D movies and planetarium shows, towering dinosaur skeletons and the wonders of space, four floors of interactive science exhibits in the realms of weather and engineering, live animals and hands-on science programming, not to mention limited...  Read More


Meet A.D. Thompson

A.D. Thompson has spent more than 20 years as a professional writer and roughly 15 as a Floridian. The words, she has found, come easier with bare feet and rum.

A roller coaster enthusiast,...  More About A.D.

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