Native Americans
Things to See & Do in Florida
Hontoon Island State Park
This island, located in the St. Johns River in Volusia County, welcomes visitors to enjoy nature and history in quiet solitude. The island is accessible only by private boat or park ferry. Evidence of Native American habitation over thousands of years can be witnessed as visitors hike through the park. Stop in and walk through the impressive visitor center to learn more about the many inhabitants and uses of Hontoon Island over the years. Boating, canoeing, and fishing are popular activities and canoe rentals are available. Picnic areas include tables, grills, and a playground.
Pensacola Historical Museum
The Museum has been a part of downtown Pensacola for over thirty years. In that time, the Museum has moved from Old Christ Church to the Arbona Building. Many visitors who remember coming into the Museum in Old Christ Church bring their younger generations to the new Museum in the Arbona Building. The Museum houses two floors of exhibit space. The first floor is dedicated to our changing exhibits. The second floor of the Museum houses our permanent galleries, including Army/Navy Gallery, Maritime Gallery, Multicultural Gallery, Native American Gallery, and Forts/Civil War Gallery. The Museum also has a Museum Store full of those hard to find local publications.
De Leon Springs State Park
Native Americans visited and used these springs as long as 6,000 years ago. In the early 1800s, settlers built sugar and cotton plantations that were sacked by Seminole Indians during the Second Seminole War. By the 1880s the springs had become a winter resort, and tourists were promised "a fountain of youth impregnated with a deliciously healthy combination of soda and sulphur." The swimming area is adjacent to a beautiful, shady picnic ground. Canoe, kayak and paddleboat rentals are available for a paddling tour of the spring and spring run.
Bulow Plantation Ruins State Historic Site
In 1821, Major Charles Wilhelm Bulow acquired 4,675 acres of wilderness bordering a tidal creek that would later bear his name. Using slave labor, he cleared 2,200 acres and planted sugar cane, cotton, rice and indigo. Major Bulow died in 1823, leaving the newly established plantation to his seventeen year old son, John Joachim Bulow. Bulow's sugar mill, constructed of local "coquina" rock, was the largest mill in East Florida. At the boat slips, flatboats were loaded with barrels of raw sugar and molasses and floated down Bulow Creek to be shipped north. This frontier industry came to an abrupt end at the outbreak of the Second Seminole War. In January 1836, a band of raiding Seminole Indians, resisting removal to the West, looted and burned the plantation. It would never recover. Bulow returned to Paris where he died the same year. Today, the coquina walls and chimneys of the sugar mill remain standing as a monument to the rise and fall of the sugar plantations of East Florida.
Madira Bickel Mound State Archeological Site
This ancient Native American site was the first in Florida to be designated a State Archaeological Site. Karl and Madira Bickel donated the mound and surrounding property to the state in 1948. The flat-topped ceremonial mound-composed of sand, shell, and village debris-measures 100 by 170 feet at the base and is 20 feet in height. Archaeological excavations have disclosed at least three periods of Native American cultures, the earliest dating back 2,000 years.
Museum of Science and History (MOSH)
The Museum of Science and History (MOSH) inspires the joy of lifelong learning by bringing to life the sciences and regional history. Explore the Health in Motion exhibit, learn about the whales, dolphins and manatees of northeast Florida, and check out the daily animal encounters with a naturalists.
Mound Key Archeological State Park
Framed in forests of mangrove trees, the shell mounds and ridges of Mound Key rise more than 30 feet above the waters of Estero Bay. Prehistoric Native Americans are credited with creating this island's complex of mounds with an accumulation of seashells, fish bones, and pottery. Mound Key is believed to have been the ceremonial center of the Calusa Indians when the Spaniards first attempted to colonize Southwest Florida. In 1566, the Spanish governor of Florida established a settlement on the island with a fort and the first Jesuit mission in the Spanish New World. The settlement was abandoned three years later after violent clashes with the Indians. The only access to the island is by boat; there are no facilities. Interpretive displays can be found along a trail that spans the width of the island.
Halifax Historical Museum
Since 1986 the Halifax Historical Museum has been housed in the former Merchant's Bank Building located in the heart of the downtown historical district of Daytona Beach. The focus of the museum is to present the history of the greater Daytona Beach area with artifacts dating from 5,000 B.C. including the local Native Americans, the Spanish and British colonial eras, early pioneer families, beach auto racing, World War II and vintage toys. The Museum offers a research facility with old city directories, documents and maps as well as an extensive photographic and postcard collection.
Paynes Creek Historic State Park
During the 1840s, tensions between the settlers and Seminole Indians prompted authorities to establish a trading post in Florida´s interior, away from settlements. Built in early 1849, the post was attacked and destroyed by renegade Indians that summer. In late 1849 Fort Chokonikla was built nearby as the first outpost in a chain of forts established to control the Seminoles. The Seminoles never attacked the fort, but the Army was nearly defeated by mosquitoes. Today, nature enthusiasts and hikers can enjoy walking along trails through the park´s natural areas. Paynes Creek and the adjoining Peace River provide opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. A museum at the visitor center depicts the lives of Florida´s Seminole Indians and pioneers during the 19th century.
