Orlando may be known for its thrilling theme park adventures and family fun, but tucked within the City Beautiful is a booming cultural scene. Explore art, science, and history at one of the city’s top museums, and bring a picnic, as a few even boast some of the area’s most admirable grounds, serene lakes, and age-old oak trees. Great for art connoisseurs and families alike, these museums top the list of the best in Orlando.
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Orlando Museum of Art
Located in the heart of the Mills 50 District in beautiful Loch Haven Park, the Orlando Museum of Art nestles itself among age-old oak trees and sprawling green lawns, perfect for a picnic. Housing a diverse collection of art in all media, the museum prides itself on its recent emphasis on contemporary collections. At least 12 exhibitions, sure to appeal to any art lover, rotate through annually, and recently, the works of children’s book author-illustrator Eric Rohmann graced the walls of the museum as well as an exhibition brimming with paintings and artwork spanning over 200 years. Enjoy “Orlando’s Original Art Party” the first Thursday of every month from 6–9 P.M., complete with a cash bar and offerings from some of the best local cafés. Closed Mondays.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Orlando Science Center
Experience roof-shattering winds of a Category 1 Hurricane, get up close and personal with some of Florida’s native inhabitants such as live alligators, or gaze at the Rings of Saturn with Florida’s largest publicly accessible refractor telescope when you spend the day visiting the Orlando Science Center.
With four floors of hands-on science beckoning visitors to explore, thrill seekers can instantly go to the depths of the ocean with sense-altering 3D movies in the astounding 8,000-square-foot (743-square-meter) Cinedome, while movie buffs can enjoy Hollywood films in a unique 3D experience. The Orlando Science Center offers an array of visiting exhibits and events as well, such as The Science of Wine and Science Night Live. Check their website for information.
Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
Fans of Tiffany glass will marvel in the world’s most comprehensive collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s works. Situated among the charming boutique-lined, brick streets of Winter Park, the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art houses the designer’s jewelry, leaded-glass lamps, and even his chapel interior from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. If you are in the area during the holidays, the long-held tradition of Christmas in the Park kicks off the holiday season by lighting up Tiffany windows in the city’s local Central Park to the beautiful sounds of the season presented by the Bach Festival Choir and Brass Ensemble concert. In addition to many visiting exhibits, the museum hosts free lectures throughout the year. Closed Mondays.
Albin Polasek Museum and Gardens
With a collection of over 200 works by the award-winning, internationally recognized Czech-born sculptor Albin Polasek, the museum not only offers a reprieve for art lovers but nature lovers as well. Located on beautiful Lake Osceola, the sculptor’s home, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, sits amid breathtaking grounds. Take a guided tour through the three-acre sculpture gardens, find serenity in the chapel, or simply linger along the tree-lined paths while enjoying one of Central Florida’s spectacular sun-filled days. Closed Mondays.
Orange County Regional History Center
At the Orange County Regional History Center, you can experience life in Orlando, once known for its citrus farming and cattle, as it was long before Walt Disney famously set his sights on it. Travel through history in the restored 1927 brownstone courthouse, located in the heart of the city, and turn back the clock thousands of years to see how Florida’s indigenous people lived. Discover the life of early pioneers who slept on pillows stuffed with moss, or even step into modern times by visiting Courtroom B, the very place where notorious serial killer Ted Bundy allegedly carved his name into a desk as he sat on trial. The history center also offers other ongoing exhibits and educational events to the public.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum
Don’t be misled by the quaintness of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, which boasts over 5,000 objects and is the only teaching museum in Orlando. From European to American art, visitors can marvel at portraits from the likes of Louis-Michel van Loo to over 300 works in different media from international contemporary artists. If the free admission, tours, and interactive play stations aren’t reasons enough to visit, the museum sits within the picturesque architecture of Rollins College and is steps away from outdoor cafés and independent boutiques along Winter Park’s Park Ave.
Skeletons: Museum of Osteology™
Orlando recently gained its very first osteology museum with Skeletons: Museum of Osteology™, where visitors can view over 500 real animal skeletons in over 40 exhibits. These vertebrates, which sit in displays that mimic their real-life habitats, educate spectators on the beauty of the animal kingdom, with the end goal of raising awareness about conservation. The museum hosts engaging exhibits such as the new Forensic Pathology: Human Skulls and Sketching with Skeletons.
Museum of Military History
With hundreds of genuine artifacts, memorabilia, and military relics, visitors have the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of American military history at the Museum of Military History. The 10,000-square-foot (929-square-meter) museum, which pays tribute to brave soldiers, covers events from the Civil War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Don’t miss this educating experience saluting heroism from land to sea. Interactive exhibits, tours, and a research library make it great for visitors of all ages.
The Mennello Museum of American Art
Originally established to preserve Earl Cunningham paintings, The Mennello Museum of American Art, housed in what was once the private home of Howard Phillips, uses its unique space to display American art of all genres and time periods. Marrying art and nature, visitors have the opportunity to experience exceptional exhibits with the beautiful backdrop of Lake Formosa. The Smithsonian American Art Museum Affiliate showcases notable exhibitions, but just as lovely is enjoying the grounds with a picnic lunch and reveling in the charm of the 350-year-old live oak affectionately deemed “the Mayor.”
Art and History Museum Maitland
Minutes from the busy city life of neighboring Orlando, visitors will find a serene escape in the Art and History’s five museums nestled within two campuses. Visitors can fill a day exploring the Maitland Art Center, Maitland Historical Museum, Telephone Museum, Waterhouse Residence Museum, and Carpentry Shop Museum.
Just step inside the restored Waterhouse Residence Museum and be whisked away to Victorian times as you stroll through a guided tour admiring the Eastlake staircase and plush furnishings or reminisce about the turn of the century with woodworking tools, including ones used by Mr. Waterhouse himself. The museum offers history buffs and nostalgics alike the opportunity to experience American art and history while meeting resident artists busy creating in their studios.
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WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.