An online search of top things to do in Tallahassee is to visit the kid-friendly Tallahassee Museum. The city has a lot of museums and my itinerary was already riddled with many of them, but the reviews insisted on making this a must-see attraction. So I went. What this Southern TravelingMom found was that simply calling this place the Tallahassee Museum does not begin to encompass the awesome offerings you will find here. Let’s see what you think!
The Kid-Friendly Tallahassee Museum
The Tallahassee Museum is one of several highly recommended museums in the capital city of Florida. I have to admit that I was expecting a piece of Florida history and artifacts in glass cases and typical museum-curated pieces, but that was not the case. Prepare to be wowed as you enter this mostly outdoor slice of education right in the midst of the city. This is not just a museum but a city landmark with living exhibits!
No Ordinary Museum Here
My biggest surprise was the animals. Had I known about them in the first place, the kid-friendly Tallahassee Museum may have been at the top of my to-do list.
The museum is a natural habitat zoo, housing adorably cute Red River hogs for a limited time. Other animals to admire are owls, red wolf, bears, a Florida panther, gator, deer, bald eagle, river otters, grey foxes, and many ducks.
I enjoyed watching the black bears go about their day, not even paying a bit of attention to me taking photos of them. The walk to visit the animals is on a boardwalk surrounded by fencing, so you are definitely up close and personal. Of course, the big cats were playing and having a grand time. I could have watched them for hours.
Meandering the Beautiful Outdoors
Visual displays of photogenic nature are abundant on the half-mile Nature Trail loop as you wander live oak trees and a longleaf pine forest. The air smells fabulous!
At the gorgeous Lake Hiawatha, you’ll be amazed at the edgy bald cypress and oak trees, pretty enough to be on a postcard. I couldn’t resist snapping up dozens of photos. My tour guide and I saw plenty of birds, turtles, and lizards on our walk. The McGowen Butterly Garden houses all stages in the lives of a cocoon/butterfly.
Nearly everything you can do at the Tallahassee Museum is hands-on. They get it—kids and adults both want to touch and learn using their hands.
Girl/boy scouting groups and school field trips are plentiful at the Tallahassee Museum as well as their night time after hours adventures and overnight campouts.
Weekend Activities Reign Supreme
Weekend offerings let you get up close and personal with living history at the 19th century Big Bend farms exhibits. Experience timeless activities such as quilting, spinning, gardening, blacksmithing, and cooking. Candle dipping would be the one thing I would be anxious to see.
Exercise your heart out at the Tallahassee Museum. From a large playground to canopy tours and a popular zipline activity, there are many ways to test your physical endurance while having fun. The museum has three courses to choose from (TREEmendous, Canopy Crossing, and Soaring Cypress) which leave you dangling 62″ from the ground via ropes or one of the 19 zip lines.
Be sure to visit the nature trails that often wind around the spectacular little gardens on the property. Closed toed shoes are a must for these activities so plan accordingly.
Four restored historic buildings see as places to learn, imagine, play, and explore at the Tallahassee Museum. I’m a big fan of living history so this part fascinated me. A Seaboard Airline Caboose, Bellevue Plantation, and the Concord Schoolhouse were some of the exhibits to wander through. Here you may have a look at what these settings looked like years ago, again, with hands-on exhibits offered.
Dinosaurs on Parade
My favorite part of the Tallahassee Museum was the collection of larger-than-life twentieth-century dinosaurs that artist Jim Gary has scattered through the grounds. Each of the twenty-one pieces is created from salvaged auto parts and painted vivid colors that stand out as much as they fit in the scenery. See how many you can name without reading the title cards. They took me right back to what I learned from dinosaur history in the second grade.
Things You Should Know About the Tallahassee Museum
How long should you allow for a visit to the Tallahassee Museum? I think two to three hours should be ample; more if you choose to have lunch at the Trail Break Café. Choose from fresh salads, shrimp wraps, BBQ or Cuban pork, burgers, club sandwiches, or several vegetarian options.
Of course, the kid-friendly Tallahassee Museum has an attractive children’s menu. This is also a pretty clever place to host a birthday party, reunion, or corporate function. Weddings are also popular events. It is outdoors, so remember to bring and wear your sunscreen and insect repellent.
You will have plenty to see in the 52-acre museum to keep you and your family occupied. What greater way to spend the day with your kids than with them learning while getting a hefty dose of fresh air and outdoor life?