Senior Center

Getting involved is as easy as a visit to the Tallahassee Senior Center. Think it is for the sedentary? Think again. The Senior Center is for anyone over 50 and serves up a menu of exciting opportunities for lifelong learning and activity.

Interested in art? Classes are offered in watercolor, pastels, oils, acrylics, landscapes and more. Artwork by mature artists living in Tallahassee and the surrounding area is displayed in three galleries at the Center and in a juried showcase. Woodcarving, ceramics, crafting, quilting, model ship building and working with clay are only a few of the craft courses available. When it comes to health and fitness, there are classes galore to fit every ability and need. In addition to regular exercise classes, the Center offers yoga, Tai Chi and Zumba. Discussion groups on books, current events, creative writing and languages (French, Spanish and German) provide even more outlets for inquiring minds.

Like to travel? In 2011 alone, the Senior Center organized trips to the Gulf of Mexico for dolphinwatching as well as to the Canadian Rockies, New England, Ireland and the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu.

Barbershop quartet, guitar, folk music, senior singers, bridge and ballroom, contra and line dancing are among other opportunities offered by the Center.

If this doesn’t whet your appetite — consider that this is just a short menu of all that is going on. Talk to anyone who is involved and they will tell you the Senior Center is the best thing that has happened to them. Learn more at

Art and Culture

Council on Culture & Arts (COCA)

The capital area offers an array of inspiring and engaging activities for people of all ages. COCA invites you to join us as we celebrate and support the rich cultural tapestry of our community. Explore the many ways to connect with us and the arts! – complete listing of events, festivals and happenings. Best one source for activities and events.


Seven Days of Opening Nights

Seven Days of Opening Nights is a performing-arts festival that takes place each February and spotlights Florida State University’s commitment to the arts — music, theatre, dance, visual art, film and literature. Now widely embraced as the high point on Tallahassee’s cultural calendar, the festival began in 1999, thanks to FSU President Sandy D’Alemberte, and was an immediate success with both the university and the Tallahassee community.


The Challenger Center

The Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee is a 32,000 square-foot facility located on beautiful Kleman Plaza in downtown Tallahassee. The Center is the K-12 outreach facility of the Florida A&M University – Florida State University College of Engineering and uses aerospace as a theme to foster long-term interest in math, science, engineering and technology; create positive learning experiences; and motivate students to pursue higher education and careers in these fields. To accomplish this mission, the Challenger Learning Center features a state-of-the-art Space Mission Simulator and utilizes the immersiveness of an IMAX® 3D Theatre and the Downtown Digital Dome Theatre & Planetarium. The Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee is part of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education international network


FSU Museum of Fine Arts

The mission of the Museum is twofold: to enrich the university and the community by exhibiting works of art which expand the understanding of art today and of the past and to serve as a teaching instrument for art instruction, particularly by holding exhibitions of informational value to students and the general public and by providing student artists with an arena to exhibit their work.


Tallahassee Little Theater

The Tallahassee Little Theatre, (TLT to the local thespian cognoscenti), is Tallahassee’s oldest and best community theatre. Every year, TLT puts on amazing plays and musicals. Since we’re a community theatre, the directors, actors and stage crew are your friends and neighbors, all working in their spare time to create comedies, tragedies, and dramas for you to enjoy.


Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center

The Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center is a multi-purpose convention and entertainment facility featuring a 12,500 seat arena, Luxury Suites and Club Seats and over 54,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibition space plus an arena view restaurant, Spotlight Grille. The Civic Center hosts a wide variety of concerts, family shows,Broadway shows, and sporting events including FSU Basketball (ACC).


Railroad Square Art Park

Railroad Square Art Park is Tallahassee’s great cultural resource. Hosting more than 50 studios, galleries and small shops, Railroad Square is the creative haven of many Tallahassee artists and other small businesses. Railroad Square operates at its own quaint pace most of the month and then puts on the city’s most exciting “First Friday Gallery Hop” on the first Friday of each month. Visit Railroad Square and you’ll find a thriving art park filled with galleries, working studios, shops and the only café in town that is built out of a real railroad caboose. Just inside the entrance is our first green space, a sculpture garden with memorial park benches. Next you’ll reach the loop road that leads you around the entire art park and through the various gallery “neighborhoods” within.


LeMoyne Center for the Visual Arts

LeMoyne is a center for the visual arts that provides fine art exhibitions, year round art classes, and special art-related cultural events for the citizens of Tallahassee and surrounding area. We hope you will visit soon and we look forward to seeing you.



