Learning opportunities abound with Polk County's four educational venues between Bartow and Lakeland. Check out a Civil War exhibit at the Polk History Center, or learn about the native wildlife at the Nature Discovery Center. Below is a listing of the locations and general information about the sites:
Polk County Historical and Genealogical Library
The Polk County Historical and Genealogical Library was first opened to the public in January of 1940. The library is one of the largest genealogical and historical collections in the Southeast United States.
100 E. Main St., Second Floor, Bartow, FL 33830
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, closed on all national holidays
An annual operating schedule is available at the library front desk. It is always best to call ahead if you are traveling long distances to use the facility. You can contact us at (863) 534-4380.
The Historical and Genealogical Library is part of the Polk County Library Cooperative. You can view our online catalog at the Library Cooperative website: Historical and Genealogical Catalog
For more information call (863) 534-4380, or fax (863) 534-4382.
Polk County History Center
The Polk County History Center opened its doors in 1998 in the Old Polk County Courthouse. The Museum serves the the community through special events, volunteer opportunities and educational programs. The History Center's exhibits and programs continue to grow and change as new information and artifacts become available.
100 E. Main St., Bartow, FL 33830
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
Nature Discovery Center
Polk's Nature Discovery Center within one of the county's most popular environmental areas, the Circle B Bar Reserve. The facilities at Circle B Bar Reserve were opened November 2008 and act as an information station for its visitors free of charge.
At the Nature Discovery Center visitors can learn about the surrounding local environment in an indoor setting. It's a popular destination for school groups, teachers and families and others wanting to learn more about Polk's natural environment. A variety of programs are designed for all ages to enhance your visit. If you are planning to bring a group of 10 participants or more, we request you schedule your visit with our office.
4399 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland, FL 33803
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday
For more information on programs visit Nature Discovery Center, or call (863) 668-4673.
Homeland Heritage Park
The Homeland Heritage Park offers a glimpse into the past as well as a unique setting for group outings. This 5-acre site is Polk County's only existing historical park. The park has many historical sites and buildings in period furnishings such as:
- Homeland School (1878)
- Old Homeland Methodist Church (1887)
- Former Methodist parsonage and church annex
- The Raulerson House (1880)
- The English family's log cabin and barn (1888)
249 Church Ave., Homeland, FL 33847
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; Rentals and guided tours are available by appointment call (863) 534-6911.