Saint Augustine Things to Do Tips by grandmaR
Saint Augustine Things to Do: 261 reviews and 579 photos
Church from the car
This building looks like it should be one of the historic buildings. And if you know the history of this church then you will see why it looks that way. The buildings were designed by Carrere and Hastings and erected by McGuire and McDonald, the same architects and contractors that planned and built the Flagler hotels and Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church. As to WHY...
The first church building for Grace United Methodist Church which was called Olivet Church was constructed on the corner of Tolomato (now known as Cordova St.) and King Streets in St. Augustine FL.
Mr. Flagler had started construction on the Ponce de Leon Hotel and envisioned a courtyard surrounded by three of his hotels. To accomplish that vision he needed the land where the Olivet Church stood. In 1886, he made a proposal to the trustees to donate the land on the corner of Carrera and Cordova streets and to build a church and parsonage on that site in exchange for the Olivet church land and building. The proposal was accepted and construction started in 1886.
So that's why it looks like a historic building.
Public tours are conducted mid-week through Saturday. The church is identified as station # 8 on the historic Saint Augustine tour
Address: 8 Carrera Street, St. Augustine FL 32084
Directions: • One Block North of Flagler College at Cordova Street
• Historical Stop # 8 on St. Augustine Historical Tour
Ponce de Leon hotel in 1954
Henry Morrison Flagler's wife, Mary, had always struggled with health problems, became very ill. She and Flagler visited Jacksonville, Florida for the winter. Unfortunately, Mary did not recover. She died on May 18, 1881 at age 47. Two years after Mary's death, Flagler married Ida Alice Shourds. Soon after their wedding, the couple traveled to St. Augustine, Florida, which they found charming but lacking in adequate hotel facilities and transportation systems.
Flagler believed that Florida had the potential to attract large numbers of tourists. So in 1885 he began construction of the 540-room Hotel Ponce de Leon. The hotel was a masterpiece of Spanish Renaissance architecture and the first major poured-in-place concrete building in the United States. The Edison Electric Company powered the building with steam heat and 4,000 electric lights, making the Ponce one of the nation’s first electrified buildings. Louis Comfort Tiffany is credited with the building’s interior design including the stained glass and mosaics. Murals were completed by George Willoughby Maynard and Virgilio Tojetti. This building is now known as Ponce de Leon Hall. The Hotel Ponce de Leon opened January 10, 1888 and was an instant success.
The hotel building is now a National Historic Landmark which serves as the centerpiece for the Flagler College.
The hotel was gifted to Flagler College when the institution was founded in 1968. The Office of Admissions welcomes guests to visit campus Monday through Friday. When you schedule your visit you will have the option to attend an Admissions Information Session followed by a campus tour or simply tour campus with one of our Student Ambassadors
Address: 63 Cordova Street.
Directions: Opposite Lightner Museum
Other Contact: 904-829-6481
Lightner Museum - modern times
I have not been to this museum since 1954 when I went with my parents. At that time, my dad mostly took photos of the buttons that were displayed because my grandmother collected buttons.
The usual quote which is repeated in various websites comes from the museum's initial webpage.
Relics of America's Gilded Age are elegantly exhibited on the museum's three floors. Costumes, furnishings, mechanical musical instruments and other artifacts give you a glimpse into 19th century daily life. The Lightner collection includes beautiful examples of cut glass, Victorian art glass and the stained glass work of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
The pictures of the Tiffany glass on their website look amazing, so this is definitely a place to go if you are interested in art deco, art nouveau or neo-classical design
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., daily
Last Admission: 4:00 p.m.
(closed Christmas Day)
11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday – Saturday
CHILDREN 12-18: $2.00
CHILDREN UNDER 12 (with adult): Free
Like most museums, they do have a store on site which offers books, jewelry, ornaments, notecards, reproduction antiques, children’s games and gifts.
Address: 75 King Street, St. Augustine, Florida 32084
Directions: Historic downtown St. Augustine
Address: Cathedral Pl
Directions: facing the plaza
One of the namesake Lions
This bascule bridge is the primary symbol of the city (along with the Fort).
Although, it is a 'thorn in the paw" of residents, and a pain in the stern for boaters it is also quite an important landmark. Traffic can get quite backed up on it during rush hour, and it is right across the access to the island side south of town. It has restricted opening hours, which can be very ideosyncratic and anyone going south of the ICW HAS to go under this bridge if they come into St. Augustine because the channel of the St. Augustine inlet shifts so much that it requires local knowledge to transit should one think about going south in the Atlantic Ocean.
