Florida Guide > Other Activities
Orange County Regional History Museum and The Orlando Fire Museum
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE MUSEUM IS NO LONGER OPEN TO VISITORS. WE'VE LEFT THE ARTICLE ONLINE HERE PURELY FOR HISTORICAL PURPOSES
For most visitors to Orlando the history of the area probably commenced when Walt Disney decided to build the first Theme Park. In reality the beginnings of the region can be traced much, much further back.
If you wish to know more about the region then a trip to the Orange County Regional History Museum could be just what you are looking for.
The museum is spread across five floors at 65 E. Central Blvd. in Downtown Orlando, with three floors dedicated to permanent exhibitions. Here you can embark on a journey that takes you back up to 12, 000 years into the history of the region via a series of interactive exhibits that provide visitors and locals alike with hours of entertaining fun.
From the earliest Native American residents of the region and their first encounters with the invading Spanish to a replica WWII B-17 bomber the museum houses a wealth of fascinating sights, sounds and experiences. Learn about the Big Freeze which, in the 1890’s, devastated the new citrus industry, or hear firsthand experiences of life on the cattle range in the 1880’s – Florida was once the largest cattle producer in the USA. Perhaps you want to know more about the 19th Century Seminole Wars or maybe the early 20th century ‘boom and bust’ story is more up your street. It’s all here.
Each Saturday at 11 a. m. the museum holds guided tours, which thanks to the knowledgeable and friendly guides, provide visitors with an entertaining and informative introduction to the extensive collections hosted in the History Centre. Tours last approximately one hour and there are a variety of themed options. These tours are included in the price of general admission which is $7 for adults ($6. 5 – students and Seniors) and $3. 5 for 3 – 12 yr olds. You can save money by visiting their web site and printing off a $2 discount voucher!
Just three miles north of the History Museum is the Orlando Fire Museum. This second museum offers an interesting look into the city's past through the eyes of enthusiastic volunteers and expert fire fighters.
You gain entry to the Fire Museum, located in the magnificent Loch Haven Park, by walking through the Shakespeare Festival Theatre at 814 East Rollins Avenue. As you walk into the restored 1926 Fire Station you are most likely to be greeted by real city firemen who are truly enthusiastic about the museum and its history. These enthusiasts will allow you to browse on your own, or be only too delighted to give you a guided tour if you ask them.
Among the museum’s many amazing and significant artefacts are three pieces of early 20th Century fire fighting apparatus: a 1919 motorized ladder truck, a 1915 motorized fire truck, and a 1911 horse-driven steam engine. Other pieces on display date back as far as the late 19th century and include helmets, lanterns, fire-fighting tools and even unique newspaper clippings about historic city fires.
The Orlando Fire Museum is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a. m. to 2 p. m. with free admission and parking. Loch Haven Park can be found at Princeton Avenue and 17-92 in Orlando.
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