Our cultural cup runneth over


I had the terrible misfortune of being sidelined by a broken leg during the most flat-out crazy-busy time of the cultural year — Seven Days of Opening Nights, February’s marathon of arts and entertainment.

I missed out on way more than one week of art, film, dance, music and performance art — from the get-go, when the festival was launched in 1999, Seven Days hijacked the calendar for most of the month.

I wasn’t back on my feet in time to make the rounds of this year’s Tallahassee Film Festival, which boasted packed screenings, glam-slammed after-parties and a cinematic lineup that earned rave reviews.

While healing, I have consoled myself with the thought that the Tallahassee cultural calendar doesn’t really have any blank spaces. There’s plenty to savor year-round.

Every month, there’s the popular First Friday Gallery Hop, sponsored by the Council on Culture & Arts. It draws throngs to area galleries and museums. It’s always a mob scene at funky, fun Railroad Square Art Park, where you can find out-there performance art, indie music, fine art and much more.

You can find a guide to all the arty parties in the Democrat’s weekly Limelight, as well as at COCA’s website at

If theater is your entertainment tipple, you can slake your thirst with productions by community theater groups, the acclaimed theater programs at FSU, FAMU and TCC, professional-quality Young Actors Theatre shows and the Civic Center’s professional Broadway Series. When theater season is in full swing, it’s possible to see two or three top-notch performances a week.

Dancers will find plenty to keep their feet moving, with ballet, salsa, tango (Tallahassee has its own Argentine Tango Society), old-time contra dance, Cajun, zydeco, swing and ballroom groups, as well as performances by FSU and FAMU’s renowned ballet, modern and Afro-Caribbean dance troupes. Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, founder of the famous dance ensemble Urban Bush Women, is on the dance faculty at FSU.

The music scene is rich and diverse, from the ever-changing indie scene to world music ensembles that keep far-flung musical traditions fresh to top-drawer jazz at B Sharp’s Jazz Cafe and the up-and-coming Hi Fi Jazz Cafe.

The Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra infuses classical music with contemporary zest, and groups such as the Tallahassee Community Chorus and Tallahassee Civic Chorale explore the choral canon.

The heralded Tallahassee Boys’ Choir has been joined by the Tallahassee Girls’ Choir of CHOICE, and area high schools boast award-winning singing groups.

And music-lovers will find that following their bliss is mighty light on the pocketbook — both FSU and FAMU offer recital seasons crammed with free performances.

Be sure to explore the culinary landscape, as well. Tallahassee has a vibrant, vital dining scene, with an increasing emphasis on locally grown, ingredients and fresh takes on classic cuisines at such establishments as Sage and Cypress.

The world is your dining oyster, whether you’re looking for creatively presented sushi, fresh Gulf seafood, spicy Thai and Vietnamese, classic Greek and Mediterranean, or other world cuisines.

There’s more, so much more, out there, and as soon as I am back on both feet, I’m jumping back into the thick of it. Peruse these listings and use them as your guide, and I’ll see you out there.

Kati Schardl is the assistant features editor for the Tallahassee Democrat and a long-time chronicler of, and participant in, the local cultural scene.



Challenger Learning Center: A 32,000 square foot facility in downtown Tallahassee featuring state-of-the-art Space Mission Simulator, a five-stories-tall IMAX Theatre and a digital, domed, high-definition Planetarium & Theatre. IMAX and planetarium shows begin on the hour, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-7 p.m. Sunday. Student, senior, and group discounts available. 200 S. Duval, Kleman Plaza. 645-STAR (7827) or 644-IMAX (4629),

Wild Adventures: Animal-oriented family theme park and zoo in Valdosta, Ga. Highlights include more than 50 rides and rollercoasters, the Splash Island water park and regularly scheduled concerts. Hours of operation vary; call or check online for details and prices. Daily and annual passes offered. (229) 219-7080,


Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park: On the hills overlooking Lake Hall, New York financier Alfred B. Maclay created a masterpiece of floral architecture. The 28-acre ornamental gardens contain the historic Maclay home, picnic/recreation area, boat ramp, fishing dock and 5 miles of hiking/bicycle/equestrian trails. Check at ranger-gatepost kiosk for list of programs and events. $6 per carload (up to eight people); extra people, walk-ins and bicyclists $2 per person. Open 8 a.m.-sunset daily. $4 per adult, $2 per child younger than 13, infants in arms admitted free. High bloom season at the gardens is Jan. 1-April 30. The Maclay House is usually open during that time, at no extra charge. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 3540 Thomasville Road. 487-4556,

