Museum enthusiasts in the Sunshine State will quickly find themselves seeking out something educational, inspiring, exciting, or even just downright bizarre. But given that Florida has over 400 museums, the selection can be daunting. Well, we’re here to help! Check out this alphabetical list of the 22 best museums in Florida, including our best overall and best art museum picks.
1. Air Force Armament Museum
Location: 100 Museum Drive, Eglin Air Force Base, FL 32542
Hours: Open every day from 9:30 to 5:00 p.m.; open most federal holidays.
For those interested in Air Force history, the Air Force Armament Museum is a fantastic choice. Unlike many other military museums, many of which require Department of Defense identification, this one is totally free and open every day to the general public. It is located on Eglin Air Force Base a few miles north of Fort Waldron Beach.
The museum boasts over 29 different aircraft from WWII to the present including an AC-130, B-25, P-51, A-10, and F-101. In addition to other types of armament, it also features a gun vault with both antique and modern guns on display, which includes the details and history of each. Throughout the day, the museum shows a 32-minute film at regular intervals on the history of Eglin Air Force Base.
Groups are welcome with no advance notice, though it’s best to call ahead. Children are also welcome with appropriate adult supervision.
2. Bass Museum of Art
Location: 2100 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Admission: General ($15), Seniors/Students/Youth ($8), Children Under 6 (Free)
The Bass is a staple of contemporary Miami art culture, offering numerous groundbreaking exhibits including painting, sculptures, design, fashion, and architecture. Besides a continual stream of new offerings and events, the Bass features inspiring long-term view artworks in its Art Outside and Open Storage exhibits. In addition to its plethora of art, the museum also offers art classes in Art After Hours, many of which are virtual.
Visitors can buy tickets either in advance or at the door. General admission is $15, but there are discounts and accommodations available for various groups. Be sure to check their website to see if you qualify. Admission is free on certain special days such as Family Day on the last Sunday of every month.
3. Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
Location: 445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Admission: General ($6), Seniors ($5), Students ($1), Children Under 12 (Free)
Website: Charles Hosmer Morse Museum
The 19,000-square-foot Morse Museum is most famous for having the world’s largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s works. This collection includes works from every medium he used and every period of his life. Of particular interest are the Tiffany Chapel, created for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and a room devoted entirely to daffodil-inspired art. Of course, the museum also hosts a wide array of works from other artists.
Admission to this cultural icon is affordable with general admission just $6. The museum offers free admission on Fridays from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., November to April.
4. Edison and Ford Winter Estates
Location: 2350 McGregor Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL 33901
Hours: Open daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Admission: Adults ($25), Teens ($20), Children 6-12 ($15), Children 5 And Under (Free)
Website: Edison and Ford Winter Estates
Edison and Ford Winter Estates is a sprawling property dedicated to the innovative genius of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. As its name suggests, the museum features Edison’s home and Ford’s winter home as the main attractions alongside the research gardens. The 15,000-square-foot museum itself is well worth exploring. Learn more about the lives and minds of the inventor of the light bulb and the famous car manufacturer on this historical estate dating back to 1885.
5. Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
Location: 907 Whitehead Street, Key West, FL 33040
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Admission: General ($18), Children 6-12 ($7), Children 5 And Under (Free)
Website: The Hemingway Home & Museum
The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is a museum located within the home of Nobel Prize-winning American author Ernest Hemingway. Besides offering tours and a gift shop, it also boasts a number of cats, many of whom are descended from the white six-toed cat given to Hemingway by a ship’s captain. Here, visitors can explore Hemingway’s life and works as well as explore the lovely tropical paradise where he lived and labored.
This museum is accessible on a daily basis with a general admission fee of $18.
6. Frost Museum of Science
Location: 1101 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33132
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Admission: Adults (Monday to Thursday – $29.95), Adults (Friday to Sunday – $32.95), Youth 4-11 (Monday to Thursday – $22.95), Youth 4-11 (Friday to Sunday – $24.95), Children Under 3 (Free)
Website: Frost Museum of Science
The Frost Museum of Science, also known as the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, is one of the best museums in Florida for anyone interested in science. It features a planetarium and an aquarium as well as exhibits on flight, natural science, technology, and weather. Hands-on displays make for a fantastic interactive experience for both kids and adults.
