Playing “I Spy” at the Lightner Museum in St Augustine, Florida

One of the surprise hits of our recent trip to St Augustine, Florida was our visit to the Lightner Museum. We had heard it was beautiful, but we were unsure if it would be family friendly. Secret’s out: it is! (Just keep the toddler crew contained in a stroller when exploring the glass rooms). The Lightner Museum is housed in the former Alcazar Hotel, which was commissioned by Henry Flagler, a prominent oil and railroad tycoon who is credited with designing and building much of St Augustine. The hotel was completed in 1888 by the same firm who designed the New York Public Library and was open until the early 1930s. The hotel included a three story ballroom, sulfur baths, and the largest indoor pool in the world (at the time). Many of the remains of these parts of the hotel can still be seen in the museum today.

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10 Ways to Explore the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Florida

One of the most well known attractions, and the oldest attraction in Florida (the guest book has signatures dating back to 1868) in St Augustine Florida is the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. The 15 acre park  is the original site of the oldest European settlement in the United States. In April 1513 Juan Ponce de Leon and his three ship fleet arrived at the area just above St Augustine  (beating out the Plymouth Pilgrims and Jamestown settlers!). Within the next 50 years, the Menendez Settlement and the first Christian Church were both founded. Today, the park has preserved some of the structures and added engaging, hands on exhibits, programs, and opportunities to learn about the first settlement and our country’s origins.

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