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Educational Venues

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Learning opportunities abound with Polk County’s four educational venues in 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.

Homeland Heritage Park

Homeland Heritage Park offers a glimpse into the past as well as a unique setting for group outings. This five-acre site is Polk County’s only existing historical park. The park has buildings in period furnishings:

  • 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)

Rentals and guided tours are available by appointment. Call (863) 534-6911.

Location: 249 Church Ave., Homeland, FL 33847
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Polk County Historical and Genealogical Library

The Polk County Historical and Genealogical Library was first opened to the public in January 1940. The library is one of the largest genealogical and historical collections in the Southeast United States.

Location: 100 E. Main St., Second Floor, Bartow, FL 33830

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday,  9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (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.

Online Catalog: The Historical and Genealogical Library is part of the Polk County Library Cooperative. You can view our online catalog at the Library Cooperative website.

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 former Polk County Courthouse. The museum serves 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.

Location: 100 E. Main St., Bartow, FL 33830

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Nature Discovery Center

Polk’s Nature Discovery Center is within one of the county’s most popular environmental lands, 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, 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.

For more information on programs, visit Nature Discovery Center, or call (863) 668-4673.

Location: 4399 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland, FL 33803

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.