5 Enlightening Places To Visit In Florida

Florida is a beautiful state full of unique natural wonders and cultural hubs. From fascinating museums to nature centers doing important scientific work, there are plenty of enlightening destinations to explore. Whether you're a resident of the sunshine state or are planning a vacation there soon, be sure to check out the five places on this list. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Interesting & Educational Florida Attractions

Organization Location Mission
Miami Children's Museum Miami, FL Enrich the lives of all children by fostering a love of learning through play and enabling children to realize their highest potential
Gumbo Limbo Nature Center Boca Raton, FL Increase public awareness of coastal and marine ecosystems and provide education, conservation, and research
St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum St. Augustine, FL Discover, preserve, present, and keep alive the stories of the naiton's oldest port
Flamingo Gardens Davie, FL Depict, preserve, and provide education about the natural and cultural heritage of South Florida and the Everglades
Holocaust Museum & Cohen Education Center Naples, FL Teach the lessons of the Holocaust to inspire action against bigotry, hatred, and violence

5 Notable Examples of Florida Wildlife

  1. Manatee
  2. Roseate Spoonbill
  3. Bottlenose Dolphin
  4. Loggerhead Turtle
  5. Flying Fish

Timeline of Florida Historical Facts

  • 1513: Juan Ponce de Leon lands north of Cape Canaveral and gives the area the name Florida
  • 1565: St. Augustine is the first permanent European settlement in North America
  • 1570: First citrus groves planted
  • 1763: Treaty of Paris ends French and Indian War, and Spain cedes Florida to Britain
  • 1776–1781: Florida colonies remain loyal to Britain during the American Revolution
  • 1783: Florida returned to Spain in exchange for the Bahamas and Gibraltar
  • 1810: British occupy Pensacola, but are driven out by Andrew Jackson in 1813
  • 1817–1818: First Seminole War
  • 1821: U.S. acquires Florida from Spain
  • 1824: Tallahassee established as territorial capital
  • 1845: Florida becomes a state
  • 1851: Dr. John Gorrie invents mechanical refrigeration
  • 1861–1865: Florida part of Confederacy in Civil War
  • 1885: Rollins College, the oldest college in Florida, founded in Winter Park
  • 1914: World's first scheduled passenger service airline flight from St. Petersburg to Tampa
  • 1937: Amelia Earhart takes off from Miami on fatal round-the-world flight
  • 1944: Sunscreen first developed by Benjamin Green
  • 1950: First rocket launch from Cape Canaveral
  • 1962: Cuban Missile Crisis
  • 1965: Gatorade invented at the University of Florida
  • 1969: Apollo 11 lands on the moon
  • 1971: Disney World opens
  • 2000: Florida becomes major focus in contested Presidential election
  • 2013: 500th anniversary of the arrival of Ponce de Leon

The Residents of Everglades National Park

In Depth

There are a multitude of places to go to in the Sunshine State if you're looking to simply enjoy a day out, from stunning beaches to world-renowned amusement parks. Those craving more intellectually enriching things to do are also in luck, as the state is home to numerous institutions that offer visitors stimulating, meaningful learning experiences. Ranging from museums to heritage sites, the ones included on this list guarantee that both residents and tourists will come away edified. In no particular order, here are five enlightening places to visit in Florida.

For #1 we have Miami Children's Museum. Founded in 1983, M.C.M. works to enrich the lives of children by providing an inclusive environment where they can play, create, and learn together. Its state-of-the-art, 56,500-square-foot facility houses seventeen galleries and two schools, and features programs, activities, and interactive exhibits that give kids opportunities to explore themselves and the world around them. With an emphasis on promoting cultural diversity and helping underserved populations, the museum combines art, culture, science, and early childhood education to engage and strengthen the community.

M.C.M.'s sundry exhibits are designed to inspire kids' curiosities and encourage learning through play. They include a hands-on art gallery, a climbing wall, a two-story sand castle, a construction zone, and a multi-sensory room created for those with special needs. On the education side, the museum offers the Early Childhood Institute, a program for kids between twelve months and five years old, as well as a charter school for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. There are also several outreach programs, which bring playgrounds, art classes, and theatrical productions to community spaces. Support M.C.M. by donating to one of its many initiatives online.

