Adult Group Tours
A Day at the Museum
Welcome to Punta Gorda, home of the Military Heritage Museum. Your journey to the museum will most likely take you through the city of Punta Gorda; a historic town that lies along beautiful Charlotte Harbor. Streets lined with huge royal palms, beautifully restored period homes with wide verandas, brick lanes, streetlamps and benches leave an almost tangible old-Florida atmosphere.
The Military Heritage Museum’s purpose is to honor all who serve. From the Revolutionary War through modern conflicts, and across all five military branches, the Museum utilizes multiple methods to educate its visitors on the heritage aspects of U.S. military history. Through a blend of integrating artifacts, veteran museum guides, computer-interactive, graphics, live performance, and audiovisual, the Military Heritage Museum provides unique innovative experiences in its 17,000 sqft. facility.
Heading west on West Marion Avenue you will soon come upon the Military Heritage Museum entrance on your right, just before the main entrance to Fishermen’s Village, a top tourist and shopping attraction in southwest Florida. You will find parking both underneath the main museum building as well as in the nearby Fishermen’s Village parking areas. The museum is just a short walk from Fishermen’s Village along a scenic pathway with great harbor views.
As you enter the grand atrium of the Military Heritage Museum you will be greeted by our friendly volunteer veterans who serve as museum guides along with staff at the Welcome Center. At the Welcome Center you will have an opportunity to select from a variety of tours and programs being offered that day.
One of the most popular tours begins with a tour of the Heritage Galleries found on the first floor. After viewing our special exhibit in the Atrium, you head towards the Gulf Theater to view our Tall Ship and Aviation exhibits. While there, take a peek in the beautiful 247-seat Gulf Theater where weekly documentaries and shows are held all year.
“If you haven’t been to the NEW Military Heritage Museum yet, you haven’t been to the Military Heritage Museum! If you think you’ve ‘been there done that’, you
haven’t. Like most people in PGI, I’ve been to the museum when it was located on Fishermen’s Village pier. I can assure you that there’s no comparison. It’s easily one
of the best entertainment values around.” – Mark K. 7/19/2019
From there your journey takes you back through the Atrium to begin your walk-through history. This part of the tour provides an interactive journey through three period rooms of exhibits and displays, beginning with pre-Revolutionary U.S. military history through 20th century exhibits, right up to modern conflicts. With thousands of artifacts, graphics, videos, realistic dioramas and touch screens, the gallery experience is unparalleled in southwest Florida.
Nearby, the Hall of Heroes is a special gallery dedicated in honor and remembrance of many great leaders in our history. This gallery also tells the stories of the Florida Medal of Honor recipients and shares the video stories of veterans from southwest Florida in the Witness to War video interview exhibit.
Along your journey on the first floor, you will find the fully stocked Ship’s Store with its souvenirs, books, and other military themed merchandise. Feel free to relax at our tables inside the P-51 Club, as well as outside along our veranda with its nice views of the marina and harbor.
On the second level become a part of U.S. military history through simulations and virtual reality utilizing our aircraft, tank, and range simulators. In the AIT School, “fly” an F-16 Fighting Falcon or P-51 Mustang, command the helm of a Navy destroyer, experience the smokeless laser gun range, or drive a tank – four incredible simulation experiences.
The second level also includes the War Room, home of the Museum’s Kids Discovery Zone and virtual reality exhibits. Take a “parachute jump” or “command a tank” are two virtual reality experiences you do not want to miss. Also explore inside and outside the International Space Station and perform a spacewalk. The second floor also includes the full-service Academy Library with over 5,000 books and publications to explore as well as the military ancestry research stations utilizing the Fold3 program.
For group tours the standard experience would include the following specific activities:
• Self-guided or veteran docent lead tour of Heritage Galleries
• Movie or documentary in the Gulf Theater
• 360° Google Expedition in the War Room
• Flight Simulators in the AIT School
• Virtual Reality experience in the War Room
• Academy Library ancestry research utilizing Fold3
The specific activity focus and length would be tailored around the needs of the group.
Groups may wish to bring their own lunch and snacks, though the Museum does offer the ability to provide lunch or other snacks for an additional fee. There are designated tables and seating areas set aside for groups to enjoy lunch as well as The Ship’s Store for souvenirs.
“We must never forget our heritage and our heroes of this country. This facility is very beautiful. Several hands-on virtual reality interactions make it really cool!” –
Museum Program Areas
• Academy Library: multiple activities including historic books and periodicals, online research, video viewing stations, and hands-on activities – both independent and facility learning. Groups up to 15.
• Hall of Heroes: facilitated re-enactment of key moments in U.S. History. Groups up to 15.
• Heritage Galleries: facilitated tours through three unique galleries from the Revolutionary War through current conflicts, special exhibit area and hall exhibits. Three groups of 8 to 10.
• Advanced Individual Training School (AIT): immersive aircraft, marine and land simulations. Activities: Aircraft simulators, naval simulator, smokeless laser gun range. Certain activities designed for ages 10 and up.
• War Room: facilitated 360° experiences utilizing Google Expeditions, artifacts, graphics, and video. Virtual Reality headsets with unique experiences from different military branches. Learn what life was like as a Minute Man, travel to the beaches of Normandy where D-Day took place, or travel to the International Space Station. Certain activities designed for ages 10 and up. Learn about 8 iconic battles from the Revolutionary War through Operation Desert Storm. Activities: Facilitated expedition to topic related location, virtual reality halo jump, battle with laser tanks, learn about iconic battles.
• Gulf Theater: movies, lectures,documentaries, live performance. Seating for 247.
• Flag Plaza: facilitated activity demonstrating flag etiquette. Groups up to 10.
A day at the museum provides opportunities for visitors of all ages. Many families visit our museum and enjoy the variety of activities available. The museum also offers great educational opportunity for children, college students, and anyone else looking to better understand military history and heritage. Average visits last anywhere from 2 hours to an entire day.
Between the ever-changing variety of program offerings available in the theater and other areas of the Military Heritage Museum, our special and rotating exhibits, and the many simulated activities available throughout the second floor, there is more than enough reason to keep coming back.