Admission varies by age group and by the day of the week. Prices from Monday to Thursday are cheaper than those from Friday to Sunday. Children under the age of three get in for free.
7. Great Explorations Children’s Museum
Location: 1925 4th Street North, St. Petersburg, FL 33704
Hours: Monday to Saturday (10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.), Sunday (12:00 to 4:00 p.m.)
Admission: Children 1-17 ($15), Adults ($12), Seniors ($11)
Website: Great Explorations Children’s Museum
The Great Explorations Children’s Museum is widely regarded as one of the best museums for children in Florida. Its hands-on exhibits, preschool, playground and ropes course, and program center make it popular with kids of all ages. They can explore everything from nutrition to careers to meteorology and more. In addition to all this, the museum offers the Sunken Garden, a historic botanical garden.
This is one of the few places where admission for children is more expensive than for adults. Admission for kids is $15 while admission for adults is $12. The museum also offers memberships.
8. IMAG History and Science Center
Location: 2000 Cranford Avenue, Fort Myers, FL 33916
Hours: Monday (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), Tuesday (Closed), Wednesday to Saturday (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), Sunday (12:00 to 5:00 p.m.)
Admission: General ($19.50), Children 3-18 ($15), Student ($15)
The IMAG History and Science Center is one of the best science museums in the state, presenting Florida’s natural history in more than 60 hands-on exhibits and interactive experiences. Kids and adults alike can explore the Living Lab, Sea-to-See Touch Tank, Fish-Eye Lagoon, Walkthrough History, and more. Visitors can also take in shows like IMAG Live! and 3D Theater.
The museum is open Wednesday through Monday with varying hours. General admission is $19.50.
9. Indian Temple Mound Museum
Location: 139 Miracle Strip Parkway SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Admission: Adults ($5), Seniors/Military ($4.50), Children 4-17 ($3.00), Children 3 And Under (Free)
Website: Indian Temple Mound Museum
In operation since 1962, the Indian Temple Mound Museum is a fascinating exploration of Native American culture over more than 12,000 years. It offers thousands of stone, bone, clay, and shell artifacts as well as prehistoric ceramics. The mound itself – a religious monument as well as a political base and burial ground – currently stands 12 feet tall despite ongoing erosion. A gift shop offers high-quality Native American art and artifact replicas.
Admission to the museum is very reasonable at only $5 for adults and $3 for children. Admission for military members and seniors is $4.50.
10. Kennedy Space Center
Location: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island, FL 32953
Hours: Monday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. OR 6:00 p.m. (depending on peak seasons)
Admission: Adults 12 And Up ($75), Children 3-11 ($65)
Website: Kennedy Space Center
As its name suggests, the Kennedy Space Center is a must-visit destination for space junkies. Much more than just a museum, this is a real space center sending actual spaceships into space. It features both indoor and outdoor aspects including the Rocket Garden, Apollo/Saturn V Center, and a bus tour of nearby launch pads and hangars. Interactive games, training simulations, shows, and glimpses into the possible future colonization of Mars will enthrall kids and adults alike.
The Kennedy Space Center is pricier than most, charging adults $75 and children $65. However, a 2-day ticket only costs adults $89 and children $79, thereby almost halving the daily price. Be aware that closing times fluctuate by an hour depending on the season.
11. Modernism Museum
Location: 145 E 4th Ave, Mount Dora, FL 32757
Hours: Friday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Admission: Adults ($8), Seniors/Students ($7), Children 4-17 ($5)
Website: Modernism Museum
Strangely enough, the Modernism Museum is dedicated to one thing: furniture! Devotees of unique, eclectic, and quirky “functional objects” will love this museum’s exhibits. Some of the pieces were even owned by the famous David Bowie during his lifetime. An informational video on the Memphis art movement of the 1980s and insightful guides provide a wealth of information about the pieces on display.
Admission is very reasonable at $8 for adults and $5 for children. However, the museum is only open Friday to Sunday, so be sure to plan your visit well in advance.
12. Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)
Location: 4801 E Fowler Avenue, Tampa, FL 33617
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Admission: Adults ($14), Children 3-17 ($10), Children 2 And Under (Free)
Also known as MOSI, the Museum of Science and Industry marries the latest and best in STEM with art and design to create a highly interactive environment for learning about science and technology. It features exhibits on physics, paleontology, anatomy, and virtual reality as well as a planetarium. For those with a more active bent, the Sky Trail Ropes Course is a great way to test one’s climbing skills. Be sure to visit the gift shop on the way out for an educational memento of your experience.
