The Florida Museum of Natural History has been around for over 100 years. It was first chartered by the Florida state legislature in 1917 as the official natural history museum of the state. 

The museum has been going strong ever since then. 

Today, the Florida Museum of Natural History attracts thousands of visitors each year. It is considered by many to be one of the top natural history museums in the entire country. And, with its partnership through the University of Florida, the museum has a vast collection of research items to help further the goals of the museums. 

In this post, we’re going to explore what’s happening at the museum and what you should see while you’re spending time there. 

Let’s take a look.


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Museo de Historia Natural. Fl

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The museum has several permanent exhibits always on display. These include the Discovery Zone which is great for kids to get hands-on and Florida Fossils where you can explore fossils that are millions of years old. There are also exhibits that feature the history of the people of Florida as well, especially the Native American tribes that first lived in and developed this area. 

One of the biggest draws is the Butterfly Rainforest. Visitors can wander through the garden and experience hundreds of butterflies in their natural environment. Stay still enough, and some might want to come over and say hello! 

There are also a number of limited time exhibits available to check out at the museum too. Many of these will run on yearly cycles that correspond with changing seasons. While most of these limited time exhibits are free, some will require admission fees to get in. 

The fun doesn’t stop once you leave the museum either. There are a few exhibits located outside that encourage visitors to spend more time exploring the natural world outdoors. These include some walking trails and a fossil plant garden. 

Hours and Admission

The museum is open year-round closing only on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. The hours are from 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday and from 1 pm to 5 pm on Sundays.

General admission to the permanent exhibits is free. And for visitors who want to enjoy the Butterfly Rainforest and some featured limited exhibits, there are additional fees. Discounts are available for seniors, Florida residents, and students.  

Getting There

Gainesville, Florida, USA downtown cityscape at dusk.

You’ll find the Florida Museum of Natural History near downtown Gainsville, Florida. It’s just steps away from the campus of the University of Florida and not far off Interstate 75, which runs the length of the state, making it easy for road trippers to reach. 

The museum is less than a two-hour drive from Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville. It’s an excellent spot for a day or weekend trip. If you need help finding affordable hotel reservations, our sister site can help you. 

If you’re spending any time in Gainsville be sure to devote a few hours exploring the museum, you won’t want to miss it!