Museums are the cultural hubs of Lakeland. Whether you’re looking to learn something new about Swan City or plotting a way to spend your Saturday afternoon, here are nine museums to visit in and around Lakeland.
Arts and architecture
Polk Museum of Art, 800 E. Palmetto St., Lakeland | Free
See rotating and permanent exhibits featuring mediums from paintings and photography to quilts and pottery. You can also take gallery tours with docents, Florida Southern College students, or the museum’s curator.
Don’t miss: Works by Polk County students in the George W. Jenkins Student Gallery.
Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center, 840 Johnson Ave., Lakeland | $5-$125
Florida Southern College is the world’s largest single-site collection of works designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Take a self-guided or in-depth tour of his structures, or see photographs and drawings in the Sharp Family Tourism and Education Center.
Don’t miss: The Water Dome, a fountain that was once Wright’s largest water feature.
Don’t miss: A collection of oddities throughout the house, like taxidermied animals.
Lakeland History & Culture Center, 100 Lake Morton Dr., Lakeland | Free
Visit this center inside the Lakeland Public Library’s Main Branch to learn about our city’s past through interactive displays. The current exhibit, “Ties That Bind,” covers the city’s beginning from 1880-1925.
Don’t miss: The Lakeland History Room, where you can research your own family’s past using city archives.
Polk County History Center, 100 E. Main St., Bartow | Free
Our county’s history extends far past its creation in the 1800s. The History Center displays artifacts like a Paleoindian canoe from 1,500 years ago.
Don’t miss: Monthly architectural tours with the center’s curator. He leads the tour in character as E.C. Hosford, who designed the building in 1908.
Mulberry Phosphate Museum, 101 SE 1st St., Mulberry |
Did you know that Mulberry is known as the “phosphate capital of the world?” Dig into the history of mining in the area, plus historic mining towns.
Don’t miss: The Fossil Gallery inside a historic train depot, which features prehistoric fossils of land and sea animals.
Florida Children’s Museum, 600 Bonnet Springs Blvd., Lakeland | $15
Children of all ages can explore this 47,800-sqft facility packed with interactive exhibits. The daily schedule also includes activities like STEM challenges and storytimes.
Don’t miss: The Harrell Family Charities Front Yard, featuring the climbable Blinky the Alligator.
Florida Air Museum, 4075 James C. Ray Dr., Lakeland | $10-$15
Visitors of all ages will enjoy the collection of airplanes from Florida’s long aviation history, and kids will love the family-friendly Discovery Zone.
Don’t miss: Events for families like Story Time and Stuffed Animal Flight School.
Bonnet Springs Park, 400 Bonnet Springs Blvd., Lakeland | Free
Stop upstairs at the Welcome Center to learn about the park’s location as a former rail yard in the Watson Clinic History Gallery. Then, travel across the park to the Nature Center to see what kinds of animals call Florida home.
Don’t miss: Each center’s interactive elements, like the miniature train or the alligator that makes noise.