Admission is very affordable at only $14 for adults and $10 for children. With daily operating hours, the museum is also highly accessible.
13. Orlando Museum of Art
Location: 2416 North Mills Avenue, Orlando, FL 32803
Hours: Tuesday to Friday (10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.), Saturday to Sunday (12:00 to 4:00 p.m.), Mondays (Closed)
Admission: Adults ($20), Seniors ($12), Students ($10), Children 6-17 ($8), Children 5 And Under (Free)
Website: Orlando Museum of Art (omart.org)
The Orlando Museum of Art is a feast for the art enthusiast in Florida, featuring art from a broad range of time periods including ancient, colonial, and contemporary. One of its most popular collections, American Art, features art from the colonial period to the 1960s. One of the most significant collections of its kind in the US is the Ancient Americas collection, which displays art from the peoples who lived in North, Central, and South America before the arrival of Europeans. In addition to its permanent exhibits, the museum offers a plethora of temporary exhibits sure to excite and educate.
Admission rates for this highly sought-after experience are reasonable at $20 for adults and $8 for children. The museum is open every day except Mondays.
14. Orlando Science Center
Location: 777 East Princeton Street, Orlando, FL 32803
Hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Admission: Adult ($24), Senior/Student ($22), Youth 2-11 ($18), Children Under 2 (Free)
Website: Orlando Science Center
Not to be confused with the Orlando Museum of Art, the Orlando Science Center is dedicated exploring science and natural history. Its fantastic exhibits include a reconstruction of the Florida Everglades, an indoor version of the Florida wilderness, and a planetarium. A number of hands-on exhibits give kids and adults alike a more interactive experience. Besides exhibits, the museum has a theater showing films on topics like history, geography, and science as well as a STEM discovery center.
Admission prices are reasonable and the museum is open daily, making it an accessible experience.
15. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museums
Location: Orlando (8201 International Drive, FL 32819), Panama City Beach (9907 Front Beach Road, FL 32407), St. Augustine (19 San Marco Avenue, FL 32084)
Hours: Varies by city
Admission: Varies by city
Website: Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
A list of Florida’s best museums would be incomplete without a mention of Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. Florida residents and visitors can find a Ripley’s in the cities of Orlando, Panama City Beach, and St. Augustine. These museums are dedicated to the unique, bizarre, and just plain weird phenomena of our world. Common exhibits include artifacts, art, and memorabilia. Believe it or not, everything in Ripley’s is true!
Hours and admission rates vary by city. Visit the above website for links to the Ripley museums in Florida.
16. Salvador Dalí Museum
Location: 1 Dali Boulevard, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Hours: Friday to Wednesday (10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.), Thursday (10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.)
Admission: Adults ($25-29), Discounted Adults ($23-27), Student ($18-20), Youth 6-12 ($10-12), Children Under 6 (Free)
Website: Salvador Dalí Museum
Also known as the Dalí Museum, the Salvador Dalí Museum is a celebration of the life and work of renowned artist Salvador Dalí. His Surrealism is on full display in the largest collection of his works outside of Europe, which boasts 2,400 pieces. This includes paintings, drawing, photographs, book illustrations, sculpted objects, and clothing. Besides its permanent exhibits, the museum also hosts temporary and traveling exhibits as well as its augmented reality program. The Avant Garden, within which is the Dalí wishing tree, is a great place for quiet reflection.
The museum is open daily with extended hours on Thursdays. Admission goes up to $29 for adults but is discounted for some types of visitors.
17. St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum
Location: 12 South Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Admission: [Online Prices] Adults ($17.99), Seniors ($15.99), Children 5-12 ($9.99)
The St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum is exactly what it sounds like: a museum dedicated to pirates! Specifically, it’s an exploration of the Golden Age of Piracy in the 1600s in Port Royal, Jamaica. This treasure trove of a museum transports adults and children alike into the old-time world of piracy with exciting interactive displays and hands-on experiences. Exhibits include artifacts from sunken wrecks, pirate movie props, and the original Jolly Roger.
Admission prices are lower for those who elect to buy tickets online. General admission costs $17.99 while children’s admission costs $9.99. The museum is open daily.
