The Orange County Regional History Center
The Orange County Regional History Center is One of the Best Orlando Museums to Show You Where it All Began!
65 East Central Blvd.
Orlando, Florida 32801
Website (opens a new window)
Although I’ve lived here my entire life I wouldn’t have been able to tell you much about the history of Orlando, Florida.
Now I feel a little more qualified to tell people where my roots started thanks to the Orange County Regional History Center. Even if you’re not from here you’ll have a great time learning about Orlando’s rich history.
If you’ve ever wondered how Walt Disney came to Orlando this would be a great place to find out! You can see pictures of Cinderella castle being built. Even the original sketches are on display!
Plus, check out what the land looked like before Walt Disney World took over. Just a bunch a swamps and wetlands. Can you believe it?
To get to the Orange County Regional History Center you’ll need to travel to the heart of downtown Orlando, Florida. Located at the corner of Magnolia and Central Blvd.
You can park in the parking garage across the street from the Orlando Public Library (that has a great vegetarian café by the way.)
*Remember to bring your parking pass with you because you can have it validated for two free hours of parking with purchase of admission to the history center.*
Walk a short distance to what’s known as heritage park (this is where Orlando, Florida originated!) Where you’ll see some fountains and iron alligators.
This would be a nice place to have a picnic if you were up to it. It’s also the place that a lot of free concerts are held.
But you’ll also see the front of the Orange County Regional History Center staring you in the face. So once you’re done taking a picture with Bunk and the gator (pictured below) go on inside to see why this is one of the best Orlando museums!
The cost to get into the Orange Country Regional History Center is $9.00 for adults; $7.00 for students with a valid ID and seniors 60+, $6.00 for children ages 5-12 and children 4 and under are free!
The museum itself could take as little as 45 minutes or as much as four hours. Depending on if you decide to just fly through it or if you plan on taking everythng in. With all the interactive exhibits you really could spend an entire day here!
The Orange County Regional History Center located on the second, third and forth levels of the old City Hall, was more than I expected.
I went here with the idea to get a few pictures and a better idea of what it was all about. But I got so much more!
The Orange County Regional History Center made me feel like I was taking a look at my own history.
The forth floor (which is where the lady in the front told me to start) talked about the history of Orlando, Florida.
How it used to be a small town that sustained itself through the sale of oranges and cattle. I was really impressed at the lifelike structures that were in place. Plus there were tons of interactive features throughout.
There’s television commentary in most of the exhibit rooms on the third and forth floor. So if you’d rather hear it than read it that’s the way to go. There’s also buttons to push that will tell you a story. Like where the name “cracker” came from.
There’s plenty to read about and learn. Like how to make squirrel soup (if you’ve ever wondered).
I feel like I have a lot more information about Orlando and Florida in general after my visit to this museum. Other exhibits touched on NASA, Mosquitoes, Orlando Magic and black history.
I myself spent about an hour and a half in the center. I throughly enjoyed everything I saw. And I even had a few aha moments.
The Orange County Reginal History Center is great for history buffs that are interested in learning about the rich history of Florida.
I browsed the old time labels that used to be on the orange crates and even checked out some old glasses for orange juice that looked like some my grandma used to own! There was also exhibits talking about the first settlers of Florida land.
Another exhibit on the natural environment that talked about how the original people of Florida recycled before it was trendy.
They would take old orange sacks and make everything from clothes to tablecloths with them. I guess being a tree hugger is just a natural part of my history!
There was even a section that looked like a huge sinkhole that talked about all the instances of sinkholes in Orlando, Florida. I was shocked to find out that popular lakes around town are actually sinkholes!
Including Orlando’s most popular lake, Lake Eola. Also Lake Conway and Lake Apopka! These lakes used to actually be land, maybe even where somebody’s home was. That’s crazy to think about.
It also talked about the water systems in Florida and the natural springs, as well as, the aqueduct that causes all the issues with the sinkholes. Pretty interesting stuff!
The third floor was probably my favorite of all the exhibits at the Orange County Regional History Center. It talked all about what Orlando, Florida was like before Disney came to town.
How this little land filled with swamps and wet lands came to be one of the most well known tourist destinations in the world. There’s pictures of the land before Disney moved in and even some of Cinderella’s castle being erected.
There was also exhibits that talked about popular tourist attractions before Disney. Like
, one of the world largest natural alligator preserves. And also places like Silver Springs.
Not that these Orlando, Florida attractions aren’t still popular today they just don’t have as much draw as Disney, Universal and Sea World. But if you’re like me these places are much more enjoyable because they are so much closer to nature.
Also on the forth floor was Courtroom B. This is one of the original courtrooms from Orlando's old City Hall. It’s been rumored that Ted Bundy was tried here.
You can check out the defendants table to see where his name has been carved in. They don’t know if it was the real Ted Bundy or not though.
The courtroom was really cool too because it had a different layout than courtrooms today. The witness stand faced the jury so that the witness had to look at the jury when speaking and so the jury could check the witness out.
The judges chair was very appealing. I wanted to sit in it but it was roped off. But you can sit in the jury box or on the witness stand. I’ve always been interested in the law so this was probably the most memorable of the exhibits for me.
Take a walk down the grand staircase and come to the second floor. There you’ll find great revolving exhibits throughout the year.
Like an old school toy exhibit or the wonderful world of Jim Henson. And also on the second floor is the kids zone!
You’ll have to check the Orange County Regional History Museum website to see what's happening.
The Orange County Regional History Center is one of the nicest, cleanest and best laid out Orlando museums. There's directions everywhere pointing you to the right exhibit.
Once your done with the museum don’t forget that you’re in Downtown Orlando. You could make a day of it. Go visit Lake Eola or check out another museum right around the corner at the Grand Bohemian.
If you wanted to you could get married here, have a business meeting or even a children’s party.
Both young and old would enjoy a trip down Orlando, Florida’s memory lane at the Orange County Regional History Center. One of the best museums in Orlando for a history lesson!
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