About Florida Industry


Designed for Students in Grades 4-8

What makes Florida a good place to raise cattle? What resources do we get from the forests around us? Did orange trees always grow here? Why was steam power important to 19th century Floridians?

The Florida Industry Tour gives students an introduction to some of Florida's early industries that were shaped by the natural resources of the Sunshine State.

A knowledgeable guide will lead your group's adventure through the Florida State Fairgrounds' permanent exhibits: Florida Cattle Ranching - 500 Years of Tradition, The Power of Steam and the Florida Forest Discovery Center. In addition, students will see antique steam engines, make a leather craft, explore the history of citrus in the Sunshine State, and take part in activities designed to complement the exhibits.

Please Note: This tour takes place in the Florida Forestry/Cattle Ranching exhibit building and the Steam Engine Pavilion. This tour does not include the Cracker Country living history museum. Groups wishing to walk through the living history museum are welcome to do so after the conclusion of their tour.

Time: 10:15am-12:30pm
Duration: 2 hours
Dates: Tuesday - Thursday on the following dates:
Fall: Oct. 17 - Nov. 30 (no tours on Nov. 9, and Nov. 20- Nov. 24)
Student Cost: $8 per student
Chaperones: One adult (teacher or chaperone) per ten students is required and admitted for free. Additional adults pay the student rate of $8.
Chaperone Letter

Please complete the following request for a reservation form. Note that no dates are guaranteed until after you have received a confirmation letter.
Registration Form

What to Expect

Tour Guide

When you arrive at the Fairgrounds, your group will be met by one of our docent guides, who will lead your group through activities and exhibits:
Florida Cattle Ranching: 500 Years of Tradition - This exhibit, which has toured the nation, is filled with artifacts and stories of the history of cattle ranching in Florida from the arrival of the Spanish to the present day.
Pack Like a Cowhunter - Decide what to pack for a cattle drive and make a leather craft to take home.
Liquid Sunshine - Explore the history of citrus in the Sunshine State and sample some home-grown orange juice.
What Is It? - Discover the functions of some of the equipment used in our industries in this interactive classroom activity.
Florida Forest Discovery Center - Go on a scavenger hunt to learn about the natural history and stewardship of Florida's forest lands.
The Power of Steam - Experience our collection of antique stationary steam engines!

Download a Map

  • Cowboy Boots

    Tour Objectives

    1. To immerse students in hands-on interpretations of some of Florida's early industries.
    2. For students to discover how Florida's natural terrain influenced the industries that developed in the Sunshine State.
    3. To explore with students how industries of the past have changed over time.
  • Wagon

    Hands-on Activities

    Research suggests (and teachers know!) that engaging students in a simple, hands-on task can prevent daydreaming and help to curb restlessness.
    Students learn in many different ways: visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, and social. Our field trips are designed to take advantage of all of the senses and learning styles by keeping the students moving through exhibits and involving them in activity stations.

  • Forestry Exhibit

    Appeals to a Variety
    of Learners

    Every learning style uses different parts of the brain. By involving more of the brain during learning, we remember more of what we learn:
    Visual: Students observe museum exhibits and photographs.
    Physical: Students participate in hands-on learning experiences.
    Verbal: Students are encouraged to ask questions and participate in answering questions.
    Aural: Docents share information and promote discussion at each exhibit and activity station.
  • Citrus Display

    Sunshine State Standards

    The Florida Industry Tour aligns with several Sunshine State Standards for Social Studies & Science:
    Grade 4 Standards: American History 4 + 6; Earth and Space Science Big Idea 6; Physical Science Big Idea 9 + 10
    Grade 5 Standards: American History 1, 3, 6; Economics 1; Physical Science Big Idea 9, 10, 13
    Grade 6 Standards: Physical Science Big Idea 13
    Grade 7 Standards: Georgraphy 2; Physical Science Big Idea 11
    Grade 8 Standards: American History 1 + 4; Physical Science Big Idea 9


