Whether you are a long-term Florida resident or just a tourist passing through, make our front porch your first stop of any trip to Kissimmee.
With award-winning exhibits and state-of-the-art displays, the Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum offers visitors a chance to explore Osceola County’s rich history with an emphasis on the natural habitats that influenced the lives of the area’s early settlers.
Visitors start their tour of the museum by taking a stroll through a Florida swamp, where they learn more about the earliest inhabitants of Florida, including native wildlife and Native Americans. A highlight of this section includes an authentic Seminole dugout canoe from the 1700s that was removed from a local creek. The story continues with the beginnings of Spanish exploration and occupation of Florida, accompanied by a realistic diorama of a Florida swamp – animals included!
In the next section of the museum, guests move into the Pine Woodlands where the histories of Florida’s earliest industries including timber, turpentine, citrus, sugarcane, and cattle are shared in conjunction with learning more about the animals who call this area home. There are interactive displays for children, including a crawl space gopher tortoise hole, and a saddle where children can pretend to drive cattle!
As guests make their way by the replica Steamboat in the center of the museum, they can learn more about the waterways of Kissimmee and the railroads – both of which greatly influenced the commerce and transportation during the early days of Osceola County.
The final two natural habitats include an Oak Hammock and the Lake front. While visiting these areas, guests learn more about the creatures that can be found in these regions, as well as more of Kissimmee’s history moving through the 1900s. During the 1900s, tourism became one of the major industries in Florida, and tourists flocked to Florida for its natural beauty and warm weather.
Even today, tourism is one of the leading industries for Osceola County. The Welcome Center & History Museum offers discounted attraction tickets, directions and maps for tourists and locals alike. Stop by any day this month (May) to enjoy a glass of sweet tea and our southern hospitality.
The museum also offers a temporary exhibit gallery, with new exhibits on display every 3-4 months. This allows objects from the museum’s extensive historical collections to be shared with the public, with a variety of subjects pertaining to local history. Past exhibits include “Flags over Florida,” “A Land Remembered,” “Black History of Osceola County,” “A Stitch in Time: a History of Quilting in America,” and “The Florida Project: How Walt Disney Transformed Osceola County.”
A visit to Kissimmee would not be complete without touring the museum and learning more about the rich natural and cultural history of Osceola County!
The Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at 4155 W Vine St, Kissimmee, FL 34741.