They include a hands-on art gallery, a climbing wall, a two-story sand castle, a construction zone, and a multi-sensory room created for those with special needs.

At #2 is Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. Through research, conservation, and education projects, this Boca Raton institution dedicates itself to the safeguarding of coastal and marine ecosystems. Across its twenty acres, the center provides refuge to various animals and plant life, and works to protect natural resources with the help of staff, volunteers, and its partner organizations. Among its notable features are aquariums, a boardwalk, a butterfly garden, and a rehabilitation facility for sick and injured sea turtles.

Gumbo Limbo offers a diversity of programs taught by educators and biologists, such as talks, guided nature walks, and water-based activities involving canoeing and kayaking. During school breaks, kids and teens can take part in camps that provide hands-on explorations of science and nature topics. To further enlighten the public about crucial environmental issues, the center allows visitors to view its on-site research facility, which presents fieldwork conducted by professors from Florida Atlantic University's Department of Biological Sciences. Help fund Gumbo Limbo's conservation efforts by virtually adopting one of its resident sea turtles.

For #3 we arrive at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum. Comprised of the historic, titular 1874 lighthouse, this nonprofit is devoted to preserving and perpetuating the heritage of the country's oldest seaport. In addition to climbing the 165-foot central tower, visitors can view an assortment of exhibits and archival collections, watch volunteers build wooden boats, attend daily demos, and walk down nature trails. The organization also offers a host of education programs, interactive activities for children, and research and conservation projects, all of which are designed to celebrate and promote the region's maritime culture.

Comprised of the historic, titular 1874 lighthouse, this nonprofit is devoted to preserving and perpetuating the heritage of the country's oldest seaport.

The museum features a permanent collection of over 19,000 items, which span five categories pertaining to the history of the area. Objects on display include pieces of folk art, photographs related to the local fishing industry, boat models, military uniforms and equipment, wartime documents, and more. A portion of the collection is accessible in digital form online. There are also six historic structures on view across the grounds, including the keepers' house, a garage, and a U.S. Coast Guard lookout building from 1941. To assist the organization's preservation and education initiatives, consider joining as a member at your chosen level.

Showing up at #4 is Flamingo Gardens. Featuring a sixty-acre botanical garden and everglades wildlife sanctuary, this organization operates with the goal of promoting and conserving the natural history of South Florida. An expansive repository for endangered flora and fauna, the gardens and sanctuary are home to over 3,000 species of plants, as well as the state's largest collection of native Florida wildlife. Striving to foster environmental awareness, the organization makes these areas available for use in research and education. It also offers adult classes, youth programs, and presentations that engage visitors in the wonders of nature.

Within the sanctuary, visitors can see animals such as alligators, otters, flamingos, panthers, and over 250 wading birds. Among the botanical collection are hundreds of exotic and native trees, as well as seasonal shrubs and flowering plants that draw hummingbirds and butterflies. The centerpiece is a cluster of 200-year-old live oak trees, which surround the historic Wray Home Museum, a building built in 1933 as a weekend retreat for the gardens' founders. The museum is free with admission, and contains significant items connected to Floyd and Jane Wray. Show your support for Flamingo Gardens' cause by ordering a limited edition t-shirt from its site.

Among the botanical collection are hundreds of exotic and native trees, as well as seasonal shrubs and flowering plants that draw hummingbirds and butterflies.

Finally, for #5 we come to the Holocaust Museum and Cohen Education Center. With a focus on presenting illuminating exhibits and education programs, this Naples-based museum is committed to teaching the public about the Holocaust in order to encourage action against bigotry and violence. It is home to a permanent collection of over 1,000 World War II-era artifacts and photographs, many of which were loaned or donated by local survivors and other people with a connection to the events of the period. A bevy of on-site and outreach programs reach over 15,000 students annually, and are designed to raise historical awareness and facilitate social change.

Exploring the events and enduring relevance of the Holocaust, the museum's programs provide learning opportunities to middle and high schoolers through hands-on activities, tours, research, and talks with survivors and liberators. Its library further extends its educational reach, containing memoirs, personal testimonies, and hundreds of pertinent books and films. Another notable feature is a rare, ten-ton railway boxcar displayed outside, which is brought to libraries, schools, and synagogues as a mobile learning resource. If you have any items related to the Holocaust, consider donating them to the museum to ensure history is never forgotten.