If history is your passion, don’t miss Heritage Village. One step into the 21-acre living history museum, with its native pine and palmetto landscape in Largo’s Pinewood Cultural Park, brings to mind what the earliest explorers must’ve felt when discovering this Florida peninsula.
The landscape is only the beginning. More than two dozen historic structures, ranging from the 1852 McMullen-Coachman Log Cabin, the oldest existing structure in Pinellas County, to the Queen Anne-style House of Seven Gables, are part of the museum’s collection. A school, church, railroad depot, general store, smokehouse and sugarcane-boiling shed add to the lineup.
Heritage Village is self-guided, but if you’re with a group, you can arrange for a guided tour that provides an overview of the museum: The historic buildings, period rooms and displays reveal cultures and early industries that shaped the area.
If you visit with kids, look for Ali Gator throughout the village. At each gator, there’s a hands-on activity designed to make learning history fun. Build a cattle pen at the sugar-cane field, “sail away” on a Sharpie sailboat or load luggage at the depot.
Stop into the Visitor Center to get a glimpse of local history. Exhibits include Pinellas Passport: Your Ticket through Time, a display of newspapers, souvenirs and other signs of development in Pinellas County, and Quick and Easy: Gadgets for the Home, which looks at tools for tackling chores.
Take a walk down the museum’s Native Plant Trail, which meanders through a pine habitat featuring plants early settlers used for food and shelter. If history is your thing, visit the Archives & Library to find a collection of more than 3,500 scrapbooks, maps and other items on topics like county history and genealogy, plus more than 8,500 photos of Pinellas.
Heritage Village also is the site of events and festivals, including the Fall Jubilee, Trees & Traditions, the Pinellas Folk Festival, the Florida African American Heritage Celebration and the National Quilting Celebration.