Explorations V Children’s Museum is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.  All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Children’s Museums are family magnets and Explorations V Children’s Museum is no exception. Founded in July 1991 by parent volunteers, Explorations V is located in the heart of historic downtown Lakeland, Florida. It is the only hands-on museum in Polk County dedicated to the education and cultural development of children and families.

Our mission is providing a hands-on, fun-filled adventure in learning for children and families through cultural exhibits, educational programs and events in the arts & sciences!

This is accomplished via three floors of kid-powered interactive exhibits and programs that celebrate the five senses, hence the “V” in the name. Exhibits & programs are designed with hidden learning concepts complementing Florida Sunshine State Standards for PreK through 5th grade. Art and science are the pathways for many learning concepts, freeing the child’s creativity and unleashing the power of play!

Explorations V opened in downtown Lakeland in 1991 and purchased the four story historic KressBuilding in 1998.  A capital campaign ensued and the new Museum debuted in 2000.  The Museum partners with schools, colleges, arts & cultural organizations, foundations, government, civic groups, individuals and corporations like Disney, Publix, United Way, Born Learning, Success by 6 and many others to provide engaging programs.  

First floor exhibits feature the vocabulary-rich “Our Town” with over eighteen exhibits.  Lower floor exhibits introduce children to local history and the world through “O” is for Oranges, From Seed to Our World.  Second floor features early science interactives, a small children’s art gallery and meeting, party and program rooms hosting daily programs, field trip workshops and out-of-school/afterschool camps. 

Daily in-house programs are fun & inclusive, and promote skills needed for academic readiness & advancement, social problem solving, self-control, fine and gross motor skills & creative expression.  The Museum conducts off-site programs including free weekly programs at Family Fundamentals, a center for the working uninsured.  All exhibits & programs complement Florida Sunshine State Standards and now, Common Core Standards.

The Museum is an approved field trip destination for several school districts and attracts home-school families, daycares, scouts, teen parent programs, members, locals and tourists.  Exhibits appeal to ages birth to twelve & families and new in July 2012, the Museum expanded to offer tutoring and test preparation services on the top floor, expanding the reach to all ages.  Top floor programs serve Kindergarten to adult through one-on-one or group sessions.  Assistance is offered in all subject areas plus SAT, ACT, GED and end-of-course exam prep.

Having conducted successful literacy programs resulting in measurable achievements in school readiness since 2008, the Museum began offering financial education classes for families two years later.  In partnership with United Way and local banks, programs help families achieve financial stability and are now offered countywide at partner agencies and area workplaces.

Museum admissions average more than 40,000 annually, with nearly 20,000 education program attendees and 40,000 outreach attendees for an average total impact of 100,000.

Explorations V Children’s Museum Awards & Accolades

Museum Awards

  • 2010 Golden Swan Award! Downtown Lakeland Partnership 
  • 2010 Blue Star Museum, National Endowment for the Arts 
  • 2009 Disney Shine On Award; “Helping Kids Shine” & “Ears to You” Awards in previous years 
  • 2009 “Mega Mike” featured “green” exhibit in Exhibitionist Journal published by National Assn for Museum Exhibition 
  • 2008-2010 Nickelodeon’s Parent’s Picks Award Nominee 
  • 2008 “Wacky Wednesday”, weekly cup cooking programs featured in Association of Children’s Museum’s (ACM) Good to Grow “Healthy Museums, Healthy Kids” book 
  • 2006 Lakeland “Year of the Museum” Proclamation 
  • 2003 Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) Met Life Promising Practice Award Honorable Mention 
  • 2002 United Arts of Central Florida Arts+ Award for Children’s Programs 
  • 2000 Library of Congress Local Legacy, Rep. Charles T. Canady (12th District) 


Individual Awards – Employees/Volunteers

  • 2014 FL Assn of Museums’ Outstanding Mid-Career Professional Winner – Sue Schluender
  • 2010 Polk Arts Alliance Community Arts Recognition Program Winner – Polly Kasprzak
  • 2009 FL Assn of Museums’ Outstanding New Professional Winner – Eddie Kleissler
  • 2008 ACM Diversity in Action Scholarship Winner – Angela Watson
  • 2008 Church Women United Human Rights Award – Georgann Carlton
  • 2008 Polk Arts Alliance Community Arts Recognition Program Winner – Dr. Donna Henricks
  • 2006 National Association of Women Business Owners Woman of Distinction Nominee – Georgann Carlton
  • 1996 FL Assn of Museum’s Outstanding New Professional Winner – Brenda Paul
  • 1995 FL Assn of Museum’s Outstanding New Professional Winner – Terisa Glover
The country’s first Children’s Museum was the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, founded in 1899!
The current Museum, housed in the historic Kress Building, is 6 times the size of the former Museum.

Explorations V Children’s Museum is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Programs sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.