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Cultural Museums in Southwest Florida
Aside from fantastic beaches and fresh seafood, the southwest region of Florida offers a variety of fun museums the whole family can enjoy. Located in Naples, Florida, head to the Collier County Museum to see the natural preservation of the Gulf Coast region. Nestled on five acres of perfectly manicured gardens, explore prehistoric exhibits, historic cottages, a Seminole Village, as well as a tropical orchid house and a 1910 steam logging locomotive to journey back over a million years.
Dedicated to the preservation and collection of the history and traditions of Fort Myers and southwest Florida, The Southwest Florida Museum of History showcases former inhabitants of the region in a historic Atlantic Coastline Railroad depot. Tour the history of the Calusa Indians, the Paleo Indians, and the Seminoles as they interacted with Spanish explorers and early settlers through exhibits and replicas of famous artifacts.
For quirkier exploration, travel back in time and into the future of man’s greatest invention at the Sarasota Classic Car Museum. Peek inside the evolution of transportation and antique cars and tour vintage, exotic, European and sports cars.
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Completed in 1923, the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens features 10 acres of gardens, plus a museum accredited by the American Association of Museums in the historic Main House. Whether you stroll the grounds while listening to the 90-minute audio tour, or join in on a guided tour, you'll love the surrounding beauty of the gardens.
Take a break after the tour to enjoy a delicious sandwich or salad in the museum Cafe in southern Florida.
The museum also hosts several of Miami's special events, programs, performances, workshops and special tours throughout the year. The Moonlight Garden Tour is a visitor favorite.
This museum is also a U.S. National Historic Landmark found on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Blanchard House Museum of African-American History
Built in 1925, the Blanchard House Museum of African American History and Culture of Charlotte County is the historic home of Joseph Blanchard. The home can be found near Venice on the west-central Florida coast.
The Blanchard House features cultural exhibits showcasing the rich history of the African-American legacy in Florida. Explore open access to artifacts and materials of African-American contributions and don't forget to visit the Black history library and gift shop.
Collier County Museum
Through exhibitions and artifacts, the Collier County Museum preserves the natural history of the southwest Gulf Coast region and Naples.
Explore prehistoric exhibitions featuring Florida's fossilized remains of big-game hunters and sharks or see the ancient tools and masks of the Calusa Indian civilization that once ruled Florida before the arrival of the Europeans. Don't forget to explore the grounds, perfect for a picnic, or visit the gift shop.
Manatee County Agricultural Museum
Found in downtown Palmetto, just across from Bradenton on the Manatee River in west-central Florida, the Manatee County Agricultural Museum preserves the region's history with a wide variety of programs, events, and exhibitions.
Explore living history reenacted through the Livestock, Vegetables, Citrus, Horticulture, and Commercial Fishing exhibits. Open from Tuesday to Friday and the first and third Saturdays of each month, the museum sports a free general admission.
Naples Depot Museum
The railroad's illustrious history in the southwest Florida Gulf Coast is preserved at this downtown Naples landmark museum. Set in a restored Seaboard Air Line Railway passengers railway station, this museum takes visitors back to Naples' railway boom of the 1920s.
The museum is open Monday through Saturday, with hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is closed on national and county holidays.
Railroad Museum of South Florida
Housing over 3,200 square feet of artifacts, pictures, model railroads, retired locomotives, and objects taken from Florida's railroading past, the Railroad Museum of South Florida is located at Lakes Regional Park in Fort Myers, right on the Gulf Coast of southwestern Florida.
Among its artifacts, the museum operates a 1/8th scale train ride found throughout the north end of Lakes Park and the 15-minute ride is a popular favorite among kids and families. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., Saturday, and noon to 3:45 p.m.
Sarasota Classic Car Museum
Opened in 1953, the Sarasota Classic Car Museum is one of the best west-central Florida attractions for guests looking to spot some antique models and favorites. Recognized as the second oldest antique car museum in the country, this Sarasota landmark holds over 75 iconic automobiles.
The 60,000 square foot facility houses exotic brands like Ferrari, DeLorean, Cadillac, Bentley, and Alfa Romeo. On a self-guided tour, don't miss unique collections owned by the Ringling Brothers, the Beatles, and more.
Southwest Florida Museum of History
Dedicated to the preservation and collection of the history and traditions of Fort Myers and southwest Florida, the Southwest Florida Museum of History puts on exhibits of Florida's former peoples inside a historic Atlantic Coastline Railroad depot.
See the history of the Paleo Indians, the Calusa, and the Seminoles peoples along with the Spanish explorers and early settlers of the region come to life through exhibits and replicas of famous artifacts. The museum is open from Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Historic Spanish Point
Covering 30 acres alongside west central Florida's Little Sarasota Bay, Historic Spanish Point greets visitors with a museum and environmental complex. Browse archeological exhibits, a citrus packing house, a homestead historic house, a boatyard, and nature trails.
Don't miss special programs at this Sarasota attraction, including the Adventures in Learning school year program and the Historical Interpreters seasonal program. Dogs are welcome every Saturday and be sure to catch the Music at the Point sunset concerts.