18. Tallahassee Automobile Museum
Location: 6800 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32308
Hours: Monday to Friday (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), Saturday (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), Sunday (11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
Admission: General ($20), Seniors/Military ($17.50), Youth 10-18 ($11.75), Children 5-9 ($8), Children Under 5 (Free)
Website: Tallahassee Automobile Museum
Car enthusiasts will be delighted to learn that the Tallahassee Automobile Museum is entirely dedicated to showcasing classic cars and has been since 1996. Its collection includes over 160 historic automobiles from around the world. In addition to cars, it also displays collections of motorcycles, pedal cars, boats, boat motors, knives, fishing lures, sports memorabilia, adding machines, dolls, Native American artifacts, Batmobiles, and more!
The museum is open daily, though its hours vary. General admission is $20.
19. Tampa Museum of Art
Location: Cornelia Corbett Center, 120 West Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, FL 33602
Hours: Friday to Wednesday (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), Thursday (10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.)
Admission: Adults ($25), Seniors/Military ($15), Children K-12 ($5), Children 6 And Under (Free)
Website: Tampa Museum of Art
The Tampa Museum of Art is a must-see staple of Florida art culture. It features artwork from various periods including antique, contemporary, and modern art. Among its ancient works are Roman, Greek, and Egyptian pieces. One of its most notable permanent offerings is a rotating exhibit of pottery, sculpture, and carvings dating back as far as 600 to 300 BCE. Temporary exhibits feature artwork from artists of numerous backgrounds and styles.
Admission for adults is $25 while children get in for $5 or (for children six and under) for free. The museum is open daily with extended hours on Thursdays.
20. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Location: 3251 South Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33129
Hours: Wednesday to Monday (9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.), Tuesdays (Closed)
Admission: Adults ($25), Children 6-12 ($10), Children 5 And Under (Free)
Website: Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Also known as Villa Vizcaya, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a stunning 10 acres of gorgeous gardens surrounding the former villa of businessman James Deering. This historic landmark sits right on the waterfront of Biscayne Bay, offering breathtaking views. As for the museum itself, it’s home to collections of valuable art, including the furniture from the main house, which dates from the early 1900s.
The museum is open every day except Tuesdays. Admission is $25 for adults and $10 for most children.
Best Overall Museum: Florida Museum of Natural History
Location: University of Florida campus, Gainesville, FL 32611
Hours: Monday to Saturday (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), Sunday (1:00 to 5:00 p.m.)
Admission: Free for permanent exhibits
Website: Florida Museum of Natural History
The 21st and best overall museum on our list is the Florida Museum of Natural History, Florida’s official state-sponsored museum. Visitors can explore everything from prehistoric fossils to tiny life forms in a Florida estuary to Native American culture. With a seemingly endless collection of fascinating artifacts and displays, this is a great place for both kids and adults to educate themselves on the natural history of Florida.
The museum is open daily, though its hours are different on Sundays. Admission is free for the general public for the permanent exhibits, though donations are always accepted. There is a cover charge for the Butterfly Rainforest and special exhibits.
Best Art Museum: John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Location: 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34243
Hours: Friday to Wednesday (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), Thursday (10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.)
Admission: Adult ($25), Senior ($23), Children 6-17 ($5), Children 5 And Under (Free)
Website: The Ringling
Also known as the Ringling, the best art museum on our list is the state art museum of Florida: the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. This culturally vibrant 66-acre complex includes the Art Museum, Circus Museum, Ca’ d’Zan (House of John), and Bayfront Gardens. John Ringling, one of the five famous Ringling brothers, teamed up with his wife Mabel to build the museum in the 1920s. As avid art enthusiasts, they amassed an impressive collection of fine pieces. Today, it showcases many of their personal items as well as original costumes and train cars from the Greatest Show on Earth.
Open daily, this museum is easily accessible with extended hours on Thursdays. General admission is $25, but children get in for only $5 or (for those under the age of five) for free.
