The Orange County Regional History Center is a fascinating museum right in the heart of downtown Orlando. A trip up the elevator to the 4th floor brings one back to the very early days of Florida. Tattooed, pierced and adorned with shells the Timucuan Indians were the first the Europeans came in contact with. Today one can find Floridians who are tattooed, pierced and adorned with shells. Sometimes it seems as much as things change they stay the same.
The 4th floor has interesting exhibits on the First Peoples, the European First Contact, Florida Seminoles, Pioneers, and Citrus and Cattle industries. I learned some interesting facts. That no spot in Florida is more than 60 miles from the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean. That many of Florida’s 7,800 lakes are water filled sinkholes such as Lake Eola, Lake Apopka and Lake Conway. And to reduce the mosquito population, hang a dry hallowed gourd to attract mosquito eating Purple Martin birds. Who knew that late 19th century Kissimmee had the Country’s first “Ride-Up” drive through saloon where thirsty cowmen didn’t even have to dismount their horses to buy a drink.
The third floor includes Orange County’s old courtroom (the museum is housed in what was the old court-house). It was educational to see the old style courthouse and see Ted Bundy’s name scratched into the defense table. On this floor there is a transportation section with old train and steamboat exhibits, tourism before Disney, Central Florida through the wars, then Aviation and finally Disney: The Day We Changed.
The second floor had a Road To Modern Orlando Timeline, an extensive African-American Heritage section, and houses the special exhibits gallery and changing exhibits gallery. There were “old school” video games. Pinball machines, Pac -Man and others that were enjoyed by all. Exhibits on Jack Kerouac the famous writer and poet, Orlando Magic, Military, Disney and Tourism.
The museum is easy to reach, right off the I-4 highway, and parking is available in a public parking garage a block away and across the street from the Orlando Public Library. The museum is open Monday – Saturday, 10am -5 pm. and Sunday, noon to 5pm. Admission is $9.00 , seniors (60+), AAA, military and students $7.00, $6.00 for ages 5-12, and free ages 4 and under. It is well worth the trip and all ages will enjoy it.
Art (one half of Travel2some)