As you drive off the Okaloosa Island bridge into Downtown on Hwy.98 it's easy to miss this one-of-a-kind museum. The site is very densely vegetated with tall palm trees, huge old oak trees, whose spreading branches are hung with Spanish Moss, and many other leafy trees. This makes it almost impossible to see the huge, circular Indian Temple Mound, the imposing museum and the three other buildings that comprise this National Historic Landmark.
On our one week holiday to beaches of this area, my wife and I had driven past this location several times without noticing the museum, on our way to shop, eat at a local restaurant or on our way to another attraction. It wasn't until I looked on Tripadvisor for "Things.To Do" that my eye was caught by the favourable reviews. We decided to visit the next day on June 16. We were very glad we did, for this historic complex turned out to be quite interesting, informative and one that stirred the imagination.
Not only did we see an exhibit explaining the history of the very impressive earth mound, built by hand over several thousands of years by native inhabitants, but also depicts 10,000 years of Native American life in this part of Florida. We also toured the fascinating Civil War Exhibit, the 100-year-old Garner Post Office, and the quaint two-room, small wooden Camp Walton Schoolhouse where local kids were taught between 1918 and 1936. In it, we listened closely to the fascinating guide, a retired teacher, who told us all about the school, its long-ago teachers and pupils.
We left with a deeper appreciation of several aspects of local life spanning the millennia in this area. A visit to this amazing museum complex is highly recommended. At about $5 per person this is an attraction not to miss.