October 14, 2022
Amelia Island has plenty of stories to tell. Take a break from outdoor fun and take in these unique museums, featuring everything from an African-American environmentalist to plundering pirates!
Housed in the former Nassau County jail (you can still check out one of the cells) in the heart of Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach, the state’s first spoken history museum is an excellent place to get your introduction to the wild and wonderful history of the island. There’s a “Discovery Ship” area for children to explore life as a pirate, a choice of docent or self-guided tours, and exhibits featuring treasures from Amelia Island’s last 4000 years.
233 South 3rd St., (904) 261-7378
Insider Tip: Check out the ghost tours offered at 6pm every Friday. Meet your guide in the cemetery behind St. Peters’ church at 801 Atlantic Ave.
Discover the unique story of Florida’s historic African-American beach. American Beach was founded in 1935 by Afro American Insurance Company President A..L Lewis as a place for “relaxation and recreation without intimidation and humiliation” during the Jim Crow era. In its’ heyday in the 1940s and 50s, luminaries of Black America came to American Beach to perform in and enjoy the legendary Rendezvous club. Lewis’ great-granddaughter, MaVynee Oshun Betsch was an influential preservationist and environmentalist whose legacy is celebrated with a special exhibit.
1600 Julia St., (904) 510-7036
Insider Tip: In addition to visiting the museum, take a Coast One Tour to learn more fascinating facts about the southern end of Amelia Island.
Come and enjoy pinball machines from the 1950’s to the current day — this interactive museum offers more than 20 machines for you to play to your heart’s content. Fernandina Pinball Museum, Inc is dedicated to preserving the legacy of pinball from the early years of the twentieth century to the present.
2106 Sadler Rd., (904) 435-8424
Insider Tip: Play as much pinball as you want — but only on Fridays (10am-8pm) and Saturdays (12pm-8pm)
Located in a historic train depot at the foot of Centre Street, the Amelia Island Welcome Center is the place to begin your Amelia Island vacation. Ambassadors are on hand to help you make the most of your visit while the building itself has become a tourist attraction. Check out all eight flags that have flown over the island and learn the story of David Yulee, whose statue in front of the Welcome Center is fast becoming one of Amelia Island’s most popular places for a photo op.
102 Centre Street, (904) 277-0717
Insider Tip: The Welcome Center is open 364 days a year.
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