One of Florida’s top 10 museums, Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College features extensive rotating and permanent art collections, The Shop, workshops and an outdoor sculpture garden. They’ve even got ceramic plates made by Pablo Picasso that still bear his artistically executed tomato-sauce stains. Best of all, admission is FREE.

Free Admission at Polk Museum of Art

It seems almost unreal that admission to a museum recognized as one of the Top 10 art museums in Florida AND an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution is free, but it's true and makes Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College a must see for art lovers during a Central Florida vacation. 

Polk Museum of Art
Polk Museum of Art

You’ll love exploring their extensive permanent collection of contemporary and modern art and impressive array of Pre-Columbian, Asian, European and American decorative arts. There is even an outdoor garden that showcases permanent sculptures. And that’s only the permanent collections. Nearly 20 exhibitions rotate throughout Polk Museum of Art’s nine galleries each year, so there is always something new to see.

Family Fun Workshops

Equally fun and free are Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College’s Family Art workshops. On the first Saturday of every month at 10:30 a.m., experienced art educators provide families with the opportunity to create artwork together – the ultimate Central Florida vacation souvenir.

Polk Museum of Art
Polk Museum of Art

The Shop and Art-o-Mat Machine

No museum is complete without a gift shop and The Shop at Polk Museum of Art does not disappoint. In it you’ll find one-of-a-kind art, jewelry, ceramics, glass, books, children’s items and tokens to the fun and funky Art-o-Mat Machine. An Art-o-Mat machine is an old cigarette machine, which has been repurposed to distribute original artwork in exchange for a special token. Fun, we know.

Other Lakeland Attractions for Art Lovers

Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture
Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture

Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture at Florida Southern College

Whether you are an architectural aficionado, history buff or just a lover of interesting sights, you won’t regret exploring the world-renowned Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture collection at Florida Southern College.

Explorations V Children’s Museum

This museum features two stories of hands-on art exhibits designed to educate and stimulate your child’s five senses. The mini art-enthusiast in your family will love Explorations V Children’s Museum!

Historic Polk Theatre
Historic Polk Theatre

Polk Theatre

This historic vaudeville, movie palace was built in 1928 to resemble a Mediterranean village complete with a starry sky for a ceiling. Aside from the crisp air conditioning, it really feels like you’re outside when you have a seat in the theatre. Polk Theatre hosts an annual performing arts series, screenings of various independent films, and many special events throughout the year, so be sure and check out their calendar when planning your Central Florida vacation. And did we mention that Elvis Presley once performed there in 1956. If it’s good enough for the king…

Tony’s Studio B, Bay Street Bistro and Mitchells Coffee House

Local wine, dining and coffee establishments, Bay Street Bistro and Mitchell's Coffee House, are known for their tasty treats as well as their rotating art exhibits.

Address / Location

800 E Palmetto St
Lakeland, FL 33801
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Hours of Operation

Seasonal Hours June - August
Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Seasonal Hours September - May
Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Sunday 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.

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Arts & Culture

Festival highlighting emerging and innovative artists featuring art, music, demonstrations and area art organizations.

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Arts & Culture

New Mural at Polk Museum of Art


5 Star Rating

I would say that 2 1/2 hours is enough time here. There are traveling chi it's which is very good. They have a room dedicated to children K thru 2nd grade. I could have never produced art this good... Read Full Review

5 Star Rating

We are very proud of the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland and visit frequently. The changing exhibits are varied and the Museum Store has many unique items. Classes are offered for all ages in... Read Full Review

4 Star Rating

We were looking for something to do with my college students. Heard about this museum through word of mouth. Lovely little museum. 2 of the exhibits were being redone, so there was really only the... Read Full Review

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