Founded by the arrival of the Spanish in 1565 St Augustine is the oldest city in America. Pedro Menedez de Aviles proclaimed the site that is now the Mission Nombre de Dios for Spain and the church and it is where on 8 September 1565 Father Lopez performed the first mass.
A 200 ft steel cross was erected in 1965 to celebrate St Augustine’s quadricentennial.
From there we walked along to the oldest jail and general store. What we didn’t realise when we arrived is that you can’t just visit as and when you please, you have to go on a tour and tickets for both attractions are obtained from a central ticket booth. Surprisingly I don’t actually have any photographs of the old jail, although it’s not somewhere you’d ever want a judge to send you to. What really surprised me was that the Sherriff’s house was actually attached to the jail I can’t imagine how the Sherriff’s wife must’ve felt about that.
I do have some photographs of the general store,
from there you would collect your mail, do your shopping and you could also get the latest thing in home entertainment.
While we were outside Gator Bobs enjoying an ice-cream, we noticed this strange creature disappearing into a wooden beam,
scary looking thing isn’t it? When we enquired we were told it was a carpenter beetle, they can cause lots of damage so property is sprayed against them.
Our next stop was The Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park which commemorates the 1513 arrival of Juan Ponce de Leon and the legend of the Fountain of Youth. The site has been inhabited for over 3,000 years and excavations have revealed archaic shell mounds, parts of the Timicua town of Chief Seloy and the remains of a Spanish colony.
This is the ‘Fountain of Youth’, it’s pure spring water from deep within the earth and is filtered through limestone, yes we did try it, you can taste the minerals in it, sadly it didn’t knock a few years off either of us, ah well we tried!
We really enjoyed the Planetarium programme it shows the night sky as it would’ve been in Ponce De Leon’s time and how the sailors used the stars to navigate.
There was also a demonstration of old weaponry,
and a demonstration of firing
it was very interesting and very loud.
Near the weaponry demonstration area, there is a replica watch tower that would’ve been used by the colonists.
The statue represents Ponce de Leon and informational boards give information about the history of the area.
While we enjoyed the old jail and general store, the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is, if you like history, a much more interesting place to visit.
Have fun, we are!