10 Museums in Southwest Gulf Coast That You Shouldn't Miss

July 27, 2021 Velvet Mowry

Florida’s Southwest Gulf Coast contains a constellation of enticing coastal gems. Stunning beaches, including Ft. Myers Beach, Tigertail Beach and Pensacola Beach, fringe the Gulf, down the I-75 from Tampa to Naples. Sanibel Island’s shelling attracts thousands. Cape Coral’s waters are paradise for flyfishing. Golfers adore spectacular courses in Marco Island and Naples. Glorious sunny days and deliciously warm turquoise waters beckon in this often overlooked corner of the Sunshine State.

1. Naples Historical Society's Historic Palm Cottage

137 12th Avenue South, Naples, FL 34106 +1 239-261-8164 [email protected] http://www.napleshistoricalsociety.org
Excellent
83%
Good
15%
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Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 349 reviews

Naples Historical Society's Historic Palm Cottage

Naples Historical Society's Historic Palm Cottage is Naples oldest house (1895) and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Open for house tours and historic district walking tours.

Reviewed By RSaari

We loved the Palm Cottage tour. The tour guide was knowledgeable and gave us an amazing presentation about the early days of Naples Florida.

2. Military Heritage Museum

900 W Marion Ave Fishermen's Village, Punta Gorda, FL 33950-5308 +1 941-575-9002 [email protected] http://freedomisntfree.org/
Excellent
88%
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5.0 based on 32 reviews

Military Heritage Museum

The Military Heritage Museum recently moved to a new location: 900 W. Marion Ave. in Punta Gorda Fl . Just a few steps away from Fishermen's Village, the Museum has over 17,000 sq ft of exhibit and activity areas. On the first level, take a walk-through history through three unique galleries; from the Revolutionary War through modern conflicts. Visit the Hall of Hero's gallery and its special Medal of Honor exhibit. On the second level become part of history, through simulations and virtual reality including aircraft, tank, and naval simulators. Take a special forces "parachute jump" or drive a "tank" - two incredible virtual reality experiences we offer. Also found on the second floor is our Academy Library and ancestry research. Be sure to visit the War Room, Library and our our 247-seat Gulf theater.

Reviewed By Daleanator - Punta Gorda, United States

The overall quality is amazing with the inexpensive entry. This is a wonderful place to both learn and teach history with a wonderful group of volunteers and workers. From the extensive displays of artifacts to the amazing virtual reality goggles, this really is a place to learn and explore history.

3. Revs Institute

2500 Horseshoe Dr S, Naples, FL 34104-6119 +1 239-687-7387 [email protected] https://revsinstitute.org/
Excellent
94%
Good
5%
Satisfactory
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5.0 based on 664 reviews

Revs Institute

Revs Institute® is now open with limited capacity. Tickets must be purchased online for specific dates/times in advance. No telephone orders or walk-up visitors can be accommodated. Face coverings are mandatory. Revs Institute is dedicated to the study of the automobile past, present and future. Revs Institute offers visitors an exceptional opportunity to view over 100 of the most influential automobiles of our time. Many of the cars are unique or exceptionally rare, and each meets rigid standards of historical, technical, aesthetic or social significance. To enhance the visitor experience, specially designed interactive displays and artifact showcases are presented within four themed galleries. They include unique items from the extensive Revs Institute library and archives. Revs Institute is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. For information, visit revsinstitute.org.

Reviewed By 410ChrisM410 - Virginia Beach, United States

Amazing collection to see, overwhelming amount of fabulous vehicles from all eras, and an education in the history of the automobile and racing, and some of the development of the Naples area. Really fun museum if you are at all excited by sports cars, or have children who are.

4. Boca Grande Historical Society and Museum

170 Park Ave., Boca Grande, FL 33921 +1 941-964-1600 [email protected] http://www.bocagrandehistoricalsociety.com/
Excellent
85%
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5.0 based on 26 reviews

Boca Grande Historical Society and Museum

Reviewed By joannek390 - Albany, United States

This is a nice little museum with very helpful staff. There is a lot of history in the displays and it is nicely done. It is good to go on a Thursday as there is additional staff on who let you handle various shark teeth (including a Megalodon!) and other assorted things from the sea.

258 Royal Palm Dr, Marco Island, FL 34145-2009 +1 239-394-2787 [email protected] http://www.malendatrick.com/localcolor
Excellent
80%
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20%
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5.0 based on 10 reviews

Local Color Art Gallery

Art gallery featuring the finest Marco Island artisans. Oils, multi-media, watercolors, sculpture, photography, jewelery and textile creations for the discriminating taste. We have custom framing. Art featuring the sights of Marco Island and the world. Cards, prints and gifts all created locally by our artists. Please inquire about ART LESSONS.

