Before our little Gulfside town was a popular vacation destination, it was home to Native Americans, explorers, settlers, and even some local pirates. If you’re looking to add a splash of history and culture into your Emerald Coast getaway, then take a trip to the Heritage Park & Culture Center and step back in time.
The Heritage Park & Culture Center is a foundation whose mission is to preserve the history of Fort Walton Beach and the Northwest Florida area. The center prides itself on educating visitors on what was happening in our area from 14,000 B.C. through the 1950’s. At the Culture Center, you are able to experience the long standing traditions from the area through exhibits, educational programs, various publications, and special events.
Guests come from all over to experience sights such as the Fort Walton Temple Mound, the Indian Temple Mound Museum, Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum, Garnier Post Office Museum, and the Civil War Exhibit as part of The Heritage Park & Culture Center.
In the center of the park, you will find the Fort Walton Beach Temple Mound, which is a prehistoric structure built by the Native Americans who inhabited the area. It is believed that the mound was built to serve as a political and ceremonial center. This mound is part of a large mound group that was built along the coast of the Santa Rosa Sound.
The Indian Temple Mound Museum, founded in 1961, is located next to the Fort Walton Temple Mound. This museum showcases over 12,000 years of Native American culture with over 1,000 stone, bone, clay, and shell artifacts. Other exhibits in the museum showcase artifacts from European Explorers, local pirates, and the area’s early settlers.
About a one minute walk from the Heritage Park & Culture Center is the historic Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum. This museum is home to a historical item from the early days of Camp Walton and the education system during the early 1900’s. Directly behind the schoolhouse, you will find one of the oldest surviving post offices in Northwest Florida, the Garnier Post Office which was built in 1918.
Fort Walton Beach offers unique history and an experience to immerse yourself in the culture that you won’t find anywhere else. The Heritage Park & Culture Center is an Emerald Coast experience you just can’t miss!