Home » The best places to visit in Polk County: top museums and cultural attractions

The best places to visit in Polk County: top museums and cultural attractions

Bok Tower Gardens

Museums and other similar institutions offer visitors an experience seldom offered anywhere else. These places hold objects and materials that carry great cultural, religious, and historical significance, and it helps to visit them once in a while to remind ourselves of the incredible journey that we are on.

If you’re interested in visiting these sites in Polk County, here are our top seven recommendations.

Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College

The Polk Museum of Art (PMOA) is considered one of the top 10 art museums in the entire state of Florida. It is also an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, that’s why it’s easily one of the best-curated art museums anywhere. If these credentials aren’t enough to convince you to visit, then how about this: entrance is absolutely free!

PMOA hosts extensive permanent and rotating art collections while showcasing a meticulously planned schedule of exhibitions and art education programs, making it one of the perfect places to visit for art lovers living or vacationing in Polk County.

Polk County History Center

If you’re interested in knowing the story behind Polk County, then there’s no other place to be than Polk County History Center. The exhibits focus on the rich history and heritage of this Central Florida county through eleven permanent and four temporary family-friendly museum exhibits. The site also hosts tours and workshops for a little variety. There’s also a vast library onsite, perfect for local book lovers.

Explorations V Children’s Museum

For a more kid-centric good time, make sure to visit Downtown Lakeland’s Explorations V Children’s Museum, where the hands-on exhibits and programs are geared toward children up to twelve years of age. The ‘V’ in the museum’s name is actually the Roman numeral five and is meant to represent the five senses.As you can imagine, the exhibits are designed to develop a child’s sense of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch.

Bok Tower Gardens

Bok Tower Gardens is a serene garden and bird sanctuary that never ceases to amaze. Located north of Lake Wales, Florida, the 100-plus hectare site boasts of various sights including a 205-foot tall majestic bell tower, children’s garden, Pine Ridge Trail, Pinewood Estate, and a visitor center – all of which provide ideal backdrops for family get-togethers.

A National Historic Landmark, Bok Tower Gardens provides plenty of fun activities 365 days of the year including daily carillon concerts, bird watching, trail hiking, geocaching, and photography opportunities.

Polk Theatre

A tour of Polk County won’t be complete without a stop at Polk Theatre, the historic vaudeville/movie house in Lakeland where you can watch a variety of entertainment including movies, Broadway plays, and live concerts. A little piece of trivia: The King of Rock and Roll himself, Elvis Presley, once performed here.

Child of the Sun

Also known as the Florida Southern College Architectural District, Child of the Sun represents a group of buildings – thirteen in all – that were designed for the campus by renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Thanks to Wright’s creations, Florida Southern College was voted as “The Most Beautiful Campus in the Nation” by The Princeton Review.

Mayfaire by-the-Lake

What started as a crafts fair on the lawn of the Lakeland Public Library has now grown into one of the largest outdoor art festivals in the state. A constant presence on Sunshine Artist magazine’s prestigious “Best 200 Art Shows” list, Mayfaire by-the-Lake is held on Mother’s Day weekend each year.

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