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Front of the museum at John Gorrie Museum State Park

Front of the museum at John Gorrie Museum State Park. Photo: Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Some people pay homage to movie stars, sports stars and iconic world leaders.

But the next time you find yourself turning on the air conditioner for an instant blast of a cool, refreshing breeze then it’s worth making a pledge to visit the John Gorrie Museum State Park.

Nestled within the heart of Apalachicola, this attractive state park champions the life of John Gorrie, a young physician who invented a mechanical refrigeration system during his work in the 1850s, to combat the effects of yellow fever in his patients.

Beautifully presented and well maintained the museum provides a fascinating insight into his life and invention, which is well worth visiting when you are in the area.

This Florida state park is also a lovely spot for a shaded picnic under cedar trees and has pleasant grounds to stroll around. It also houses several treasures for those into geo-seeking as well.

About The Park

Situated at 46 Sixth Street in Apalachicola, just a block from the U.S. 98, The John Gorrie State Museum is one of Florida’s more interesting state parks.

Based mainly around a museum, it champions and commemorates the man who pioneered the development of air conditioning and other cooling systems.

Reached via a 75 minute drive from Panama City and about a 90 minute drive from Tallahassee, the visitor center and the museum is open from Thursday through to Monday. Its hours of operation are from 9 am to 5 pm.

There is a $2 fee per person to enter the museum, which is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day.

Activities

During their time at the park, visitors can enjoy a range of recreational pursuits.

Below is a small selection of some of the things you see and can do during your time at John Gorrie Museum State Park.

Museum at John Gorrie Museum State Park

As you would expect, The John Gorrie Museum showcases the life of the man to whom it is named after.

A man ahead of his time, Gorrie received a successful US patent for his mechanical refrigeration system in 1851.

Through its exhibits and display, the museum highlights how he created the machine that revolutionized the lives of millions of people not just in America, but all around the world.

It documents his career as a medical doctor who worked towards eradicating yellow fever, as well as how he invented the ice machine. Which served as the basis for the modern air conditioner and the contemporary ice industry in general.

The museum even contains a replica of the original ice machine he invented. Which he subsequently used to treat patients in the 1850s who were suffering from the potentially deadly disease.

It also showcases sickrooms, complete with original medical instruments, that have been specifically re-created to provide visitors with an insight into how the treatment was administered.

As well as this display, the museum also houses a temporary exhibit that portrays how Florida’s State Parks have developed over the years.

It includes a wonderful collection of fascinating artifacts, historical photographs, images and film footage. As well as several other items of significance that point to how Florida’s State Park system has been maintained and flourished over the last 80+ years.

Walking at John Gorrie Museum State Park

The grounds of the John Gorrie Museum State Park are immaculately kept, so they are lovely to walk around.

Should you do this you will see some pretty flowers and rows of stately cedar trees, which also make for lovely photo opportunities.

When visiting the museum you might also want to use the walkway that will take you from the entrance across the street to where John Gorrie’s grave site is.

Geoseeking at John Gorrie Museum State Park

Geoseeking is a national phenomenon that has taken the country by storm in the last few years.

At the park several treasures have been hidden, which are best found by downloading their location coordinates on your hand held GPS device from the participating geocaching site.

This hi-tech treasure hunt of a game is arguably the most fun way to explore the park. While some of the caches are quite straightforward to find, others are a lot harder.

Once you have located them, be sure to replace the treasure with one of your own.

Picnicking at John Gorrie Museum State Park

If you would like to enjoy a picnic while you are at the park there is a lovely spot set up for this.

You will find it under the beautiful cedar trees that are right by the museum. Please note, the consumption of alcohol is not permitted there or anywhere within the park’s grounds

Pets at John Gorrie Museum State Park

Unfortunately pets are not allowed at John Gorrie Museum State Park. Service animals however, are welcome to join you.

To find out more about the park’s pet policy it would be worth contacting its main office.

Camping at John Gorrie Museum State Park

Unfortunately there are no camping facilities available at the park. However, there is lots of accommodation available in nearby Apalachicola.

There you will have a choice of many different hotels and motels that suit all budgets and styles, as well as holiday letting options such as that offered by Vrbo.

If you are specifically looking for a campground for your RV, trailer or tent, decent options are available at the Butcher Pen Landing/Camping and Coastline RV Resort.

Both of these are situated within easy driving distance of the park and offer everything from modern sites, that have hookups for water and electricity, to primitive plots that have little in the way of amenities or facilities.

Park Location

John Gorrie Museum State Park
46 6th St,
Apalachicola, FL 32320
Phone: 850.653.9347

Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at John Gorrie Museum State Park: