Do you have a miniature Indiana Jones in your family? Journey to the past during a visit to Mulberry Phosphate Museum which is located just one block south of State Highway 60 in downtown Mulberry.
I was impressed at how much there was to see and learn with my recent visit to the museum. Upon arrival, I noticed two locomotives. The first, which was clearly the older of the two, was an 1880 American Standard locomotive that was acquired by the museum after the remains were discovered two miles east of Mulberry in April 2012. The second was a bright yellow Seaboard Coast Line 1949 locomotive.
The next thing I spotted was something I remembered from a field trip I had taken to the museum many years ago. The museum’s outdoor exhibit is an area for fossil digging. Although I did not dig for fossils on this particular visit, it would definitely be my favorite and the most adventurous part of the museum. Visitors, like me, will notice a 44 yard Dragline bucket that was once used to dig phosphate rock set behind a mound of rock where they can search for shark teeth and prehistoric animal remains.
After walking up a ramp towards the indoor exhibits that resembled boxcars, I made my way to the fossil museum in the historic train depot. This area of the museum, houses a plethora of fossils including sea creatures such as whales, dolphins and sharks, land creatures such as tortoises, rhinos and giraffes and arrowheads. There are many ancient artifacts arranged in interesting displays. After taking in everything in this part of the museum, I learned there was a door leading to the 1949 Seaboard train that I had spotted from the parking lot earlier. This is an interesting addition where you can walk through the historic train while viewing antiques located inside.
The next exhibit I found was the Historic Railroad Gallery located in one of the two boxcar buildings. This area contained historic photos and information on Mulberry as well as the railroad industry. This room could clearly be used as a meeting room with a podium and a large table in the center of it. The final exhibit I discovered was also inside of a boxcar. This was the Phosphate Gallery designed to inform guests of the phosphate industry. There are videos and floor to ceiling wall displays in this gallery explaining the use of phosphate, how it is mined and how we use it from day to day.
Overall I found the experience to be educational, and I enjoyed exploring a part of Polk County that I have rarely seen. The Mulberry Phosphate Museum is a great place for year-round family-friendly fun. It’s also a popular destination for field trips. In fact, on the day I visited, a group of foreign exchange Dutch students were arriving. The museum also offers fun events throughout the year that include Shark Week activities, fossil celebrations and S.T.E.A.M. Saturdays.
Drop by the museum between 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and let us know about your experience there! The Mulberry Phosphate Museum is located at 101 S.E. 1st Street in Mulberry. Admission is free. Call 863-425-2823 for more information.