Pensacola, Florida
Sunday August 19th 2018

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Get Smart: Your Local Museums Guide

By Jessica Forbes

Between Pensacola and Milton, there are enough museums to keep you busy each Saturday from now through Labor Day. The upside of museum hopping—in addition to getting your learn on—is that many of the museums are free or have a low admission cost, so they make a great destination if you’re trying not to break the bank.

Aside from being good for entertaining out-of-town guests, it’s also not a bad idea to pop into the museums occasionally, as most have rotating exhibits and try to keep the permanent exhibits fresh for locals who’ve visited in the past.

Gulf Breeze and Pensacola Beach

Naval Live Oaks
Once the site from which the U.S. military harvested oak for building warships, the trees of Naval Live Oaks are now preserved for the public. Over 7.5 miles of trails allow visitors to explore the preserve. The Visitor Center is open Mondays through Fridays, 8:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. If you have time to make it during the week, short films and interactive exhibits explain the plants, wildlife and history of the site, with a view of the Santa Rosa Sound. The site and trails are open daily, 8 p.m. to sunset.

Naval Live Oaks Area and Visitor Center
U.S. 98, immediately east of Gulf Breeze
934-2622
nps.gov/guis/planyourvisit/naval-live-oaks.htm

Fort Pickens
The park, part of Gulf Islands National Seashore (GINS), is open 7 a.m. through sunset, while the Visitor’s Center is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Guided tours of the fort, which was completed in 1834, take place daily at 2 p.m. The fort’s museum reopened last summer for the first time since Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and interactive exhibits and HD audiovisual features are part of the new-and-improved museum space. Entrance fee per vehicle is $8 and $3 per person on foot, bicycle, or motorcycle. Passes are valid for seven days and will get you into other GINS parks, including Perdido Key/Johnson Beach and Opal Beach.

Fort Pickens Historic Site and Visitor Center
1400 Fort Pickens Road, Pensacola Beach
934-2635
nps.gov/guis/planyourvisit/fort-pickens.htm

Downtown Pensacola

Historic Pensacola Village
The T.T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum will be closed for a portion of the summer for renovations (starting July 27), but the adjacent Historic Pensacola Village and the Museum of Commerce (the one with the streetcar inside), and Museum of Industry (the one with the locomotive outside) will be open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. every day but Sundays. See how Pensacolians once lived and worked through various time periods represented. Admission for adults is $6, $3 for kids, and $5 for senior citizens and active duty military. Tickets can be purchased at the Tivoli High House Shop. Admission also includes guided tours of each of the historic buildings in the Village. Until it closes in July, admission to the Wentworth is free.

Historic Pensacola Village – Tivoli High House Shop
208 E. Zaragoza St.
595-5993
historicpensacola.org

Destination Archaeology Resource Center
Also free is admission to the Destination Archaeology Resource Center at the Florida Public Archaeology Network Coordinating Center, which is across Main Street from the Historic Pensacola Village. Located in the former Louisville & Nashville (L&N) Railroad Terminal, the building itself is a piece of history, having been relocated from the demolished Commendencia Street Wharf. The center has a large exhibit on Florida archaeology, including photographs and artifacts, and is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) Coordinating Center
207 E. Main St.
595-0050
flpublicarchaeology.org/nwrc

Pensacola Children’s Museum
For the little ones in your life, take a visit to the Children’s Museum. Admission is $3 per person over 12 months of age and includes access to both floors of the museum, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Opened in 2012, most exhibits are hands-on and help kids—and their adults—learn about various aspects of Pensacola’s past.

The Pensacola Children’s Museum
115 E. Zaragoza St.
595-1559
historicpensacola.org

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