The Florida road trip that started in Daytona Beach continued on to St. Augustine. Known as the Historical Coast, there are stories to be told in every corner of this town. As we drove through, Kellen spotted Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and an old stone fort. Those two things alone were enough to sell him on St. Augustine, but there was even more to discover. We started out on the Old Town Trolley Tour.
The Old Town Trolley Tour is a Hop On, Hop Off guided tour of the town. The guide shares stories about the founders of the area, as well as history around many buildings in town. As the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine has some very interesting beginnings. At night you can board a Ghost Tour with them as well, but my son was not agreeable to that idea. You can also take Red Train Tours, Walking Tours and even Scenic Boat Tours in St. Augustine. If you want to ride in style, flag down a horse and buggy and get a ride around town.
The tour showed us the old jail, the Spanish Quarter, the oldest wooden school house and even the oldest resident of St. Augustine, the “Old Senator” Live Oak tree, that is 600 years old! We took a ride through the area that is home to the Fountain of Youth too.
When we reached the Castillo de San Marcos, we took our time to explore the oldest masonry fort in the Continental US. The fort was constructed in 1672 to act as protection from pirate attacks. In the years since then, the fort has changed hands and purposes many times. Today it sits as a tourist attraction and for a boy who loves history it is the place to go.
The Pirate and Treasure Museum is another great find in St. Augustine. Kids can shoot a real canon, pick up a gold bar and watch a show about Blackbeard. From there, head over to Potter’s Wax Museum to see over 150 wax figures. We finished our tour with a stop at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. Inside we found all kinds of weird and wonderful things, including a giant tarantula that gave me heart palpitations! Kellen was very excited to find this old movie machine. He saw one just like it on his favourite television show, Murdoch Mysteries, so he had to give it a try.
On our last day in St. Augustine, we visited the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park. Here we saw different types and sizes of alligators. We learned the difference between an alligator and a crocodile, watched feeding time for the alligators and saw more birds than we have ever seen in one place before in our lives.
During our stay at the Beacher’s Lodge, we learned of another exciting thing happening nearby. Right off of our balcony there was a beautiful beach, and on this beach were turtle nests. Of course you can’t touch turtle nests, and the likelihood of seeing any hatchlings is slim, but the knowledge that they were there was pretty cool. We were told to keep our curtains closed or lights off so that we didn’t confuse any hatchlings into following our lights instead of the light of the moon.
We finished our road trip by circling back to Daytona Beach before catching a flight home. Kellen was armed with all kinds of new information to share with his friends, and I’m looking at the calendar to figure out when we can return to the area.
Come back tomorrow to learn about some of the dining options in Daytona Beach and St. Augustine.