Letchworth-Love Mounds
Visitors to this archaeological site will see Florida's tallest Native American ceremonial mound-46 feet-built between 1100 and 1800 years ago. The people who built the mound are believed to have been members of the Weedon Island Culture, a group of Native Americans who lived in North Florida between 200 and 800 A.D. The park offers picnicking, birding, and hiking. A nature trail winds around the perimeter of the ceremonial mound.
Cedar Key Historical Society Museum
The Cedar Key Historical Society was established in 1977 by a group of citizens dedicated to preserving the long and rich history of Cedar Key. The museum opened its doors in 1979 in the historic Lutterloh building on the corner of 2nd street and SR24. Exhibits include prehistoric and Native American artifacts, the 2nd Seminole Indian War, the Civil War, the cedar pencil and lumbering industries, maritime activity prior to Tampa’s development as a port and the seafood industry up to today’s successful clam aquaculture. There is also an extensive collection of old Cedar Key photographs in the archives.
Museum of Arts and Sciences
The Museum of Arts & Sciences (MOAS) is the primary art, history and science museum in Central Florida. Located on a 90-acre Florida nature preserve, the 86,000 square foot facility is host to over 30,000 objects including the finest collection of American Art in the southeast, the largest collection of Cuban art outside of Cuba, a significant Chinese art collection, and Florida's prehistoric Giant Ground Sloth. Also on display, is Coca-Cola entrepreneur Chapman Root’s lifetime collection of Americana, including two private rail cars. The museum’s theater, planetarium, and children’s center make for a truly interactive experience.
Mission San Luis
A visit to Mission San Luis transports you back in time. Your destination is a community where Apalachee Indians and newcomers from Spain live in close proximity drawn together by religion as well as military and economic purpose. Modern day visitors to Mission San Luis discover a re-created community where time stands still. There they meet the people of San Luis going about the tasks that sustained life centuries ago. They walk the plaza where the Apalachees played their traditional ball games. They visit the most important structure in the Apalachee village, the council house, and also stop at the home of the Spanish Deputy Governor. Visitors are welcomed at the church built under the supervision of Franciscans, and at the friary where they lived. Mission San Luis is a very special place where history comes to life.
Museum of Science and History (MOSH)
Homeschool programs will consist of a 45-minute interactive educational show as well as a suggested “Try This at Home” experiment or activity. All groups will have time before or after programs to explore museum exhibits.
Fort Menendez at Old Florida Museum
Come explore Fort Menendez, meet some colorful characters from early Spanish St. Augustine and the Timucuan village of Seloy, and have lots of fun along the way! Join other adventurers on an interactive trip through time. Earn gold, buy, trade items, and wager with villagers and adventurers alike! Old Florida Museum offers four unique "HANDS-ON" programs designed to be entertaining as well as educational. Students experience life in St. Augustine through the struggles and successes of its people during distinct time periods of Florida’s history. All programs follow the Sunshine State Standards.
St. Lucie County Historical Museum
The St. Lucie County Historical Museum offers tours and programs designed to complement social studies curriculum and classroom learning. Exhibits cover subjects including the Cobb Store, early Native Americans, the fishing industry, a pineapple plantation, and trains.
Crystal River Archaeological State Park
National Historic Landmark, this 61-acre, pre-Columbian, Native American site has burial mounds, temple/platform mounds, a plaza area, and a substantial midden. The six-mound complex is one of the longest continuously occupied sites in Florida. For 1,600 years the site served as an imposing ceremonial center for Native Americans. People traveled to the complex from great distances to bury their dead and conduct trade. It is estimated that as many as 7,500 Native Americans may have visited the complex every year. Although primarily an archaeological site, the park sits on the edge of an expansive coastal marsh. Anglers may catch saltwater and freshwater fish. As part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, the park offers bird-watchers the chance to observe a variety of birds. The park has a boat tour of the river every Friday, weather permitting.
Dade Battlefield Historic State Park
The battle that started the Second Seminole War is commemorated in January each year under the oaks of Dade Battlefield. On December 28, 1835, Seminole Indian warriors ambushed 108 soldiers at this site-only three soldiers survived. The park protects not only a historic battlefield, but also the natural communities as they existed when the soldiers and Seminoles battled over 180 years ago. Strolling a half-mile nature trail through pine flatwoods, visitors might see gopher tortoises, woodpeckers, songbirds, hawks, and indigo snakes. The park has a playground, picnic area with covered shelters, and a recreation hall. The visitor center has information and displays about the battle and visitors can watch a twelve-minute video history, This Land, These Men.
Brevard Museum of History & Natural Science
The mission of the Brevard Museum of History & Natural Science is to operate and maintain a museum for the education of the public about regional cultural heritage and to preserve historic artifacts and natural history specimens that support this educational mission. The Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science is located in Cocoa, Florida. Tucked away in a quiet residential neighborhood the museum boasts two wings of indoor exhibits and a 22-acre nature preserve backing up to the Eastern Florida State College Planetarium. Through curation and display, they invite visitors to explore the unique history of Brevard County. From Ice Age fossils to the Space Age Hubble telescope, they have something for everyone. The Brevard Museum is also home to the Florida Historical Society Archaeological Institute whose mission, in hand with the museum, is to educate the public about Florida archaeology through research, publication and outreach.
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