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Cracker Country Museum is a fully outdoor museum that is located in the Rainey Building at Florida State Fairgrounds. It is devoted to re creating the life and culture of the pioneers of the late 19th century.
This museum provided an authentic Cracker town and is formed of 13 buildings. These buildings were re located from the other side of Florida and are furnished in typical Cracker style so are redolent of this important part of the history of Florida.
The Cracker people farmed untamed land that had no fences. They rounded up the wild cattle with their cow dogs and ponies. The cattle roamed free and wild over the palmetto prairie.
The ponies were descended from the horses brought to Florida by the Spanish in the 16th century. These ponies were small but wiry and stood only 13 to 15 hands and were light in weight.
An effort is being made to preserve this breed of pony since they were cross bred to provide a larger breed.
The Spanish also introduced the cattle to Florida and they were cross bred with European cattle eventually. Again we almost lost these cattle since they were cross bred with brahman cattle but they are gradually restoring the breed.
Cow dogs were brought to Florida by Hernando de Soto in the mid 16th century; they are a mix of breeds including bulldog and cur. A Cracker community could consist of a church, school house, smoke house, smithy and granary. These and more are represented at this museum.
There is a gift shop that sells items that reflect the era and they include snacks, gifts and home decor items. A visit to this shop rounds the day off nicely and provides you with a memeneto of an interesting day and some snacks to sustain you on your journey back to the " mouse"
Here are some directions to get you from your attractions area:
Traveling west from Orlando via I-4.
Traveling west on I-4 take I-75 southbound to exit #260 and merge RIGHT onto Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Going west, pass the light at U. S. Hwy 301 to the next light which is Orient Road. Make a right at Orient Road. There is a sign for Cracker Country and the State Fairgrounds entrance on the right-hand side, just before Orient Road changes from two lanes to four lanes. Turn right there and check in at the Security Guard gate for entry and once on the Fairgrounds, follow the signs to Cracker Country.
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