Fort Pickens is the largest of four forts built to defend Pensacola Bay, Florida and its Navy yard. Construction on the fort began in 1829 and was completed five years later in 1834. Fort Pickens enjoyed a long life of active duty, as it was used until the 1940s. Historic Fort Pickens and its Visitor Center is open from 9:30 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. March through October.
Naval Air Station Pensacola
Naval Air Station Pensacola is known as the “Cradle of Naval Aviation” and features the National Aviation Museum and IMAX, a lighthouse and Fort Barrancas, built by the Spanish in 1797. Hours: Museum: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. IMAX: movies shown every hour 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit www.navalaviationmuseum.org for more information.
Pensacola Museum of Art
The museum, housed in the Old City Jail, features works predominantly from the 20th and 21st centuries. Admission is $5 – adults; $2 – students and military; free – children 5 and under. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. 407 S. Jefferson St. 850-432-6247, www.pensacolamuseumofart.org.
T.T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State
Museum and Historic Pensacola Village
The T.T. Wentworth, Jr. museum, housed in the 1908 City Hall building, exhibits a treasure trove of historic artifacts, Americana and West Florida history. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the museum is free.
Historic Pensacola Village
Visitors touring the village will enjoy the 1832 Old Christ Church, 1805 French- Creole Lavalle House, 1890s Lear-Rocheblave House and more. Guided tours are offered three times daily at 11 a.m., 1 and 2:30 p.m. and are included in the admission price. Tickets may be purchased at the Tivoli High House Gift Shop on 205 E. Zaragoza St. Admission is $6 adults; $3 children (ages 4 to 16); $4 senior, military or AAA members. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 205 E. Zaragosa St. 850-595-5990, www.historicpensacola.org.
Indian Temple Mound Museum
In 1962, the Indian Temple Mound Museum opened as the first municipally owned and operated museum in Florida. More than 1,000 artifacts of stone, bone, clay and shell are housed there, as well as one of the finest collections of prehistoric ceramics in the Southeast. Located at 139 Miracle Strip Parkway SE, Fort Walton Beach. Admission is $5 adults, $3 children age 4 to 17, Children under 3 enter free, senior and military discounts offered. www.fwb.org
Destin History and Fishing Museum
Preserving and honoring the history of Destin, the Luckiest Fishing Village in the World, with an extensive collection of antique fishing rods and reels – including an original Penn Reel that belonged to Ernest Hemingway; the oldest seine fishing boat still in existence; award-winning examples of fish caught in Destin; as well as vintage photographs of early settlers, captains and their boats, businesses and more. Admission is $5 adults; $4 seniors and military; $3 children; free for children under 6. Summer hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 108 Stahlman Ave., Destin 850-837-6611, www.destinhistoryandfishingmuseum.org.
Air Force Armament Museum
Experience the aviation warfare armament from the early days of World War I right through to today's high-tech planes and bombs. Inside, you'll find an extensive collection of weaponry and interactive displays that will amaze and intrigue. Outside displays include vintage military aircraft including the fastest plane ever built - the SR-71 Blackbird! Admission is free. Hours: Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 100 Museum Drive, Eglin Air Force Base, 850-651-1808, www.afarmamentmuseum.com.
Battleship USS Alabama
History meets heroism from World War II to Iraqi Freedom. At Battleship Memorial Park you walk the decks of a mighty battleship, go below in a World War II submarine, view cockpits of combat aircraft, see a Vietnam River Patrol Boat and a plane like the one flown by the Tuskegee Airmen! Admission: $12 ages 12 & up; $6 ages 6 to 11; free under 6. Summer hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. 2703 Battleship Parkway, Mobile, Ala.; 850-433-2703.