Tallahassee history weaves a fascinating story that spans prehistoric Native American sites to Space Age exploration and includes the most significant museums that portray Florida’s contributions to American history.
History & Heritage
On the National Register of Historic Places, Bradley’s Country Store has been owned and operated by the same family since 1927. Known for its homemade sausages, stone ground grits and a picturesque setting on a canopy road. Open Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 12:30-4:30 p.m. FREE.
Explore Florida’s history and heritage through historical records and archival collections including the Spanish land grants, private manuscripts, photographs and other historically significant records. Open Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. FREE.
Situated in the heart of Midtown, this 1830s plantation boasts 20 structures and is situated on 16 acres of gardens and lawns. Open Tuesday-Friday10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission: tours of the grounds are free, Main House tours offered Tuesday-Friday at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.. Admission $12 adults, $6 children ages 3-12 and $10 seniors.
This is the site of the first North American Christmas celebration and the only confirmed De Soto expedition site in the United States. The Hernando De Soto expedition camped here from 1539-1540, during its first winter in North America. Located at the Governor Martin House, Open daily during daylight hours. FREE.
Restored to its 1902 appearance, with stained glass dome and candy-striped awnings, this building houses the Florida Legislative Research Center and Museum, former House and Senate Chambers, Supreme Court, Governor’s Suite and features Florida memorabilia and special exhibits.
The house was built in 1890 on the outskirts of the historic Smokey Hollow neighborhood by John G. Riley, civic leader and Lincoln High School principal. The house has been restored and is a museum honoring Riley and other prominent African American leaders. Open Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission: $2 for adults, $1 for children under age of 12 and Leon County School Students are free.
In the late 1600s Mission San Luis de Apalachee was the western capital of the Spanish Mission system in Florida. This National Historic Landmark is the only reconstructed Spanish Mission in Florida offering artifacts uncovered at the original site, costumed living history interpreters, hands-on exhibits and re-created period buildings. Open Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission: $5 for adults; $3 seniors (65 and over); $2 children (6-17); Active Duty Military FREE with ID.
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.
The Battle of Natural Bridge took place in March 1865. Union forces, including two regiments of U.S. Colored Troops, landed near the St. Marks Lighthouse hoping to capture Tallahassee. The advance was halted by the Confederates and the Union troops retreated to the coast. The Battle of Natural Bridge Reenactment is held annually in March. Open daily from 8 a.m.-sundown. Admission: $3 per vehicle and $2 for pedestrians and cyclists.
Tallahassee’s first public cemetery served as the burial place for both Blacks and whites as early as 1829, but laws at the time required Blacks be buried in the western half of the cemetery. Thomas Van Renssaler Gibbs (Reconstruction legislator and educator), James Page (founder of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church) and John G. Riley (noted educator) are buried here. After 1937 most African Americans were buried in Greenwood Cemetery. Open every day from sunrise to sunset. FREE.
Features more than 140 rare and diverse vehicles including an 1894 Duryea, one of the oldest automobiles manufactured in the US; the 1860 horse-drawn funeral hearse reported to have carried Abraham Lincoln and three Batmobiles. Other collections include antique boat motors, Native American artifacts, sports memorabilia, motorbikes, pedal cars, case knives, antique brass cash registers and more. Open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and noon- 5p.m. Sunday.
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.
Built in 1894, this historic home is listed under the register of historic places. It now houses a museum celebrating the rich heritage of the Taylor, Casanas, Howell and Alexander families, the Frenchtown community and the civil rights movement. Open Wednesday– Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free