Most people think of amusement parks, retirement homes, and shopping when they consider things to do in Central Florida. There is no denying that the perfect weather, casual atmosphere and wide array of accommodations and eateries makes Central Florida attractions all that much more appealing. However, Polk County also offers many historical things to do in Central Florida that capture the rich history of this diverse area.

Step Into An Earlier Age

The Polk County Historical Museum provides an excellent respite from the sun with its extensive collection of fossils, hand-made personal objects, art, clothing, agricultural equipment, communication devices, scientific objects, tools, and military memorabilia. These and other exhibits can add to your understanding of and knowledge about Polk County history while enjoying one of the more popular things to do in Central Florida.

Other popular historical Central Florida attractions include the L.B. Brown House, in Bartow, designed and built by a self-taught carpenter and former slave. It is perhaps the only one of its kind still standing. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the house is a remarkable structure outfitted with Victorian decor and is not to be missed.

Outdoor Historical Attractions

Bok Tower Gardens in Lakes Wales is one of the most popular historic Central Florida attractions. A National Historic Landmark, Bok Tower Gardens offers an array of world-renowned exhibits, vistas, and wildlife for visitors of all ages to enjoy. Amongst the beautiful flowering gardens is an impressive 205 foot neo-Gothic style tower which hosts one of the finest carillons in the world.

Along with Bok Tower Gardens, the Lake Mirror Promenade offers beautiful scenery combined with rich history. An impressive entrance to Lakeland since the 1920s, the Promenade has been meticulously maintained over the years and continues to offer a captivating combination of art and nature.

Other Unique Historical Things To Do In Central Florida

Visitors can experience living history at the Lake Kissimmee State Park where demonstrations of 1876-era cow hunters share the cowboy heritage of the region. Overnight campouts, complete with campfires, bald eagles, wild turkeys, sandhill cranes, and even bobcats can make other Central Florida attractions tame by comparison. There are horse and hiking trails, canoeing and kayaking, playgrounds, boat ramps, and everything else needed to ensure a wonderful vacation in Polk County.

For visitors looking to enjoy history firsthand, the Flywheelers Antique Engine Club may be the stop of choice. Here, members are dedicated to restoring and preserving antique tractors, steam engines, and other labor-saving ‘modern’ devices that are sure to strike a chord with visitors of all ages.

To round out a historical Polk County vacation, who could dare miss exploring the world’s largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture? Twelve buildings were constructed as part of his Child of the Sun project at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, and they remain to this day, a shining example of his vision.

With so many unique historical attractions available to enjoy, Polk County is an ideal choice for visitors looking for beauty, diversity and history.

Chris Harmen writes for the Central Florida Visitors and Convention Bureau, your source for information about things to do in Central Florida and enjoying exciting and relaxing Central Florida attractions.

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