Sample Tour Itinerary


10:00 Check-in
10:10 Introduction & Bathroom Break
10:30 Florida Cattle Ranching: 500 Years of Tradition
10:50 Pack Like a Cowhunter / Leather Craft
11:10 Florida Forest Discovery Center
11:30 Liquid Sunshine: Florida Citrus Display
11:50 The Power of Steam
12:10 What Is It? Industry Interactive Activity
12:30 Tour Ends
12:30 - 1:00 Shop in the Cracker Country General Store
& Picnic Lunch (optional)*

*At the conclusion of your tour, groups may choose to shop in the Cracker Country General Store, which will be open for your convenience from 12:30-1:30. Please inform us during the reservation process if your group plans to visit the store.

Groups are welcome to bring a picnic lunch. The Florida State Fair Authority provides picnic tables and restroom facilities. Please note there are no food services facilities on the Fairgrounds.

**Please Note: This tour takes place in the Florida Forestry/Cattle Ranching exhibit building and the Steam Engine Pavilion. This tour does not include the Cracker Country living history museum. Groups wishing to walk through the living history museum are welcome to do so after the conclusion of their tour.


General Store

General Store

The store will be open by reservation only from 12:30-1:30 pm. Please indicate on your tour reservation request if your group would like to visit the General Store.
In the Cracker Country General Store you will find a wide selection of historical toys, games, candy, books, 1890s reproductions and much more. Prices start at an affordable $0.30.

The General Store accepts cash, Visa, Master Card, and personal checks with ID. No checks or credit cards accepted from students.

Proceeds from sales in the General Store help support Cracker Country's education programs.


Policies and Payment

Group Size Minimum

A minimum of 15 participants is required for a field trip program. Groups with fewer participants may be booked for a minimum fee of $120.00 (equivalent to 15 paid admissions).


One adult (teacher or chaperone) per ten students is required and admitted for free. Additional adults pay the student rate of $8. Adults are responsible for the behavior of the group and are required to supervise and stay with students at all times during their visit to Cracker Country. All adult chaperones must arrive on time and enter Cracker Country with the school group. The gates into the Fairgrounds will be closed once the field trip program begins, so late chaperones cannot be admitted.


A $50 non-refundable deposit is due within 30 days of field trip registration. Program dates will not be held if deposit is not received within 30 days. Make checks payable to the Florida State Fair Authority and mail to: P.O. Box 11766 Tampa, Fl. 33680 The remaining balance, after subtracting the $50.00 deposit, will be due the day of your field trip. We recognize that student numbers can and do change, so fees will be adjusted based on the number of students attending the day of your tour. We regret that we are not able to accept purchase orders so please plan to pay by cash, check or credit card when you arrive.

Checks Payable

Please make all checks payable to the Florida State Fair Aurthority. Cracker Country also accepts cash, Visa and Master Cards.


Field trips may be rescheduled if alternate dates are available. Groups that reschedule 30 days or more after their registration date may be subject to a $25 rescheduling fee.


All cancellations must be in writing and emailed to Jennifer Wanecski or mailed to: Attn: Cracker Country
P.O. Box 11766
Tampa, Fl. 33680


Cracker Country field trips take place rain or shine. Please encourage your class to dress appropriately for outdoor activities.

In the event of severe weather... During heavy rain or severe weather Cracker Country may cancel your field trip the day of the tour by calling the phone number you provide. Due to Florida's quickly changing forecasts a decision to cancel will never be made prior to the date of your field trip. If Cracker Country cancels your field trip due to severe weather, we will make every effort to reschedule your group on an alternative date.

Food & Drink

No food or drink is permitted during the tour program. Please leave all lunches and coolers on the bus. There are water breaks built into your tour.


For the safety of historic artifacts and the comfort of all visitors, students are not allowed to wear backpacks. However, adults may bring bags if necessary.