Birdsong Nature Center: Featuring 565 acres of lush fields, wooded forests and swampland offering a pristine haven for birds and other native wildlife and 12 miles of nature trails well-suited for casual hiking. The center also has a butterfly garden, a small picnic area, and a bird window that allows up-close observation of native and migratory birds. Special events, such as nature walks and star-gazing treks, offered. Free to members. Nonmembers: $5, adults; $2.50, kids age 4-12. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday, North Meridian Road, 4 miles north of the Florida-Georgia border, (229) 377-4408.

Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratories Aquarium: View hundreds of living animals from the Gulf of Mexico – from invertebrates such as sponges, anemones, starfish, crabs and tunicates to fish such as sharks, sting rays, moray eels and black sea bass. Pick up and touch starfish, sea pansies, sand dollars, whelks, clams and more in touch-trays and tanks. $7.50, ages 12 and up; $6 65+; $5, ages 3-11; free, 3-under; call for group rates. 9 a.m.-5 .m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Sunday. Guided tours available by reservation. 222 Clark Drive off Highway 98, Panacea. 984-5297,

The Parks of Park Avenue: Seven in number and stretching along what, in territorial days, was known as 200-Foot Street, the string of downtown parks dates to the 1880s. The parks include Cherokee Park, E. Peck Green Park, McCarty Park and Ponce de Leon Park, which hosts the Downtown Marketplace. Tallahassee’s premier open-air market features arts, crafts, music, food, a farmers’ market and children’s activities. March-November, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays. Monroe Street and Park Avenue. Allen Thompson, 224-3252,

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge: Its 70,000 acres include coastal marshes, islands, tidal creeks and estuaries of seven North Florida rivers, and are home to a diverse community of plant and animal life. The refuge also has strong ties to a rich cultural past, and is home to the St. Marks Lighthouse. The Visitor Center presents a general overview of the refuge and a number of displays. $5 per car, dawn to dusk. Three miles south of U.S. Highway 98 on County Road 59. 925-6121,

Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy: Private nonprofit organization. Programs focus on wildlife research, conservation, land management, fire technology and education. Highlights include the 1895 Beadel House, the Jones Family Tenant House and Corn Crib, lush vegetation and a panoramic view of Lake Iamonia. Free admission. Beadel House tours are one Sunday a month. Group tours may be scheduled. Call 893-4153, ext. 264. Members may use nature trail and bird window Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Call or visit website for membership information. 13093 Henry Beadel Drive, off County Road 12. 893-4153,


Bradley’s Country Store: The Bradleys’ modest little shop in northeastern Leon County stands today as it did when it was built in 1927. The atmospheric store is also known for its sausage, grits, hogshead cheese, liver pudding, cracklings, coarse ground country milled grits and corn meal. A sure-fire, don’t-miss Tallahassee event is Bradley’s annual Old-Fashioned Fun Day each fall. 10655 Centerville Road, 12 miles northeast of Tallahassee. Closed Sundays. 893-1647, www.bradleys

The Capitol Downtown Cultural District: Ten blocks of culture and heritage which await exploration in the heart of downtown Tallahassee. Experience high quality museums of art, history and science, watch an IMAX movie, explore space in a planetarium, view public art, sculptures and memorials and more. Twenty-eight sites make up the district and hours of operation vary. 245-6300,

Brokaw-McDougall House: A “Gone with the Wind” kind of Classical Revival plantation home, built in 1856. The formal gardens were laid out in the 1850s. Today the house is used as a conference and event site. 329 N. Meridian St., 891-3900,

The Columns: The one-time home of William “Money” Williams, a wealthy banker, and now occupied by the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, this 1830s two-story is considered one of Florida’s finest remaining examples of Greek Revival architecture. 100 N. Duval St., 224-8116.

First Presbyterian Church: This Greek Revival church, completed in 1838, is one of the oldest buildings in Tallahassee. The Territorial government designated the sanctuary as an official refuge during the Seminole Indian Wars. 110 N. Adams St. 222-4504.

