Located at the University of Florida in Gainesville and open year-round, the Florida Museum of Natural History is one of the nation’s top five natural history museums. It features limited-time-only exhibits, eight permanent exhibits, and several outside areas to discover!
THEIR MISSION: Understanding, preserving and interpreting biological diversity and cultural heritage to ensure their survival for future generations. Using its expertise to advance knowledge, the Florida Museum has been particularly successful at utilizing research collections and making them accessible to diverse audiences, making it "more than just a museum."
Follow the path of water — Florida’s most precious resource — as it flows through northwest Florida habitats, from limestone caves and springs to the Gulf of Mexico.
Hammock Forest - Immerse yourself in a full-scale recreation of a hammock forest, and find more than 50 different plants and animals from high in the trees to the forest floor.
Cave - Experience what it is like to be inside a northwest Florida cave. While exploring, learn about minerals, hydrology, cave life and the fossils in its limestone layers.
Seepage Bog - A life-size bog showcases northwest Florida’s amazing diversity of carnivorous pitcher plants, which thrive in this low-nutrient environment by trapping and digesting insects.
Rivers - Travel back in time along the Apalachicola River to a Native American trading scene set in 1300 A.D., when northwest Florida was a major political and cultural crossroads.
Tidal Marsh & Barrier Islands - Explore the beauty and challenges of northwest Florida’s extensive tidal marshes and barrier islands, where salt-tolerant plants and other residents deal with constantly changing conditions.
At the Florida Museum of Natural History's Northwest Florida Waterways and Wildlife gallery, visitors travel back in time along the Apalachicola River to a Native American trading scene set in 1300 A.D., when northwest Florida was a major political and cultural crossroads. As far back as 5,000 years ago, Florida native people traded over huge distances, importing copper from the Great Lakes region, stone from the Appalachian Piedmont and exporting marine shells, pearls, shark teeth.
Journey through a South Florida estuary and learn why they are one of the richest ecosystems on Earth and how they have supported people for thousands of years, including the powerful Calusa who once controlled all of South Florida.
Mangrove Boardwalk - Stroll through a full-scale mangrove forest and mud flat full of plants, animals, light and sound to explore the nature of these rich coastal ecosystems.
Fishing Heritage - This artifact-rich gallery highlights 6,000 years of fishing along Florida’s Gulf coast, including a 1,000-year-old fishing net and canoe paddle.
Calusa Leader’s House - Enter a palm-thatched building and find yourself in a Calusa leader’s house during a political ceremony in the year 1564.
Native American Legacy Gallery - Get a close-up view of some of the most rare and interesting objects in the Museum’s South Florida archaeology collections, among them a famous 1,000-year-old painting of a woodpecker and other works of art in wood.
Today’s South Florida Indian People - Learn about the vibrant traditions of the Indian people who live in South Florida today—the Seminole and Miccosukee.
People lived and fished on Florida’s Gulf coast long before the first pyramids were built in Egypt. The Calusa built towns, engineered canals and followed complex religious, political and artistic traditions.The artifact-rich Fishing Heritage gallery highlights 6,000 years of fishing along Florida’s Gulf coast, including a 1,000-year-old fishing net and canoe paddle.
page information credit: Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida
photos from the sources listed above, as well as publicly posted online sites with thanks to the contributors