237 Warfield Ave, Venice, FL 34285-4640 +1 941-486-0811 [email protected] http://www.clydebutcher.com
Excellent
97%
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5.0 based on 29 reviews

Clyde Butcher Venice Gallery & Studio

Discover Clyde Butcher. Internationally renowned photographer shows his exquisite black and white photographs that beckon the viewer to a personal communion with the natural world. Clyde's breathtaking images capture the primordial beauty of everything from the lush Florida Everglades to Cuba's expansive horizons and endless vistas. The Venice Gallery features a large selection of Clyde's award winning, limited edition and hand signed photographs. Clyde's images are captured with an 8"x10", 11"x14, and 12"x20" view camera, allowing him to express elaborate detail and texture that distinguish the intricacy of the landscape. Photographs range in sizes from 8x10 inches to 5x8 feet. Each one is epic in its beauty and scale. Also available published books by Clyde, calendars and note cards.

Reviewed By R9093WFwilliamm

Clyde Butcher's photography is top of the line photographic artistry. This working studio gives you a unique glimpse of how the "magic" occurs between the photo in the wild and the treasured mounted works of art resulting from the studio's transformation.

462 9th Street North, Naples, FL 34102 +1 239-234-7918 [email protected] https://www.kajartgallery.com
Excellent
94%
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5.0 based on 33 reviews

KAJ Gallery

KAJ Gallery is a contemporary art gallery located in the heart of the Design District in Naples, Florida. The gallery was opened by longtime friends Jason Taylor and sculptor Kosmas Ballis in November 2018. Their goal with a full-fledged art gallery was so they could expand and diversify their offerings to collectors and art lovers alike.

Reviewed By asilverst - Naples, United States

Very impressive gallery. So many beautiful contemporary art pieces, interesting pottery and I loved the vessels.

8. The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

3075 Sanibel Captiva Rd, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3111 +1 239-395-2233 [email protected] http://www.shellmuseum.org/
Excellent
63%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
2%
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4.5 based on 1,607 reviews

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is the only museum in the U.S. devoted entirely to shells and mollusks, and one of the best things to do on Sanibel Island. It features more than 30 engaging exhibits of stunning shells, showcasing some of the largest and rarest shell specimens in the world, including the goliath conch, lightning whelk and Atlantic trumpet triton, as well as common Southwest Florida shells, fossil shells and more. New in March 2020, “Beyond Shells: The Mysterious World of Mollusks” adds the live animals that create shells to its must-see experiences. New aquariums include live octopuses, giant clams, nautilus, nudibranchs and gastropods, and two 15-foot-long touch tanks let young visitors get their hands wet. For a perfect Sanibel experience, fun daily beach walks can be reserved, and the nonprofit museum’s scientists also conduct research with local mollusk species.

Reviewed By invertpaleo - New York City, United States

This has always been an amazing museum, and now it has many aquariums with live mollusks in them, and the live mollusks are fascinating to see! There are mollusks with shells like the Junonia (yes a live Junonia!), and ones without a shell like the octopus, the cuttlefish, and the seahares. If you like shells, you will love this place -- the only national shell museum. Sanibel is all about shells, so even if you are not shell-crazy, you may find this museum of interest because it covers so many shell-related topics. It is a little expensive but it offers so much for the price!

9. The Ringling

5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243-2161 +1 941-359-5700 [email protected] https://www.ringling.org/
Excellent
77%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
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4.5 based on 7,113 reviews

The Ringling

The Ringling is located in Sarasota, Florida and preserves the legacy of John and Mable Ringling. It is home to the State Art Museum of Florida, the historic Ca' d'Zan Mansion, Bayfront Gardens, the Art Library, two Circus Museums, and the Historic Asolo Theater. The grounds and gardens are free to visit, and the Museum of Art offers free admission on Mondays.

Reviewed By jbwhitehouse - Dallas, United States

The Circus Museum is closed for renovations as are an art gallery. The new Kotter-Koville Glass Museum is at the entrance to Ringling and is free to view. It has beautiful and diverse glass pieces; worth a visit. Admission--free with NARM, MARP, and ROAM memberships--provides admission to the fantastic Tibbals Learning Center, the grounds around Ca'd'Zen, and the truly outstanding and extensive art museum. Additional fees are charged to view Ca'd'Zen for the first floor or other floors. It used to be free to do a self-guiding of first floor and a fairly reasonable charge for two other floors. Now there is a high price, which is understandable when considering the very costly upkeep of the property. Still such high prices exclude this family. Ringling is for all ages and necessitates hours to enjoy.

10. Edison and Ford Winter Estates

2350 McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers, FL 33901-3315 +1 239-334-7419 [email protected] http://www.edisonford.org/
Excellent
67%
Good
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Satisfactory
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Poor
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4.5 based on 5,580 reviews

Edison and Ford Winter Estates

Visitors to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers will enjoy seeing the winter residences of famous inventors Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. There are historical buildings, award-winning gardens, the Edison Botanic Research Lab and the Inventions Museum. The museum has hundreds of inventions, artifacts and special exhibits. Edison Ford offers many tour options, including special "Inside-the-Homes" and "Inside-the-Lab" Tours on select days. The audio tour is available in English, Spanish, German and French. Historian led tours are also offered in German on select days. Group tours can be arranged in advance.

Reviewed By 123Shane - Calgary, Canada

Very scenic area and gardens with two beautiful homes that provide a glimpse into American history. My wife and I enjoyed a relaxing walk through the gardens and learned about two of the very influential business men and their families. The museum on site was also very educational. Definitely a excellent visit in the Fort Myers area.

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