Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Plant City, FL

  • Published 2022/11/01

Plant City presents itself as a diverse and vibrant “hometown” community in the northeast Hillsborough County of Florida.

Plant City’s history dates back to the mid-1800s and was incorporated in 1885, nearly two decades after the state was chartered.

The city was first named Ichepucksassa after the Indian village that once lived in the area.

Years later, it was renamed to honor Henry B. Plant, a railroad developer who extended the South Florida Railroad into Plant City when it was still a town in 1884.

Recognized as the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World, its main attraction is the annual Florida Strawberry Festival, which welcomes visitors from different parts of the world.

But aside from the Florida Strawberry Festival, there are more exciting attractions and scenic parks you shouldn’t miss in this city.

If you’re planning a vacation, here are the best things to do in Plant City, Florida!

Discover More Stories of the Past at Bing Rooming House African American Museum

Front view of Bing Rooming House African American Museum

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bing Rooming House African American Museum preserves and interprets the city’s African American history and help visitors to learn more about their experiences during the segregation period.

The museum’s namesake is Janie Wheeler Bing, who operated the historic Bing Rooming House and Seminole Restaurant.

The rooming house was built in 1928 and operated until 1975 to give overnight accommodations, while the restaurant was later added in 1931.

Nowadays, Bing Rooming House African American Museum houses exhibits and a Sports Hall of Fame to recognize local athletes.

There’s also a library of interview videos with local area senior citizens, supporting the museum’s advocacy to present history from a personal experience perspective.

You can visit Bing Rooming House African American Museum on South Allen Street.

Have a Strawberry-Filled Day at Parkesdale Farm Market

You don’t have to wait for the Florida Strawberry Festival to taste the best strawberries of Plant City.

Along West Baker Street, you can visit Parkesdale Farm Market, offering fresh strawberries since 1969.

What started as a small farm has now grown into an expansive farmer’s market where you can buy strawberries, citrus, and other local produce.

Parkesdale Farm Market attracts a lot of visitors from November through April in prime picking season and for its popular strawberry shortcake.

There are things in store for those visiting off-season, such as milkshakes, sundaes, and parfaits to beat the summer heat.

Also try bare-root strawberry plants, gift baskets, seasonings, garden decor, and more at Parkesdale Farm Market!

Revisit Plant City’s History at East Hillsborough Historical Society

East Hillsborough Historical Society is a place to learn more about the historical and cultural heritage of Plant City and Hillsborough County.

It’s located in the restored 1914 Plant City High School building along North Collins Street.

East Hillsborough Historical Society has a comprehensive collection of books, newspapers, artifacts, and other essential documents to help you understand the past events that have shaped the city.

Tour the 1914 High School Community Center, which has undergone little changes, and catch a glimpse into the lives of students who populated the school in the past.

The building hosts various activities and events throughout the year for more learning and recreational opportunities.

Learn Stories behind Photographs at Plant City Photo Archives and History Center

Plant City Photo Archives and History Center is a great place to visit for a glimpse of the past if you’re touring the historic downtown.

It preserves the history and heritage of the city and Central West Florida by collecting photographs and important documents and researching the stories behind these materials.

Plant City Photo Archives traces its roots back to 2000 after acquiring photographs of a longtime local photographer.

In 2010, the History Center and its library were added to collect significant documents and papers from the community.

Roam the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center 1,000-square-foot exhibit gallery with changing photos on display.

These are selected from the museum’s extensive collection of historical photographs featuring various subjects, from individuals and buildings to urban sights and landscapes.

Plant City Photo Archives and History Center is on South Evers Street, within walking distance of Bing Rooming House African American Museum.

Enjoy the Beauty of Unity in the Community Park

Unity in the Community Park is a remodeled 1,500-square-foot pocket park in South Collins Street, previously known as Collins Street Mural Park.

It’s named after a local non-profit organization that significantly contributed to the city.

Unity in the Community Park features major renovations, upgraded landscaping, and additional benches where you can relax and reflect while traversing the historic downtown.

The mural called “Reflections of Plant City” is a park highlight painted by artist Keith Goodson on the wall of Whistle Stop Gourmet Coffee & Eatery in 2021.

It presents the city’s notable figures and historic landmarks, walking you through from its humble beginnings in the strawberry fields up to its economic achievements in the present.

You’ll also find a sculpture, a donated flag pole, and a water fountain.

Hop Aboard Train History at Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum

Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum is housed at the historic Plant City Union Depot along North Palmer Street.

Built in 1909, the depot was instrumental in the development and growth of the city.

Plant City Union Depot served until 1971 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings in 1974.

Locomotive enthusiasts will have a blast at the Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum, which features a significant collection of railroad memorabilia.

Highlights of the museum include a restored Seaboard Air Line, No. 5735 Caboose built in 1963, and a 1942 Whitcomb Locomotive.

Don’t forget to come over to the Train Viewing Platform, just across the depot, for more railroad action!

Discover more about railroad history at Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum.

Spend Leisure Time at McCall Park

After you visit the Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum, you can unwind at McCall Park on North Collins Street.

Originally dedicated in 1971, McCall Park was rededicated in 1998 after its expansion.

It was named after Theodore Jeffers McCall, who began working as a fireman and motorcycle policeman in the 1920s and later served in different public positions.

As city manager, he made contributions to the growth and development of Plant City.

Many downtown events take place at McCall Park.

You may catch classic car shows, bike fest, and other non-profit special events here.

Go Back to Prehistoric Times at Dinosaur World Florida

View of  Dinosaur World Florida

Jana Taylor, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dinosaur World Florida prides itself as Central Florida’s only attraction focused on dinosaurs.

Find yourself in the presence of giants from the past in this popular spot on Harvey Tew Road, approximately 20 minutes from downtown Tampa or an hour from Orlando.

Kids will have fun at Dinosaur World Florida, featuring interactive exhibits, a Dino-themed playground, and a prehistoric museum.

Walk on boardwalks and take in vistas of natural areas with centuries-old oak trees.

Bring home a piece of Dinosaur World Florida with you by exploring its 7,000-square-foot gift shop that sells prehistoric artifacts, gorgeous geodes, and more!

Traveling with your furry friend?

Dinosaur World Florida welcomes friendly dogs on leashes, except in its museum with animatronics.

Since there’s no food service here, don’t forget to pack your snacks and drinks to enjoy after your walk with dinosaurs.

Embrace Nature at McIntosh Preserve

McIntosh Preserve aims to give its visitors a taste of Florida before development while preserving the state’s ancient environmental heritage.

Sprawling over 363 acres between Knights Griffin Road and Alexander Street, it was originally intended to serve as a natural stormwater treatment facility.

Plant City later decided to open McIntosh Preserve as an environmentally protected park, where you can spot a wide variety of plants and animal wildlife.

Explore its 2.2 miles of graded trails, relax with the natural views of the preserve, and learn about its resident living things through the signage at the park.

A 30-foot observation tower is a centerpiece offering panoramic vistas of McIntosh Preserve.

Explore and Meet the Animals at Keel Farms

Keel Farms was established in 1981 when Tampa landscaper Joe Keel started a plant nursery in the city.

The nursery then spanned 10 acres and transitioned from small plants to blueberries.

Today, Keel Farms sprawls over a 25-acre expanse on Thonotosassa Road and invites families and friends to a tour.

Learn more about its sustainable practices, take a relaxing stroll through its blueberry fields, and have a closer look at the farm animals in its backyard.

In addition, make dining reservations at Keel Farms to enjoy its farm-fresh menu after hours of exploring its grounds.

Taste Fine Wines at Keel & Curley Winery

While at Keel Farms, don’t miss the chance to taste its award-winning wines at Keel & Curley Winery!

Joe Keel founded Keel & Curley Winery in 2003 when he decided to try winemaking by using the leftover crop of that year’s blueberries.

