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Looking for educational things to do in St. Augustine?
For some reason when people vacation in Florida, they think of Disney World and the beaches. But there’s one little treasure that’s often overlooked: the world’s oldest city, St. Augustine!
The stunning town offers breathtaking views, rich history, plenty of unique shops and tons of educational activities.
It’s a “must-see” if you’re headed to Florida! The whole family will enjoy it.
The History of St. Augustine
Called the World’s Oldest City, St. Augustine was first officially settled in 1565, forty-two years before the English settlement of Jamestown and forty-five years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.
King Phillip II of Spain ordered Admiral General Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles to set sail for Florida and scout it from the Keys to its far northern border. The King also ordered Menendez to drive out any settlers who were not subject to the Spanish crown and set up a permanent colony. On August 28th, the Feast Day of St. Augustine, Menendez sailed through the inlet and named the area after the saint.
When most people think of American history they picture Boston and Philadelphia with their storied revolutionary history or the southern battlefields of the Civil War. With so many interesting historical sites scattered throughout the nation, Florida hardly ever makes the shortlist. But it should!
The epicenter of historical Florida is the city of St. Augustine. Founded in 1565, 42 years before the English set foot in Jamestown, St Augustine is a wonderful place for an educational and fun family vacation.
Whether you navigate “America’s Oldest City” of St. Augustine, Florida by private vehicle, foot, trolley, or horse and carriage, there’s plenty to see and do. Today, we’re covering just a few of the most fun and educational things to do in St. Augustine.
10 Educational Things To Do In St. Augustine
St. Augustine Lighthouse:
The St. Augustine Lighthouse is located across the bay on Anastasia Island. Visitors can climb the 219 steps to the top for a spectacular view of St. Augustine. A museum is also located on the grounds, and entry to the museum is from inside the gift shop. This is still a working lighthouse. The museum and access to climb the lighthouse are fee areas.
Castillo de San Marcos:
The Castillo de San Marcos was completed in the late 17th century. It has been guarding St. Augustine ever since. It has never been penetrated by an enemy and it is St. Augustine’s top attraction for many tourists. The “old fort” has been maintained by the National Park Service since 1933. Visitors can walk around the courtyard and climb the steps to the gun deck.
St. Augustine Alligator Farm:
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm is found on Anastasia Island, just two miles from the Bridge of Lions. In addition to the alligators, they show crocodiles, tropical birds, monkeys, and other animals. There are crocodilians from different parts of the world living here.
Dubbed the most scenic street in America, this one is worth the stop. Located in a quiet neighborhood, you don’t want to miss the gorgeous photos the trees provide!
Museum of Weapons and Early American History:
The Museum of Weapons and Early American History provides an interesting tour stop. Artifacts cover the Spanish and English periods of the town’s history. Therefore, in addition to the displays of firearms, there are curiosities that cover the 16th to 19th centuries. There is also an exhibit about the Civil War and artifacts of various shipwrecks.
The Governor’s House Museum:
The Governor’s House Museum has a small admission fee and is found near the historic plaza of the downtown area. The displays cover all of St. Augustine’s history and the museum’s home is the old governor’s mansion.
Fountain of Youth:
An attraction that delights tourists of all ages is the Fountain of Youth Park. There is an admission fee to the park and the fee covers everything on the grounds including a planetarium, Indian burial grounds, and a drink from the famed fountain itself.
St. George Street:
St. George Street is where to go for unique shopping experiences and for the “Old Spanish” atmosphere. There are so many interesting shops, you can easily spend a day just looking through the stores.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum:
Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, the original, is located in St. Augustine, and for a fee, tourists can take a trip into Ripley’s incredible world for a couple of hours. The museum is located in the “Castle Warden” building and covers three floors filled with exhibits.
Our favorite on the list of educational things to do in St. Augustine is visit Ford’s Garage! They offer delicious food and the atmosphere is like none other. A tire bathroom sink, onion rings served on funnels and door handles made from gas pumps are just a few of the fun details.