Florida Governor’s Mansion: This 1950s building is furnished with antiques and antique reproductions. The lushly landscaped grounds showcasing Florida’s native plants cover almost 3 acres. Tours available during legislative sessions and the holiday season. Year-round tours available by appointment. 700 N. Adams St., 922-4991,

Gallie’s Hall: Grocer Alexander Gallie brought culture to the 1870s capital city with this performance hall and its two-story iron gallery. Contained the first theater and only public hall in the city from the late 1800s into the 1900s. Minstrel shows, concerts and lectures were standard fare. Northeast corner, Jefferson and Adams streets.

Hernando DeSoto State Historic Site: The only confirmed DeSoto site in North America was discovered by state archaeologist Calvin Jones in 1987. Copper coins, links of chain-mail armor and glass trade beads dating to DeSoto’s visit were among some 40,000 artifacts found at the 1539-40 winter camp site. “DeSoto Winter Encampment” special event and activities held in January. 1022 DeSoto Park Drive. 245-6340.

Lapham-Patterson House: Fishscale shingles, oriental-style porch decorations, longleaf pine inlaid floors and walk-through stairway with cantilevered balcony make this an outstanding example of Victorian craftsmanship. The house contains no right angles, making it one-of-a-kind. Built in 1884-85, it was named a National Historic Landmark in 1975. $5 adults, $4.50 ages 62+, $2.50 children age 6-18. Call or check online for hours and tours. 626 N. Dawson St., Thomasville, Ga., (229) 225-4004.

Mission San Luis de Apalachee: A living history museum at the site of a 17th-century Apalachee Indian and Spanish settlement. The history of the area comes to life through presentations by costumed interpreters at this National Historic Landmark. Learn about 17th-century religion, civic affairs, cooking, gardening, blacksmithing, soldiering and other everyday activities. Reconstructions of the fort, Apalachee council house, church, friary and Spanish house show visitors what archaeology on site has taught us about the residents and their community over 300 years ago. A new visitor center with a retail shop, orientation theater and exhibits opened in December 2009. The new facility also offers classrooms and a large banquet hall with outdoor terrace for rental. Annual events include a Military Muster, May’s Chihuahua Parade, October’s Blessing of Animals and a December Commemorative Mass. Camps for children are offered as well as adult workshops, lectures, theatrical events and more. Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. $5 adults, $3 seniors 65+, $2 ages 6-17, free for under 6, members and active military. 2100 West Tennessee St., 245.6406,

Old City Cemetery: Opened in 1829, this cemetery became the final resting place for pioneers, slaves and members of both the Union and Confederate armies, plus several Florida governors. There’s a self-guided walking tour brochure at the entrance kiosk. Open sunrise to sunset. Park Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Adjoining the Old City Cemetery is St. John’s Episcopal Cemetery, founded in 1840 and the final resting place for Prince Achille Murat, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife. At the corner of Call Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

1884 Paxton House Museum: A Victorian bed and breakfast inn in Thomasville, Ga. Serving breakfast daily, tea Monday through Thursday, and Sunday brunch, all by reservation only. 445 Remington Ave., Thomasville. (229) 226-5197.

Pebble Hill Plantation: A tribute to the sporting life of the Deep South and home to extensive fine art, crystal, porcelain and other collections. Aside from the main house, the grounds include the Fire Engine House, Nurse’s Station, Log Cabin School, Plantation Store and Noah’s Ark (which houses Clinton Shepherd paintings of the animals of the Ark). Tours available. Grounds admission: $5 adults, $2 children 2-12, under 2 free. Main house: $10 adults, $4 children in grades 1-6, younger children not admitted. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Last tour begins at 3:45 p.m. Just south of Thomasville, Ga., on Highway 319. (229) 226-2344,

Historic and State Capitol: A contrast of Florida’s old and new. The Historic State Capitol, built in 1845 and restored to its 1902 appearance including its red-and-white-striped awnings, is a Classical Revival jewel. Surrounding it is the starkly modern New Capitol and satellite office buildings, built in the 1970s. The view from the 22nd-floor observation deck is a knockout. Tours are available at both. 400 Monroe St. at Apalachee Parkway Historic Capitol, 487-1902. New Capitol, 488-6167.

Supreme Court Building: An elegant neoclassic structure with imposing Doric columns dating to 1948, the state’s highest court was designed by James Gamble Rogers II of Yonge and Hart in Pensacola. Tours include the upper and lower rotunda areas, the courtroom, clerk’s office, library, portrait gallery and lawyer’s lounge. To schedule a tour, call 414-6106. 500 S. Duval St.