Show and Tell: Museums and Attractions

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Gulfport Historical Museum, 5301 28th Ave. S., Gulfport (727-327-0505). This quaint museum reflects the history of Gulfport from 1867 to 1940. Hours are 2 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

Heritage Village, 11909 125th St. N., Largo (727-582-2123). This 21-acre, open-air park features 23 historical structures reflecting turn-of-the-century lifestyles of Pinellas pioneers. An archive library contains over 2,000 volumes, along with photos, maps and other materials. Docents in period costumes also offer tours and demonstrate embroidery, basket making, quilting, weaving and more. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission's free, but donations are accepted.

Henry B. Plant Museum, located on the UT campus, 401 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa (813-254-1891). A National Historic Landmark, the museum's housed in what was once the Tampa Bay Hotel. Simple Pleasures: America's Love of Pond Yachts continues through Dec. 23. The museum also houses a permanent Spanish American War exhibit and mementos from Teddy Roosevelt's frequent visits. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission costs $5.

Koreshan State Historic Site, U.S. 41 at Corkscrew Road (Exit 19), Estero (941-992-0311). Before Texas had David, Chicago had Dr. Cyrus Teed. In 1869, Teed had a revelation that he was the Messiah. In 1894, having already changed his name to Koresh, Teed led his wealthy followers to Estero. While the group didn't create the New Jerusalem, they did manage a self-contained community. Today, the community stands as a testament to one man's religious dementia. Hours are 8 a.m. to sunset, and tours are offered on weekends. Admission is $3.25 per vehicle, tours cost $1; canoes and campsites are also available.

Pioneer Florida Museum, Pioneer Museum Road, off U.S. 301 North, Dade City (352-567-0262). Life doesn't seem so hard after visiting this museum, which depicts how the pioneering folk of Florida's past lived. Items on display include tools, tools and ... oh yeah, tools (for house and furniture building, leather and blacksmith trades, etc.). Hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults.

Safety Harbor Museum of Regional History, 329 S. Bayshore Blvd., Safety Harbor (727-726-1668). This museum's collection of historic memorabilia and archaeological artifacts promotes Safety Harbor's rich heritage. It also offers summer camps for kids ages 7 to 11. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $2 for adults.

Seminole Lodge, 2350 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers (941-334-7419). This two-story house was the winter home of inventor Thomas Edison. Sitting on 14 acres, the grounds include a connected guest house, acres of lush gardens, a bamboo pool and, of course, a laboratory. The lodge is almost exactly as Edison left it (even the light bulbs installed by the inventor years ago are still operational). Hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission costs $11 for adults.

St. Petersburg Museum of History, 335 Second Ave. N.E. (on The Pier approach), St. Petersburg (727-894-1052). Originally founded in the 1920s, the museum's permanent displays include History and Prehistory of the Pinellas Peninsula and The Flight of the Benoist, with a replica of the Benoist aircraft that started passenger aviation. Capturing Florida Culture: From Kitsch to Collectibles also continues through Sept. 30. Admission is $5 for adults, and hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Tampa Bay History Center, 225 S. Franklin St., Tampa (813-228-0097). The center houses a collection of artifacts, books, maps and more on Tampa Bay history. Guests can learn about the Bay area's natural environment, Seminole Indians, European exploration, the cracker cattle trade and military history. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission's free, donations are welcome.

Veterans Memorial Museum and Park, 3602 U.S. 301 N., at the Tampa Bypass Canal, Tampa (813-744-5502). This tribute to America's fighting men and women offers a walk through military history, starting in the 1500s and going through Desert Storm. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission's free, but donations are accepted.

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