Florida: Home of Sports Hall of Fames

Florida is not only a state where 95 million vacationers visit to get some sunshine on the beaches, play some golf or tennis, or even go fishing; Florida is a state that hosts a number of great sports Hall of Fame.  They are tourist attractions in themselves.

The most spectacular is the World Golf Hall of Fame, 8 miles north of Saint Agustine, just off exit 323 of I-95. Surrounded by a golf course, this palace of golf’s immortals has eye-popping exhibits and just beautiful artwork.  There is even an amazing simulator that lets you play the most famous golf holes at the most famous golf courses on this planet.

floridatraveler GOLF HALL OF FAME

The Beautiful Golf Hall of Fame

The International Swimming Hall of Fame on Fort Lauderdale Beach is not just an amazing archive of books, medals, and artifacts of the sport of swimming; there is an Olympic pool and a research center for sport historians.  Visitors will be shocked to see the role of swimming in the careers of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

floridatraveler SWIMMING HALL OF FAME

Water Is A Major Factor at the International Swimming Hall of Fame

The IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum at 300 Gulf Stream Way in Dania will excite the average fisherman with its exhibits and paintings.  Kids will love the replicas of famous sport fish from around the world.  The fishing library is probably the largest in the world.

floridatraveler FISHING HALL OF FAME

The IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame

Not all Florida Halls are big time sports. Just off I-75 outside Ocala is the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame (also known as the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing). Not only are the drag racing greats honored in photographs and artifacts, some 60 incredible racing cars cover the entire history of the sport.  There are another 50 antique automobiles in the Garlits collection.

floridatraveler DRAG RACING

Big Daddy Garlits’ Dragster

The one Sports Hall of Fame that lacks visitors and identity is the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.  The Hall was once a feature at Cypress Gardens, then moved to Lake City in 1990, and finally rescued in 2008 by the City of Auburndale.  The Hall is located at the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex and despite its many exhibits and artifacts, few Floridians even know of its existence.

About floridatraveler

Historian and travel writer M. C. Bob Leonard makes the Sunshine State his home base. Besides serving as content editor for several textbook publishers and as an Emeritus college professor, he moderates the FHIC at www.floridahistory.org
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