5 Places to Explore in Tallahassee, Florida

by Carrie McLaren with no comments

When you think about Tallahassee, Florida you probably associate it as the state capitol and home to Florida State University. But it is also a city with rich history and great places for exploring the outdoors. And don’t tell your kids, but it is a super place to squeeze in a bit of education too!

Florida Historic Capitol Museum - credit Visit Tallahassee resized

image courtesy of Leon County Tourism/Visit Tallahassee

Here’s a look at some of my family’s favorite places to learn, explore and have fun in Tallahassee –

Tallahassee Automobile and Collectibles Museum

If you love old cars, the Tallahassee Automobile and Collectibles Museum should be tops on your places to see. Located right off of Interstate 10, the museum’s collection features over 140 antique and classic cars on display.

Tallahassee Automobile & Collectibles Museum - Antique Car

From the 1860 horse-drawn funeral hearse reported to have carried Abraham Lincoln to three Batmobiles (two of them being originals), this museum is a car lover’s dream.

And it’s not just cars – the collectibles on display are just as impressive. They have an incredible collection of Barbie dolls on display and the toy cars were a big hit with my kids too.

Tallahassee Automobile & Collectibles Museum - Lincoln Hearse 2

Other collectibles on display include outboard motors, fishing lures, breathtaking pianos, golf balls and a remarkable amount of sports memorabilia.  And don’t miss checking out their collection of arrowheads on display. Pretty incredible stuff!

Museum of Florida History

From a giant mastadon skeleton to vintage Lily Pulitzer dresses on display, the Museum of Florida History documents the Sunshine State’s great history with some pretty incredible exhibits.

Museum of Florida History - Mastadon Skeleton

Learn about the state’s involvement in the Civil War, World War II and check out artifacts from early explorers and settlers of Florida.

I particularly loved spending time learning about the early days of Florida tourism. From the slogans on the sides of orange crates and even a bit of Disney history involved too – I’m a Florida native and really enjoyed learning about my state. There’s also a fantastic kids area complete with dress-up clothes too. My girls had a blast.

Museum of Florida History - Orange Crates

Admission to the museum is free, donations are accepted.

Tallahassee Museum

The Tallahassee Museum is a 52-acre living museum featuring North Florida’s history, wildlife and nature.

Learn about Old Florida at the 1880’s farm with live blacksmith demonstrations and a garden. You can also explore a 1920s red wooden caboose train, an 1890s schoolhouse and Bellevue – the Tallahassee cotton plantation home of George Washington’s grand-niece.

Tallahassee Museum Otters

The museum’s elevated boardwalk allows you to explore animals in their natural surroundings.  Many of the animals at the museum were either raised in captivity or are injured/orphaned individuals rescued by licensed wildlife rehabilitators. Some of the animals include Florida panthers, black bears, white-tailed deer, alligators and wild turkeys. Be sure to admire the cypress trees along the waterfront.

Tallahassee Museum - Boardwalk

For an adventure, check out the park’s Tree to Tree Adventures. Zip line through treetops and the swamps with 19 zip lines and 70 obstacles throughout the course. There are three courses of difficulty – one for every skill level.

Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park

With the first gardens planted in 1923, the beautiful Maclay Gardens State Park is home to canoeing, swimming and kayaking at Lake Hall and over six miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. we saw the Maclay house, open daily for visitors to tour.

Maclay Gardens in Tallahassee - Trails

In the gardens area, make time to walk the brick trail with beautiful flowers along Lake Overstreet and visit the Maclay House – open daily to visitors.

While the gardens are spectacular year-round, if you’d like to visit while the flowers are blooming, park rangers consider January 1-April 1 to be the high blooming season.

Maclay Gardens House - Tallahassee

Florida Historic Capitol Museum 

Restored to its 1902 appearance, the Florida Historic Capitol Museum tells the stories of Florida’s political history with 250 artifacts on display. The building is located within the current day Florida Capitol complex, meaning there are present-day officials doing business in buildings nearby bringing stories full circle.

The Governor’s office and chambers of the House of Representatives, Senate, and Supreme Court are all restored areas in the museum with self-guided and guided tours available for learning about Florida government. We opted for the self-guided tour and enjoyed making our way through history.

Florida Historic Capitol Museum - Interior

They also have a great scavenger hunt booklet for kids, Maggie loved being on the lookout for items throughout the museum.

Admission to the museum is free, yet donations are accepted to support upcoming educational programming. If you can’t visit in person, check out their virtual tours online – super educational!

florida-historic-capitol-museum-exterior-credit-visit-tallahassee

Image courtesy of Leon County Tourism/Visit Tallahassee

Plan Your Visit to Tallahassee, Florida

Tallahassee is a short 2.5 hours from our home here in Jacksonville and I’m determined to make it back there this summer for more exploring (and learning) too. I enjoyed that the attractions weren’t overly crowded and we were free to roam at our own pace. Definitely a relaxing vacation spot for this mama with plenty of indoor and outdoor fun.

Ready to make your way to the Capitol City? Go to www.VisitTallahassee.com and be sure to follow them on Twitter at @Visit_Tally and check out Visit Tallahassee on Facebook.

 

 

** While our visit to Tallahassee, Florida was in partnership with my former role as the VISIT FLORIDA Family Insider – this is an original article. Thoughts and opinions here are my own. ** 

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