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Florida Keys History & Discovery Center

Islander Resort is the proud home of the Florida Keys History & Discovery Center. This 7,500-square-foot museum and learning center is located at the north end of the property and offers visitors a fascinating look into the story of the Florida Keys. The rich pasts of the people, places, legends, and events that shaped our development are portrayed through a variety of interactive exhibits. 

The first floor focuses primarily on the Keys’ anthropological history, including the First Nations peoples, early Spanish treasure-seekers, pirates, and scavengers. Exhibits on our maritime history, Henry Flagler’s overseas railway, and the devastating Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 continue the narrative of development. Visitors can also take a closer look at the diversity of ocean life in the region via three aquariums featuring coral reef formations.

The museum’s second floor serves as an adaptable space that hosts touring exhibits. You’ll also find the Jerry Wilkinson Research Library here, as well as a 35-seat theater screening informative documentary films.  

The Florida Keys History & Discovery Center is a 7,500 square foot facility, located on the north end of the property of the Islander Resort. Open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10am –5pm. Islander Resorts guests will receive $2 off of general admission.

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The Discovery Center’s first floor focuses on a series of permanent exhibits exploring the vast history associated with the Upper Keys and includes: Legends of the Line, First People, Spanish Treasure Fleets, Pirates/Wreckers/Salvagers, Indian Key, Henry Flagler’s Over-Sea Railway, Stories of the Upper Keys and 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, as well as the unique coral reef ecosystem via three aquariums.

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The second floor of the museum operates as a rotating exhibit space and is also where you’ll find the Jerry Wilkinson Research Library and a state-of-the-art 35-seat movie theater featuring documentaries on Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railway, the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane and more!

Young child at a touchscreen display at the Mote Marine Laboratory Coral Reef Exploration Exhibit

Mote Marine Laboratory’s Coral Reef Exploration Exhibit

Time for Discovery!

Florida Keys History & Discovery Center is excited about the addition of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Coral Reef Exploration.

The comprehensive exhibit features three aquariums, educational storyboards, interactive kiosks and video monitors focused on providing both a beautiful and educational view of our unique coral reef ecosystem and the challenges it faces.

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The geographic emphasis is on the Upper Keys but encompasses other areas to tell the stories in a way that preserves our history in a meaningful, educational and entertaining manner. Major themes of interest are the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railway, as well as our fishing and maritime heritage.

We offer an annual lecture series, as well as undertake projects that fit with our mission and vision.

The Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization registered with the state of Florida for the purpose of developing and operating the Keys History & Discovery Center.

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The Coral Reef Exploration exhibit allows the Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation, which operates the Keys History & Discovery Center, to fulfill the mission of discovery within the only bricks-and-mortar history & discovery museum in the Upper Keys.

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The Foundation is partnered with Mote Marine Laboratory, also a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, to bring this engaging exhibit to life. In addition to their primary campus in Sarasota, Mote operates the Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration on Summerland Key and the Mote Living Reef Exhibit at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s Eco-Discovery Center in Key West.

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