The winery began only with just 10 gallons of homemade blueberry wine.

Now, it makes thousands of cases of fruit-based wines.

Keel & Curley Winery is available for wine tastings where you can try different flavors and learn more about each wine.

Keel Farms also offers behind-the-scenes tours of Keel & Curley Winery, together with Keel Farms Agrarian Ale & Cider, which was established in 2013.

It highlights modern and traditional beer styles.

Play Outdoors at Ellis-Methvin Park

Ellis-Methvin Park is an outdoor space located next to Otis M. Andrews Sports Complex providing different facilities for recreational activities.

The park was named for Dr. Roy Ellis and his wife, Bonnie Methvin Ellis, who sold the 46-acre land to the city in 2002 and donated to its development.

The park encompasses Plant City Tennis Center with clay courts and hard surface courts where you can play through reservation.

Ellis-Methvin Park has full-size soccer and football fields too.

Spend a fun time with family and friends with a basket of food at its picnic shelters while kids run around in the playground.

You can also enjoy a peaceful stroll on the 0.4-mile walking trail around the pond at Ellis-Methvin Park along East Cherry Street.

Stay Active at Mike E. Sansone Community Park

Mike E. Sansone Community Park is another highly visited outdoor spot with fields and courts for various sports.

The 77-acre park on North Park Road was named after local barber and patriot Mike E. Sansone, who remained an active local volunteer until his death in 1963.

The Mike E. Sansone Community Park is the home of Plant City Little League baseball and softball program and of a De Soto Trail commemorative kiosk by the National Park Service.

This park consists of baseball and softball fields, as well as basketball and sand volleyball courts for outdoor play.

If skating is your sport, there is a modular 8,500-square-foot skate park available for use.

In addition, picnic pavilions and a playground are accessible at Mike E. Sansone Community Park for family bonding.

A paved trail also winds through a wetland area for quiet walks.

Go Canoeing and Kayaking at Edward Medard Conservation Park

Edward Medard Conservation Park offers both water-based and land-based activities for people who seek adventure in nature.

It’s one of Hillsborough County’s largest regional parks found on Turkey Creek Road and was originally called Pleasant Grove Park and Reservoir.

You can rent canoes and kayaks at the park’s entry station to enjoy the 700-acre reservoir of Edward Medard Conservation Park.

For hikers and equestrians, there is a three-mile trail passing through different natural habitats.

Frisbee enthusiasts can practice their skills at the disc golf course, and there’s also the beach volleyball court for those who want to enjoy a game while taking in perfect sunset views.

If you plan to stay overnight, you may do so at its first-come, first-serve campsites available for RV and tent camping.

The campsites give you access to picnic tables, electricity, water, and public restrooms.

Take a break from the urban noise and check out Edward Medard Conservation Park.

Keep the Excitement Going with Jump Florida Skydiving

Just off Paul Buchman Highway, you can have an experience of a lifetime in the skies.

Jump Florida Skydiving has skydiving packages from 11,000 feet to 18,000 feet that will guarantee you an adrenaline-fueled adventure!

It’s a great place for first-time skydivers who look forward to feeling the thrill of free fall.

Jump Florida Skydiving has certified, experienced instructors to accompany you on your tandem skydive, from boarding the airplane up until landing.

Get ready to be treated to majestic views of Tampa, Orlando, and St. Pete right after you step out of the plane!

Remember to capture every moment of your first free fall jump on photos and videos.

Jump Florida Skydiving has a pictures and videos package in store so you can take a look back at the core memory you created during your visit to Plant City.

Final Thoughts

Indeed, there are many things to do in the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World other than getting there for its Florida Strawberry Festival.

Plant City offers a multitude of outdoor recreational opportunities with its beautiful parks, interesting landmarks, and amusement attractions.

A trip to this city is also a learning journey made possible by the informative museums and historical sites open to the public.

What are you waiting for?

Take this list as your sign to go on a break and experience the best things to do in Plant City, Florida!

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