The Best Museums in Orlando Florida
We all know that Orlando, Florida, is a destination that exudes magic and innovation, where your imagination can take route, and your body can take flight on one-of-a-kind adventure Orlandres and attractions. Many people don't realize that Orlando is now also an art and cultural center. They have over 12,000 years of history, including indigenous settlers, African-American trailblazers, artistic leaders, and much more notable history. Today's Orlando offers a variety of museums and galleries that any art or history buff will love.
Florida is becoming known for its growing and diverse collection of galleries, museums, and cultural institutions. Don't overlook the opportunity to experience and learn about Orlando's museums and the bustling and very well-respected arts and museum community.
Take time to explore our past or just immerse yourself in beautiful paintings and culture. Explore some of the family-friendly options designed for children to play and learn. We'll take you through the best museums in Orlando.
Art Galleries and Museums in Orlando
Exploring Orlando museums and the arts in Orlando has never been more exciting or more rewarding. The art scene is blossoming, and the area is proudly home to some of the finest collections of American, Ancient, European, and other art in the South. View the most extensive collection of work by Tiffany or see ancient artifacts from our great past. Check-in on the local and regional scene with exhibits and galleries that are there for browsing.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum - Start your tour with the venerable Cornell Fine Arts Museum located at Rollins College in Winter Park. Admission to this museum is always free, and you can take a short walk over to The Alfond Inn, which Rollins also operates to view their hotel's public spaces that feature The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art, which is a curated, rotating exhibit of pieces from the museum's collection and is also free.
The Museum’s collection includes over 5,600 objects, including everything from ancient artifacts to contemporary art. This art-lovers paradise is full of delightful and surprising pieces and is a must-see. It is the only teaching museum in Orlando. Visitors will see the works from Ancient to European and can see portraits from Louis-Michel van Loo and over 300 pieces in various media from international artists. Take advantage of free admission, play stations, tours, and don't overlook the picturesque architecture. This is one of the best museums in Orlando.
You'll be just a few steps away from the outdoor cates and shopping of Winter Park Avenue, so plan to make a day of it.
Orlando Museum of Art - This is one of Central Florida's cultural highpoints and one of the most popular of all Orlando museums. Located in the Mills 50 District in lovely Loch Haven Park, it is nestled among ancient oaks and lush lawns, the perfect place for a picnic. They rotate 10 -12 on-site exhibitions annually and offer gallery tours, lectures, and more.
Recently the works of children's book author-illustrator Eric Rohmann was displayed along with an exhibition that had work spanning over 200 years. You may be lucky enough to catch Orlando's Original Art Party the first Thursday of every month from 6-9 pm with a cash bar and treats from local cafes. Read more about the Orlando Museum Of Art here.
Mennello Museum of American Art - This is another gem located in Orlando's Loch Haven Park. The Mennello Museum is located in what was a private home which presents an intimate space within which to share a wide range of art. It features the art of all genres and houses the permanent collection of paintings by "primitive" artist Earl Cunningham (1893-1977).
The grounds feature a lakeside sculpture garden where they host the annual Orlando Folk Festival during the second week of February. They have a full calendar of events for kids and adults. Check them out! The sculpture garden is always free, and you'll see a 350-year-old sprawling oak tree draped with Spanish moss that is known as "The Mayor." See their website for the current Exhibition Schedule.
Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art - This is one of the finest museums in the Orlando area. Located amongst charming boutiques and cafes on the streets of Winter Park, the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art is home to the most comprehensive collection of Loius Comfort Tiffany's work. You'll see the designer's jewelry, leaded-glass lamps, and his chapel interior from the 1893 World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago. Check out his pottery and painting, and exhibits of American Art Pottery, Art Nouveau furnishings, and late 19th- and 20th- century paintings, and more.
A real treat for holiday visitors is the Christmas tradition of kicking off the season by lighting up Tiffany windows in Central Park to the seasonal sounds presented by the Bach Festival Choir and Brass Ensemble. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Albin Polasek Museum and Gardens - Just 20 minutes from International Drive sits the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Garden. The award-winning Czech-born sculptor Albin Polasek emigrated to the US and created more than 400 works of art, half of which are on view here. This was formerly his home and is located on Lake Osceola amid gorgeous grounds. Take a guided tour through the 3-acre sculpture gardens, get quiet in the chapel or meander along the paths. They are closed on Monday.
