Explore Southwest Florida’s Museums
Take day on your Southwest Florida vacation to check out some of the region’s top museums. Here’s a list of 10 Southwest Florida museums to see.
1. Southwest Florida Museum of History
Located in Fort Myers, the Southwest Florida Museum of History offers an insider’s view into the back story about how the region came to be the area you love. Explore a the roaring twenties on a 1929 Private Pullman Rail Car and see what life was like for the region’s early settlers in an authentic Florida Cracker house. Participate in educational programs like a downtown walking tour. In addition to the permanent exhibits like the railcar and cracker house, you’ll find annual traveling exhibits at the museum, too. Recent traveling exhibits include Beatle’s photography, Treasures of Eden, King Tut and the Roswell Exhibit. The museum can be found at at 2031 Jackson Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901.
2. Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium
Spanning 105 acres, this vast nature center lets you go back in time to when the Calusa inhabited southwest Florida. This is a family friendly destination with something for everyone. Three walking trails let you wander back in time, while other attractions here include a museum, planetarium, butterfly and bird aviaries, and picnic areas. Educational programs let give you an insight into the region’s history of the Calusa and other native peoples, along with live animal shows, a kids laser show and more. The Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium is located at 3450 Oritz Avenue, Fort Myers, FL, 33905.
3. IMAG History and Science Center
The IMAG History and Science Center is among the newest museum offering in Southwest Florida. Explore both history and science under a single roof. Use Virtual Reality goggles to take a trip back in time to the original Fort Myers. Learn about the lost airmen of WWII. The Tanked exhibit lets you see regional Gulf fish in their natural habitat, while the Lost World 3-D movie experience lets you practically walk with dinosaurs. The museum is a great attraction for the region. The IMAG History and Science Center can be found at 2000 Cranford Avenue, Fort Myers, FL, 33916.
4. Edison Ford Museum and Winter Estates
Did you know that Thomas Edison and Henry Ford had neighboring winter estates in Fort Myers? Edison had a botanic laboratory and worked on many inventions during his winters in Southwest Florida. Today you can tour the Edison Ford Winter Estates and learn more about these two American innovators. The estates feature 21 acres of botanical gardens, a botanic research laboratory, and 9 buildings. You’ll also find special tours and exhibits at the estates. The Edison Ford Winter Estates museum is located at 2350 McGregor Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL, 33901.
5. Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida
It was one of the darkest times in recent world history, but it’s important to learn from the past to prevent future atrocity. The Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida honors those who lost their lives while educating visitors. The museum offers education activities and programs to help students and visitors learn about the Holocaust. Here you’ll find artifacts, traveling exhibits, photographs, a lending library, and a memorial to Anne Frank. The Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida is located at 760 Tamiami Trail North, Suite 7, Naples, FL, 34103.
6. Naples Depot Museum
Technology and transportation are always evolving, and the Naples Depot Museum demonstrates this in its exhibits. The museum is housed in the restored Seaboard Air Line Railway station. The station use used in the 1920s and features some of the opulence of the era. You’ll find quite a few interactive exhibits explaining the how travel has advanced throughout Southwest and South Florida. The Naples Train Museum is also located within the Naples Depot Museum. The Naples Depot Museum is located at 1051 5th Avenue South, Naples, FL, 34102.
7. Mound House
Located on Estero Island, Mound House is the island’s oldest standing structure. It has been restored to its 1921 glory, with era appropriate furnishings and more. The house is called Mound House because it sits atop a 2,000 Calusa Indian Mound. Today the restored house serves as a cultural learning center. Programs offered at Mound House range from guided home tours to kayak tours. You will find Mound House located at 451 Connecticut Street, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931.
8. Baker Museum
The Baker Museum is a famous institution in Naples. Home to 15 galleries, the museum features modern and contemporary fine art. The museum hosts a lecture series, which brings notable speakers to the region. Partner events with the Naples Philharmonic and other local favorites make the Baker Museum a celebrated part of the community. The Baker Museum is located at 5833 Pelican Bay Boulevard, Naples, FL, 34108.
9. The Revs Institute
Rev up your engine and make a trip to The Revs Institute part of your Southwest Florida experience. Here you’ll take a walk through automotive history. The Revs Institute museum consists of 3 floors of cars, with more than 100 restored cars dating back from 1896 to as recent as 1995. People from around the world visit The Revs Institute, so it might be wise to purchase tickets in advance of your visit. The Revs Institute is located at 2500 South Horseshoe Drive, Naples, FL, 34104.
10. Immokalee Pioneer Museum
Immokalee history dates back all the way to the era of the Calusa Indians, but cattle ranchers really put the place on the map. This Collier County museum is was originally the home of famed rancher Robert Roberts and is the oldest working cattle ranch in South Florida. The Museum is a 13-acre historic site with 15 carefully preserved original buildings. At the Immokalee Pioneer Museum you’ll be presented with an opportunity to experience an early pioneer homestead, cattle ranch and citrus grove. You’ll find the museum about 45 miles east of Naples at 1215 Roberts Avenue, Immokalee, FL, 34142.
Which of these 10 Southwest Florida Museums are you most excited about visiting? Make learning and fun part of your Gulf Coast vacation by spending a day at the museum.