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Celebrate International Museum Day in Ocala/Marion County, Florida

With so many options to choose from, there’s sure to be an exhibit for every member of the family.

From carefully curated collections showcasing the region’s equine-focused past, to art and artifacts from the far-reaching corners of the world and even an assortment of historic vehicles and drag race winners, Ocala/Marion County is the perfect place to explore this May 18th in celebration of International Museum Day.

Located just east of downtown Ocala, the Appleton Museum of Art is one of the area’s premier museums and ideal for those in search of international wonders. The museum offers visitors the chance to explore an incredible assortment of international art and artifacts of European, American, Asian, African, Islamic and pre-Colombian descent and has a permanent collection of approximately 16,000 objects and a series of traveling exhibits, which are showcased throughout the year. This legendary Ocala attraction also boasts a 250-seat auditorium, equipped with a state of the art sound system, used to showcase art and present lectures, an art library and courtyard café to make for a culture-filled trip. The two-story Italian travertine marble structure is as commanding and striking on the outside as the treasures it holds inside, met with a reflecting pool and fountain.

For those looking to take a trip through time and discover the history behind Marion County, there are a number of locations showcasing the region’s distinctive past. The Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology is located at the McPherson Governmental Complex and is home to over 13,000 years of human history and archaeological artifacts. The Cracker Village at Silver Springs State Park offers a first-hand look at the historic homes and modest lifestyles of Florida during the 1800s on a guided walking tour. Silver Springs State Park is also home to the Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center, which offers a look into Florida’s cultural and natural history, dating as far back as 12,000 years. Remarkable artifacts such as silver coins, a mission bell and a cannon, similar to that used by the men of Captain J.J. Dickinson during the Civil War, are all on display at this unique museum, providing hands-on learning opportunities for both County residents and out-of-town visitors.

Even racing fans can be a part of International Museum Day in Ocala/Marion County. Home to the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame, the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing houses 300 vehicles, including drag, muscle and rare vintage automobiles. With the largest collection of Ford automobiles and an extensive assortment of world-famous vehicles, including dragsters, funny cars and motorcycles, this one-of-a-kind museum is perfect for throttle-enthusiasts and those looking to experience history from a slightly different perspective. Guests looking for a truly remarkable museum experience can book a private tour with Don Garlits himself and have access to the private garage areas, not open to the public. Email donna@garlits.com for further details on times and dates for your private tour.

There are also a number of equestrian-focused exhibits to explore in the city known as the “Horse Capital of the World.” Surrounded by picturesque training grounds for world-class equine champions, the Florida Carriage Museum at Grand Oaks features the largest privately held collection of carriages open to the public. With over 160 intricately elegant European and American carriages, including the stunningly elaborate 1850 Armbruster Dress Chariot once owned by the Emperor of Austria, this museum gives guests a dazzling glimpse at the history of the relationship between humans and horses. The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association Museum and Gallery is another museum worth paying a visit to, as it houses beautiful equestrian art and trophies won by Ocala’s legendary thoroughbreds.

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