Arts, Culture & Museums
Create Your Vacation Masterpiece
Did you know Polk County has a reputation for having the area's most celebrated visual and performing arts attractions? It’s true. We’ve got culture, curiosities, curated exhibits and captivating performances. With so many options, you can find something to suit the whole family, and you can make a vacation of it.
Scroll down to receive our Free 2016 Central Florida Vacation Guide, History & Heritage Guide, and the most recent edition of Art-i-facts, the Cultural Arts Magazine of Polk County, published by Polk Arts Alliance.
Polk Museum Of Art
Named as one of the Top 10 art museums in Florida and an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the Polk Museum of Art features an extensive permanent collection of contemporary and modern art, as well as an impressive array of Pre-Columbian, Asian, European and American Decorative Arts.
Bonus: It’s located across the street from two awesome dining options: Mister Fish and the Red Door Wine Market, and is steps from Lake Morton, the best lake to admire Lakeland’s world famous swans.
Free Family Fun Workshops
Vacations are all about having fun and learning, and when you can do that for free, well, you simply must. Every Saturday at 10:30 a.m., workshops are led by experienced art educators and give you and your family the opportunity to create your own artwork together. Admission to the museum is free every Saturday morning from 10:00 a.m. to noon.
The museum is closed on Mondays and major holidays – and hours of operation vary by season, so be sure to plan ahead.
Bok Tower Gardens
Bok Tower Gardens is a beloved National Historic Landmark and an artistic wonder. Visitors have enjoyed daily carillon concerts for decades as they stroll through the meticulously maintained gardens and wonder at the stunning architecture of the “Singing Tower” and Pinewood Estate. Another interesting Lake Wales spot where you can satisfy your historical curiosities is the Lake Wales Museum and Cultural Center, which was originally a train depot!
Explorations V Children’s Museum
If your children start to get antsy for something a little more kid-friendly, and you’re looking for something to awaken the artistic curiosities of the young (and young at heart!), look no further than Explorations V Children’s Museum in Lakeland.
Wondering what that Roman numeral “V” represents in the museum’s name? It symbolizes your five senses, which you will be using in the many hands-on art and science exhibits throughout the fun-filled museum. The mini art-enthusiast in your family will love the children’s art gallery, located on the second floor; and with amazing instructional programs offered daily, there are endless learning opportunities.
Kids can create their very own masterpiece during Open art Studio on Tuesdays at 1:00 p.m., or during the Fun Friday session held each Friday at 10:30 a.m.
Theatre Winter Haven
Since 1970, Theatre Winter Haven has been delighting local audiences and tourists alike with outstanding performances of the highest caliber.
With more than 30,000 tickets sold annually, this theatre group presents eight full-scale productions each year, in addition to two touring productions and various special events.
Imperial Symphony Orchestra
A tour of the arts community in Polk County simply wouldn’t be complete without a performance by the Imperial Symphony Orchestra (ISO) in Lakeland.
This community orchestra is comprised of 80 volunteer musicians, who have made it their mission to entertain, educate and inspire audiences through captivating musical performances. The orchestra presents a number of concerts each year at The Lakeland Center and other venues throughout the area.
Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture
The Florida Southern College Campus in Lakeland is home to Child of the Sun, the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright works in any single location. A self-guided tour will lead you through the numerous archways and walkways that connect the buildings, allowing you ample time to enjoy Wright’s work at its finest. All the architecture here has been meticulously restored to ensure authenticity and integrity to Wright’s initial vision. Guided tours are available too.
See more illustration videos at Drawn to Central Florida.
For a true taste of historic Polk County, the Ramon Theater is a must see. Built in 1925, the Ramon Theater began as a vibrant entertainment hub featuring everything from movies to vaudeville performances. Today, located in historic downtown Frostproof, the renovated venue hosts Murder Mystery dinners, an annual music series, and various holiday events.
Also a historic vaudeville and movie palace, Lakeland's Polk Theatre was built in 1928 and has been an integral part of the arts community in Polk County. Elvis Presley performed at the Polk Theatre in 1956. Today, the venue is home to an annual performing arts series, screenings of various independent films, and many special events throughout the year.
Lake Wales Arts Center
The Lake Wales Arts Center is housed in the former Holy Spirit Catholic Church. The national landmark was built in 1927 and provides a beautiful architectural setting for classes, concerts, and exhibitions at the Michael Crews Gallery located within the Center.
Open year-round, the Lake Wales Arts Center is free to the public.
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