Cracker Country is Tampa’s only living history museum and is located on the Florida State Fairgrounds. It was founded with the purpose of preserving Florida’s rural heritage in 1978 by Mildred W. & Doyle E. Carlton, Jr. The museum holds a collection of 13 original buildings dating from 1870-1912 which were relocated from across the state of Florida. The buildings range from public buildings like the Terry Store and Okahumpka Train Depot, to private buildings like the Carlton and Smith homes. Today, the historically furnished buildings recreate the lifestyles of the past, and costumed interpreters portray daily living as Florida pioneers.
Cracker Country is open for Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day in September, Christmas in the Country in December, the Florida State Fair in February, Homeschool Day, and private scheduled tours.
Cracker Country is not open daily to the public.
Cracker Country offers educational field trip programs throughout the school year! Programs align with state standards for social studies and science.
Cracker Country Rural Home Life Tour
Discover the daily lives of Florida’s pioneers! Students will spend the morning immersed in a rural Florida community of the late 19th century and learn how farm families lived in the harsh, beautiful new state of Florida. Students will get to try household and farming chores, explore authentic buildings, dip a candle to take home and make a jump rope for their class. They will take back to their modern world knowledge of the differences and similarities between their lives and those of children in 1898.
Long Ago and Today Tour
Grades Pre K – 1
Young learners will explore connections between long ago and today through play, dance, storytelling and hands-on activities. All groups will make and take home a textile craft, learn about chickens, explore a 1917 railroad caboose and visit a turn-of-the-20th-century Florida family’s cabin.
Florida Industry Tour
What makes Florida a good place to raise cattle? What resources do we get from the forests around us? Did orange trees always grow here? Why was steam power important to 19th century Floridians?
The Florida Industry Tour gives students an introduction to some of Florida’s early industries that were shaped by the natural resources of the Sunshine State. A knowledgeable guide will lead your adventure through the Florida State Fairgrounds’ permanent exhibits: Florida Cattle Ranching-500 Years of Tradition, The Power of Steam and the Florida Forest Discovery Center. Along the way, students will experience antique steam engines in action, make a leather craft, explore the history of Florida’s iconic citrus industry, pack a chuck wagon, take part in a woodland scavenger hunt, and use the Scientific Method to identify and study tools from the past.
Cracker Country offers a Homeschool Day each spring and fall. Designed to capture the interests of students of all ages, Homeschool Days offer families and groups the opportunity to tour at their own pace and choose their level of participation. Themes vary by season.
For more information or to make a reservation for your school group, visit www.crackercountry.org.