Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing a shrine to speed

Special to the Orlando Sentinel
Don Garlits serves up history of drag racing

Tucked away near the sleepy town of Belleview just south of Ocala, the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing features the King of the Dragsters' prized racing machines, including the Swamp Rat XIV dragster, classic cars, trophies and memorabilia displayed in two buildings. The museum also features other drag-race drivers in the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame.

Big Daddy Don Garlits, a pioneer of drag racing, began racing in 1950 and won his first National Hot Rod Association race during Top Fuel at the 1963 Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. Overall, he has won 17 world championships, 144 national events and eight NHRA U.S. Nationals. He has also been recognized for designing and building his award-winning dragsters by The National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian.

The museum hosts events throughout the year, including Billetproof, a hot-rod hootenanny featuring classic cars, pinups and live music in March.

A visit to the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing isn't complete without taking home a keepsake from the gift shop. The store features Don Garlits merchandise, including T-shirts, posters and autographed souvenirs.

Admission: $35 adults; $30 students, military, veterans and seniors 60 and older; $15 for children ages 6 and older; and free for children ages 5 and younger.

If you go

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing

13700 SW 16th Ave., Ocala

352-245-8661

garlits.com

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Stetson Mansion: This private estate was built in 1886, making it the oldest luxury home in Florida.

1031 Camphor Lane, DeLand

386-383-3408

stetsonmansion.com

The Presidents Hall of Fame: Home of the White House replica and other presidential memorabilia.

123 N. U.S. Highway 27, Clermont

352-394-2836

thepresidentshalloffame.com

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