A day at the Military Heritage Museum is full of activities and learning opportunities for visitors of all ages. With thousands of artifacts, graphics, videos, realistic dioramas, touch screens, virtual reality and simulator experiences, an amazing library with genealogy access, and so much more, this interactive experience is unparalleled in southwest Florida.
Your journey to the Museum will take you through Punta Gorda, a historic town on beautiful Charlotte Harbor. The Museum is in the Historic District, where the streets are lined with huge royal palms and beautifully restored period homes with wide verandas
You will find parking both underneath the main museum building and at the nearby Fishermen’s Village parking areas, which are just a short walk along a scenic pathway with great harbor views. You can also take a Fishermen’s Village free golf cart ride from the Village to the museum and back by calling 941-456-3883.
The front entrance opens to the Welcome Center where you will be greeted by friendly volunteer veterans who serve as guides, along with the Museum staff. An elevator is available from the covered parking area to the first floor; the front desk is just around the corner. Admission is $12 for adults and $10 for Military personnel.
Too Much to See
Everywhere you look, there’s something fascinating to see, do, and experience!
Enjoy the rotating special exhibit in the atrium, then follow the photos and video screen to check out the amazing donated collections of model ships and airplanes located near the Gulf Theater. Speaking of which, keep your eye on their entertainment schedule, which features live musical entertainment, lectures and meetings, and stage plays like the upcoming A Midsummer Night’s Dream and A Raisin in the Sun, both scheduled for January 2021.
The largest exhibit on the first level encompasses three unique galleries which take the visitor from the Revolutionary War through modern conflicts.
Across the hall is the fully stocked Ship’s Store. In addition to souvenirs, books, and other military-themed offerings, you will also find tasty refreshments. You can relax at the tables inside, as well as outside along the veranda with its nice views of the marina and harbor.
Leading back to the elevator is the Letters from Home wall, a fascinating and poignant collection of genuine correspondence, and the Hall of Heroes and its special Medal of Honor exhibit. The Hall of Heroes is an incredibly special gallery dedicated in honor and remembrance of many great leaders in our history. It also tells the stories of the Florida Medal of Honor recipients as well as the museum’s Wall of Warriors designees.
On the second level, become part of history through simulations and virtual reality utilizing aircraft, tank, and range simulators!
In the Advanced Individual Training School, “fly” a F-16 or P-51 Mustang, command the helm of a Navy destroyer, take a parachute jump, experience the laser range, or drive a tank – four incredible simulations and virtual reality experiences.
The second level also includes the War Room, home of the Museum’s Kids Discovery Zone and virtual reality exhibits as well as the full-service Academy Library with its over 5000 books and publications and computer-interactive activities.
The museum also offers a great educational opportunity for children, college students, and anyone else looking to better understand military history and heritage.
Come On Back!
The average visit lasts anywhere from a couple of hours to an entire day, so if you’re in the area for a longer period of time, you might consider making multiple visits. Between the ever-changing variety of program offerings available in the theater and other areas of the museum, the special and rotating exhibits and the many simulated activities available throughout the Future Force Academy, there is more than enough reason to keep going back!