Summary of the 22 Best Museums in Florida
|Museum Name||Location||Admission||Known For|
|Air Force Armament Museum||Eglin Air Force Base||Free||Over 29 planes (WWII to present) Gun vault|
|Bass Museum of Art||2100 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach||General ($15), Seniors/Youth ($8), Children Under 6 (Free)||Contemporary art exhibits including paintings, sculptures, design, fashion, and architecture|
|Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art||445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park||General ($6), Seniors ($5), Students ($1), Children Under 12 (Free)||World’s largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany works|
|Edison and Ford Winter Estates||2350 McGregor Boulevard, Fort Myers||Adults ($25), Teens ($20), Children 6-12 ($15), Children 5 And Under (Free)||Home of Thomas Edison and winter home of Henry Ford|
|Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum||907 Whitehead Street, Key West||General ($18), Children 6-12 ($7), Children 5 And Under (Free)||Home of Ernest Hemingway and the descendants of his famous six-toed cat|
|Florida Museum of Natural History||University of Florida campus, Gainesville||Free||Florida’s official state-sponsored museum|
|Frost Museum of Science||1101 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami||Adults (Monday to Thursday – $29.95), Adults (Friday to Sunday – $32.95), Youth 4-11 (Monday to Thursday – $22.95), Youth 4-11 (Friday to Sunday – $24.95), Children Under 3 (Free)||Hands-on exhibits|
|Great Explorations Children’s Museum||1925 4th Street North, St. Petersburg||Children 1-17 ($15), Adults ($12), Seniors ($11)||Child-friendly hands-on exhibits|
|IMAG History and Science Center||2000 Cranford Avenue, Fort Myers||General ($19.50), Children 3-18 ($15), Student ($15)||Hands-on exhibits and interactive experiences|
|Indian Temple Mound Museum||139 Miracle Strip Parkway SE, Fort Walton Beach||Adults ($5), Seniors/Military ($4.50), Children 4-17 ($3.00), Children 3 And Under (Free)||Exploration of Native American culture over the past 12,000 years|
|John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art||5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota||Adult ($25), Senior ($23), Children 6-17 ($5), Children 5 And Under (Free)||Built by John Ringling, one of the five Ringling brothers, and his wife Mable|
|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|
|Modernism Museum||145 E 4th Ave, Mount Dora||Adults ($8), Seniors/Students ($7), Children 4-17 ($5)||Devoted to unique functional objects/furniture|
|Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)||4801 E Fowler Avenue, Tampa||Adults ($14), Children 3-17 ($10), Children 2 And Under (Free)||Highly interactive learning environment across many scientific disciplines|
|Orlando Museum of Art||2416 North Mills Avenue, Orlando||Adults ($20), Seniors ($12), Students ($10), Children 6-17 ($8), Children 5 And Under (Free)||American Art and Art of the Ancient Americas collections|
|Orlando Science Center||777 East Princeton Street, Orlando||Adult ($24), Senior/Student ($22), Youth 2-11 ($18), Children Under 2 (Free)||Wide array of science and natural history exhibits including reconstruction of the Florida Everglades|
|Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museums||Orlando (8201 International Drive, FL 32819), Panama City Beach (9907 Front Beach Road, FL 32407), St. Augustine (19 San Marco Avenue, FL 32084)||Varies by city||Unique and bizarre exhibits and facts|
|Salvador Dalí Museum||1 Dali Boulevard, St. Petersburg||Adults ($25-29), Discounted Adults ($23-27), Student ($18-20), Youth 6-12 ($10-12), Children Under 6 (Free)||Largest collection of Salvador Dalí’s works outside Europe|
|St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum||12 South Castillo Drive, St. Augustine||[Online Prices] Adults ($17.99), Seniors ($15.99), Children 5-12 ($9.99)||An interactive museum dedicated to the Golden Age of Piracy in the 1600s in Port Royal, Jamaica|
|Tallahassee Automobile Museum||6800 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee||General ($20), Seniors/Military ($17.50), Youth 10-18 ($11.75), Children 5-9 ($8), Children Under 5 (Free)||Over 160 classic automobiles|
|Tampa Museum of Art||Cornelia Corbett Center, 120 West Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa||Adults ($25), Seniors/Military ($15), Children K-12 ($5), Children 6 And Under (Free)||Art from various periods including a rotating display of pottery, sculptures, and carvings from 600 to 300 BCE|
|Vizcaya Museum and Gardens||3251 South Miami Avenue, Miami||Adults ($25), Children 6-12 ($10), Children 5 And Under (Free)||Stunning waterfront villa and gardens overlooking Biscayne Bay|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Suncoast Aerials/Shutterstock.com
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