Central Florida is a unique region of the United States, with a culture and history that is distinct from other parts of the country. The area is home to a diverse population, with many different religious and cultural backgrounds. From the Protestant culture of the state to the influence of Caribbean, Latin American, Jewish and European cultures in larger cities like Miami, Orlando and Tampa, Central Florida has been heavily impacted by its inhabitants. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) won a class action lawsuit in 1990 that required educators to be trained to teach English to speakers of other languages (ESOL).
This has had a major effect on the culture of Central Florida, as well as its education system. In fact, the public education system identifies more than 200 native languages other than English that are spoken in students' homes. Exploring Central Florida's culture and history can be done through its art galleries. The Lake Wales Arts Council and the Polk State College Lakeland Art Gallery are two traditional spaces that offer tours of Christopher Still's murals on the history of Florida.
The Ringling complex also includes the couple's historic mansion, Ca d'Zan, and the Circus Museum, which pays homage to Florida's place in the history of traveling entertainment. The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation is another great place to learn about Florida's history since its inception. A visit to Tallahassee, the state capital, should also include a tour of the former 19th century Capitol building to see Florida's permanent and temporary art exhibitions. Sports are also an integral part of Central Florida's culture. The area is home to professional teams from major sports leagues, many professional teams from minor leagues, contenders and medalists for the Olympic Games, college conference teams and associations from major and small schools, and teams of active amateurs and individual sports. Finally, no exploration of Central Florida's culture would be complete without a visit to the world-famous Art Deco and Neo-Gothic legend of Lake Wales.
Built on the highest elevation in peninsular Florida, guests can walk in the shade of the tower that houses a carillon - an instrument composed of a series of bells played by a keyboard.