Are you looking to spend your summer vacation close to home? About four hours northwest of the Tampa Bay area is Tallahassee, Florida’s State Capital.

Most people think of state politics and Florida State University (FSU) when Tallahassee comes to mind, but there is so much more to the city and surrounding area for the entire family to enjoy.

Whether you are a nature lover, thrill seeker or a history buff, you will find something nearby to make this an exciting trip.

For history buffs and those that want to learn about Florida’s political history, visit the Florida Historic Capitol Museum. The Historic Capitol has symbolized Florida state government since 1845. Restored to its 1902 appearance, it stands as an icon at the center of Florida’s Capitol complex; the modern-day nerve center of Florida’s government.

Visitors experience the people and events that have shaped the state through photos, recordings and audiovisual displays. Together with exhibit panels, photographs, and interactive multimedia, the museum offers a journey through the colorful history of government in Florida. The complex is located at 400 S. Monroe St. Visit

If you have piqued your child’s interest in politics, consider a tour of the present day Capitol, which is open to the public on weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday to Friday. For inquiries about tours, call 850-488-6167. Tours are scheduled on a first come, first serve basis.
Unlike most museums you will encounter, the Tallahassee Museum offers both indoor and outdoor exhibits on 52 acres of breathtaking Florida flora and fauna. A landmark for more than 50 years, it is ranked as one of the top state museums.

All ages will enjoy the Museum’s living exhibits of native wildlife, nature trails, and native gardens. It is home to 14 historic buildings immersing visitors in 19th-century experiences allowing you to discover the history and lifestyles of southern communities. During weekends, the 1880s Big Bend farm is alive with hands-on demonstrations of the past.

If you need a little more adventure, explore Tallahassee from the tree tops while ziplining. Tallahassee Tree to Tree Adventures allows you to soar through cypress swamps, and conquer aerial games and obstacles on one of the courses at the Tallahassee Museum. Visit

The museum is located at 3945 Museum Dr. in Tallahassee. It is open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. Visit

The Tallahassee Automobile Museum features over 160 rare, historic, and unique automobiles from all over the world. The collection includes such rare automobiles such as the first one designed by the Duryea brothers in 1894 and Abraham Lincoln’s horse-drawn hearse.
But it is not just a museum of automobiles. It also features a knife exhibit, boats, sports memorabilia, dolls, Native American artifacts, Steinway pianos, a general store exhibit and much more.

The museum, located at 6800 Mahan Dr. in Tallahassee, is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Visit

A visit to the National Historic Landmark Mission San Luis transports you back to 1703, where you can escape to another time. Your destination is a community where Apalachee Indians and newcomers from Spain lived together.

Hear the ring of the blacksmith’s hammer, smell traditional foods being cooked over an open fire, and walk the plaza where the Apalachees played their traditional ball games. Experience the largest historic-period Indian building found in the Southeast and greet the friar at the church. Learn about a soldier’s life at the fort, and explore 300-year-old artifacts excavated onsite. Enjoy the beautiful outdoor setting with a picnic lunch or nature walk. Visit

The Goodwood Museum and Gardens is on the National Register of history places. It is a former cotton plantation with 20 structures dating back from 1835 to 1925 featuring original family furniture and belongings.

General admission for adults is $12, but the grounds are free and open to the public during museum hours of operation, which is Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Visit

Don’t forget about Florida State University. Tallahassee and the University have been linked since 1850. The FSU campus is beautiful and taking a stroll is an enjoyable way to spend a few hours, and who knows, your younger student could fall in love and want to return. ‘There’s Nole place like home.’

For more information, go to

Next month, learn about the natural wonders in and around Tallahassee.

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Michelle Colesanti
Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.