(A)Museum(ing) Museums

What if we told you some of Florida’s top museums for children are only a hop, jump and scoot away? Load up the minivan—we’ve compiled a list of our favorite spots to visit.

Ocala

Appleton Museum of Art

appletonmuseum.org

In the heart of Ocala, this 10-minute road trip is good for a day of fun.

What To Do

First Saturdays

(every first Saturday, September-May, 10am-5pm)

This family-fun event is the perfect opportunity to introduce the kids to the museum. Join the Appleton on the first Saturday of each month for age-appropriate art-making for children ages 4 and older. Each first Saturday art activity will focus on a different artist.

Half-Day Happenings 

(on Marion County Public School Early Release Days, 1:30-3pm)

Half-Day Happenings are a perfect way to spend Marion County Public School early release days. Pick up an assignment at the front desk, enjoy the exhibitions and then visit the ARTSpace for a fun, hands-on art-making experience.

 

Gainesville 40 minutes

Florida Museum of Natural History

floridamuseum.ufl.edu

This museum is one of the nation’s top five natural history museums.

What To Do

The Butterfly Rainforest: This lush landscape doubles as a permanent exhibit that features hundreds of free-flying butterflies and birds from around the world.

Discovery Zone: Encourage your child’s curiosity and wonder in the hands-on Discovery Room, an ongoing exhibit. Preserved specimens from museum collections and a variety of science resources provide many opportunities for families to learn about the world together.

 

Tampa 1 hour 30 minutes

Tampa Baseball Museum

tampabaseballmuseum.org

Step up to the plate and learn the history behind Tampa’s own.

What To Do

The mission of this museum is to preserve and honor Tampa’s unique, historic role in the game of baseball and provide community inspiration by celebrating local legends.

 

Glazer Children’s Museum

glazermuseum.org

Children can explore a variety of career choices at this museum and possibly answer the age-old question: What do you want to be when you grow up?

What To Do

Firehouse exhibit: Your child can take on the life of a firefighter as they pretend to save the day in a safe, kid-sized firehouse. Slide down the fireman’s pole or simulate driving a firetruck through the streets of Tampa Bay.

Vet Clinic exhibit: A space to play the role of a veterinarian at the Museum’s Vet Clinic. Looking at X-rays and investigating their animal patients’ charts, children will determine the best possible treatment.

 

Orlando 1 hour 30 minutes

Orlando Science Center

osc.org

Iron your lab coats and fasten your goggles—no one is too young to become a scientist.

What To Do

Engineer it. Bridge your knowledge of engineering in this unique, hands-on exhibit that is sure to build an infrastructure of fun. Builders of all ages can get involved in the engineering process. This exhibit is sure to get kids and adults thinking about the human-made world all around them.

 

Daytona Beach 1 hour 40 minutes

Daytona Arcade Museum

daytonaarcademuseum.com

Sometimes it really is all fun and games.

What To Do

The Daytona Arcade Museum is a wonderful trip back to the golden age of arcade games, allowing visitors not only to see games from the past but to play them as well. Challenge friends or compete with family. It’s generation meets generation.

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