10 Free Attractions in Central Florida’s Polk County

by Guest Author

Central Florida’s Polk County is not only a destination of nature and outdoor activities, but it’s chock full of free and affordable activities for all ages. Here are 10 free attractions in Central Florida’s Polk County to help you plan your family vacation or holiday in the US, and we’ve also included a few fun places that won’t break the bank. – CajunMama

Free Attractions in Polk County, Florida

Circle B Bar Reserve and Polk’s Nature Discovery Center–   This 1,297-acre environmental lands site is known for scenic shorelines and abundant wildlife, offering visitors a view of an oak hammock, freshwater marsh, hardwood swamp and a beautiful lake shore.  There is a tremendous bird population here, including a variety of wading birds, water fowl, ospreys, and bald eagles.  The reserve is the home of Polk’s Nature Discovery Center where nature-lovers of all ages can experience hands-on exhibits, view live aquatic plans and animals in aquariums and explore the Learning Tree.

Florida’s Natural Grove House –   Learn the insiders’ story about how Florida’s Natural Brand came to be, as you sample orange juice, explore a variety of exhibits, and take a video tour of the orange juice plan.  You’ll learn so much about the area’s citrus industry!  

Soup Cannery Tour at Chalet Suzanne Restaurant and Country Inn –  Take a tour of the Soup Cannery at the world renowned Chalet Suzanne Restaurant and Country Inn.  You’ll see the place where their famous “Moon Soup” is created and hear the stories about the soup’s trip to the moon during the Apollo missions!  Call ahead to schedule your tour.

Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture – Self-guided tour –   Take a self-guided tour through Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture at Florida Southern College. As an architect, Wright was virtually without parallel and his legacy to the College distinguishes the campus from all others. 

Hollis Garden and Barnett Family Park –   Tour Hollis Garden. Neoclassical in design and featuring more than 10,000 flowers and ornamental shrubs, Hollis Garden chronicles Florida history, from the beginnings of the state’s agrarian period to the modern era in which horticulture is driven primarily by aesthetics.  Also, take a stroll around Lake Mirror and see what makes Barnett Family Park so unique.  Barnett Family Park is designed to attract children and families, but there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy. The elaborate sculptures of native Florida animals and beautiful hand-cut glass Byzantine tiles make the park unique. 

Davidson’s of Dundee –  See how citrus candy is made with wooden paddles on marble slabs!  Also, get a behind the scenes view of the marmalade factory! Featured on the Food Network, Davidson’s of Dundee grows, packs and ships Florida’s finest tree-ripened fresh citrus fruit including oranges, honeybells, page oranges, temple oranges, and ruby red grapefruit. Established in the SunRidge area of Central Florida since 1967, they have been shipping the best Florida citrus to customers across the USA and Canada for over 35 years. 

Trek Ten Trails (Geocaching!) –  Hike Central Florida’s scenic nature trails while participating in “Trek Ten Nature Trails.”  This exciting program highlights trails in Central Florida, where hikers can observe wildlife and native plants along the way. 

Spook Hill –   Cars don’t roll uphill by themselves, or do they?  At Spook Hill in Lake Wales, Florida, visitors put their car in neutral and seem to inexplicably defy the law of science – as their cars seem to roll uphill.  Come see for yourself! 

Homeland Heritage Park  This unique park is home to several original structures from 19th-century pioneer life in Florida, including an 1800s farmhouse, school and church. 

Polk County Historical Museum & Genealogical Library –  Tucked away in a 1908 courthouse in historic downtown Bartow is one of the largest historical and genealogical research libraries in the southeastern United States.

Other Affordable Attractions

Cow Camp at Lake Kissimmee State Park – $4 per vehicle – The land that is now Lake Kissimmee State Park was once used by Native Americans because of the abundance of fish and game in the area, making it an ideal place to live for thousands of years.  The park is named for Lake Kissimmee, the third largest lake in the state.  The 5,930 acres of Lake Kissimmee State Park are teeming with plant and animal life.  The park offers outstanding fishing, bird watching, picnicking, camping, boating and hiking on 13 miles of beautiful trails.  For nature lovers and photographers, few parks offer the variety of plant and animal life that Lake Kissimmee State Park has to offer.  You will also go back in time at the Cow Camp, where you will enter the year 1876 as you talk to a cow hunter about his life.  (During summer the Cow Camp is open Holidays weekend and Oct –April every weekend)

Florida Air Museum – $8 adults; Children under 8 years old free; Students 8-12 - $4 – The Florida Air Museum at Sun ‘n Fun displays a rich variety of aircraft and artifacts covering the history of the first 100 years of flight. Year-round educational programs bring aviation to life. 

Explorations V Children’s MuseumChildren Under 2 – FREE Ages 2 through Adult $5.00 Seniors 65+ $2.50 – Enjoy floors of mind-stretching, kid-powered exhibits featuring art, science, literature, math, health, life skills and cultures from around the world!

Bok Tower Gardens – Adults $10, Children $3 (ages 5-12), Children (under 5):  Free – The renowned Bok Tower Gardens is one of Florida’s original tourism venues. Located on the  highest point on the Florida peninsula, Bok Tower Sanctuary is a national landmark, including 128 acres of gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and a bell tower housing one of the world’s great carillons.  Wings of wonder await you at Historic Bok Sanctuary, home to more than 50 identified varieties of butterflies. Visit the Sanctuary’s historic Olmsted gardens to enjoy special areas planted to attract majestic winged wonders. Come witness the beauty of nature. Also enjoy a light dinner at this stop.

Special thanks to Kris Keprios of Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing for providing this information to help travelers plan budget friendly trips.

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1 sojournrentals June 20, 2010 at

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2 Acid Staining FORT LAUDERDALE November 1, 2010 at

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