Orlando, the epicenter of entertainment, offers up history and art in a family-friendly entertaining way. The Skeleton Museum and Madame Tussaud's are just two of the specialty museums you can explore.
Skeletons: Museum of Osteology - Located at ICON Park, the Skeleton Museum lets visitors view over 500 real animal skeletons in over 40 exhibits. The vertebrates are shown in displays that mimic their natural habitat and educate visitors on the wonder of the animal kingdom while raising awareness of conservation.
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum - Also located in ICON Park is the famed Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. The ultimate selfie opportunity presents when you are in a room with the likes of Oprah, Lady Gaga, and Shaq. The exhibit has numerous rooms, political figures, sports figures, and superheroes. They are beautifully themed, and some have music or interactive props. Stick around ICON Park after your visit for more fun and munchies.
Orlando is a mecca for history buffs with plenty of opportunities to experience living history from the Holocaust Museum, Military History Museum, various WW2 sites, and Fort Christmas. Get outside and learn.
The Holocaust Museum and Education Center - The Holocaust Museum is close to Winter Park and about 30 minutes north of International Drive. It teaches about the past and the future and focuses on anti-Semitism and all forms of prejudice. A unique exhibit allows you to put on Oculus glasses and take a powerful virtual reality experience that takes you to the secret annex where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis. The museum is full of relevant and poignant exhibits and features programming that looks at historical and relevant topics. This one is worth it. Find more about Top Rated Kosher Villa Accomodations in Orlando.
Museum of Military History - Just 10 minutes from Walt Disney World Resort sits the Museum of Military History. Active duty, vets, or even military and history buffs will appreciate a visit here. Their interactive and interpretive exhibits showcase artifacts of service and past wars and the soldiers' experience. The staff of veterans is engaging and interesting and there to provide additional insight. Exhibits highlight conflicts, equipment, personal effects, and much more. This is a wealth of world history and a tribute to those who serve and have served.
Orange Country Regional History Center - This museum, located in a historic 1927 county courthouse, is in the heart of downtown Orlando. It follows 12,000 years of local history through its 3-floor permanent collections. You'll start with the region's prehistoric past, see it evolve into an Indian settlement, citrus and cattle town, and to our current metropolis. They also host national exhibitions and a complete program of events for children and adults. It also encompasses Heritage Square Park, a beautiful outdoor space for enjoying artwork and people-watching.
Fort Christmas Historical Park - This one is especially for the history buffs. It is located just 20 miles east of Orlando but is an easy stop on the way to Kennedy Space Center, so why not visit both? It has many gorgeous features like massive shade trees, excellent hiking trails, and a well-maintained playground with rentable picnic pavilions. But the main attraction is a full-sized replica of a fort constructed in 1837, built during the Seminil Indian War, which was fought 1835-1842. You'll see films and exhibits and seven restored "cracker" homes representing the area's architecture back in the 1870s to 1939's. This is a great outdoor venue with a fun learning opportunity.
Museums Where Children Can Play
Orlando Science Center - For a day of fun and science, check out the Orlando Science Center. The Center's exhibit hall has an array of interactive experiences, from earthly explorations in natural science to high-tech simulation. Kids will explore, experiment, and discover. Experience roof-shattering Category 1 Hurricane winds, get up close with Florida's native alligators or view the Rings of Saturn through Florida's largest public refractor telescope. Self-parking is available.
Explorations V Children's Museum - Hop in the car and head over to Lakeland, a short drive away. Explorations V offers three floors of exhibits meant to celebrate the five senses. This is an interactive children's museum geared toward preschool and elementary students and features activities on water conservation, the human body, and space exploration. Role-playing at the on-site bank, news station, and grocery store makes for educational fun.
Picking the Best Museums in Orlando for You
The Orlando museum scene is robust and varied. The traditional art enthusiast is sure to find pieces to fascinate and intrigue, while the history buffs will appreciate the chance to learn more about the past. The kids will always be happy to interact and explore one-on-one. Be sure to enrich your visit to Orlando with a visit to at least some of the best museums in Orlando.