Since its earliest days, Tallahassee offered sites for exploration and discovery. Today, these include opportunities for hands-on activities and out-of-this-world experiences – from Native Americans and Spanish Conquistadors, to pioneers, scientists and astronauts.
In downtown Tallahassee, check out “Mission Control” and the Space Station laboratory at The Challenger Learning Center. The five-story Planetarium also brings the night sky to life for those who reach for the stars. After this interactive adventure, kick back and relax with a soda and popcorn while experiencing at the IMAX and IMAX 3D Theater. Visit challengertlh.com for planetarium and IMAX times and admission prices. Space Mission Simulator open to the public the second Saturday of the month, registration required.
Opened in 1977 as the state’s history museum, it houses exhibits and artifacts covering Florida’s history and prehistory. More than 40,000 artifacts and permanent exhibits span periods from the prehistoric mastodon to the Space Age. The newest exhibit, Phase II of Forever Changed, chronicles a dynamic period in history - from the meeting and interaction of vastly different native and European cultures to Florida's adoption as a United States territory and eventually a state.
One of the world's largest and strongest magnets can be found and viewed at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory ("The Mag Lab") at Florida State University. The magnet produces a magnetic field 1 million times stronger than the Earth's magnetic field. Tours offered by appointment only. FREE.
The museum boasts 52 acres which include: native wildlife habitats, Tree-to-Tree Adventures an outdoor zip line and adventure course, historic buildings and educational exhibits. The Tallahassee Museum features the restored Bellevue mansion with an attached kitchen and slave cabin as well as a one-room schoolhouse used by former slaves. It is also one of the few museums in the nation that combines a natural habitat zoo of indigenous wildlife, a collection of more than 14 historic buildings and artifacts, and an environmental center on a 52 acre lakeside setting. Open Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and Sunday 12:30-5 p.m.
Short Drive Away
Take a relaxing ride down the Chipola River or as locals call it, Bear Paw. Canoes, kayaks and tubes available, the trek down the river takes about 3.5-4 hours. Finish off the adventure with the zip-line tour and a fantastic hotdog and soda. Open every day at 8 a.m., for rental prices visit bearpawescapes.com.
Visit nearby Marianna to marvel at the stalactites and stalagmites at the only Florida state park offering cave tours. Cave tours are not offered on Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission: Park entry $5 per vehicle, $2 pedestrians and bicyclist; Cave tours additional $8 ages 13 and older, $5 children ages 2-12.