Looking at it is free. I have a whole travelogue of pictures of the bridge. It is a symbol of the town.
From the Save Our Bridge website:
The Bridge of Lions is a Mediterranean style bascule bridge located in the heart of the National Historic Landmark District of St. Augustine, Florida, the nations oldest continuously occupied European settlement. The bridge, built in the Florida boom of the 1920's, with its graceful arches, tile-roofed towers and marble lions statues is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1976 it was recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the most significant bridges in Florida and in 1997 it was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of "America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Structures".
Address: Route 1
Beach in January
The City of St. Augustine is on a river, and not on the Atlantic. So there are no beaches in the city itself. You have to cross the Bridge of Lions to get out to St. Augustine Beach which is on the barrier island (Anastasia Island) which is just east of the historic city in order to get to beaches.
Now we are not beach people. Plus we normally visit St. Augustine in the fall (November) or spring (March) and we have been on a boat. But in 2005, we made a side trip to St. Augustine in January. We drove up A1A from Ormond Beach on a cold raw windy day. Not at all conducive to beach going. But we ate lunch at a beachfront restaurant, and I took some pictures.
Directions: East side of A1A on Anastasia Island
Fort from anchorage-digital photo
I first visited the Castillo de San Marcos in 1954 when my parents and I drove down to Florida.
In December 2000, the soldiers on the fort fired the fort guns (toward us in the anchorage) we thought of waving a white flag !!! (see Castillo de San Marcos Intro page for a film picture of this)
When we came back in March 2001, the fort was closed for renovation, and was still closed the following fall, so I had only seen it from the water until January 2005 when we drove to St. Augustine by car and visited the Castillo
The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is the oldest remaining European fortification in the continental United States. It is on 25 acres in downtown St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest continually occupied European settlement. Open to the public from 8:45 AM to 4:45 PM every day of the year except December 25. The grounds are closed from midnight to 5:30 am.
Admission price for adults is $5.00; children age 6-16 $2.00, and under age 6 Free. All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Senior U.S. citizens who have a National Park Service Golden Age Pass, holders of the Golden Access, Golden Eagle, and National Park Pass are admitted free, as are members of their immediate family as defined on the card's reverse side. All passes are sold at the fee booth.
We used the Golden Age pass to get in for free.
Address: 1 South Castillo Drive
Directions: The Castillo is located on A1A in downtown St. Augustine, just north of the Bridge of Lions
Phone: 905 829-6506 (ext 234 rangers)
Lighthouse from the Castillo
We see the black and white lighthouse every time we come across the harbor and go south to St. Augustine. I had seen it only from the car or boat. The second photo has an inset picture is from the river north of the St. Augustine Inlet. The main picture is from closer to the lighthouse in the inlet, but also farther west.
We visited the lighthouse in January 2005, but we did not climb to the top of the 165' tower. I didn't think my knees would take it or my heart either and later when I did climb the Key West lighthouse, I was proved more than right about that. It would have been fun to see the inlet from above though. Admission to the Museum and Tower is $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for Seniors and $5.00 for Children ages 5-11.
We had already seen the extensive exhibit at Ponce Lighthouse on the Fresnel lenses, so I wasn't really gung ho on paying the admission just to the Museum of $5 for adults, $4 for Seniors and $3 for Children ages 5-11.
The other thing you can see here is the artifacts from shipwrecks lost in the treacherous St. Augustine inlet.
Open daily from 9am to 6pm with extended summer and holiday hours
Address: 81 Lighthouse Ave
Front entrance of the Alligator Farm
On our way from lunch to meet friends in St. Augustine we passed the Alligator Farm. We didn't visit it as I thought of it mostly as a tourist trap. Had I known more about it, I might have been more interested.
Regular Admission Rates
Adults (12 and up) $ 17.95
Children ( Ages 5-11) $ 9.95
Wheelchairs (Adults) $ 8.98
Wheelchairs (Children) $ 4.98
AAA, Military and Senior Citizens
Get a printable discount coupon for 20% off the above admission rates.
Open every day from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m
Extended summer hours: 9 a.m.- 6 p.m
The full name for this facility which has has a large salt water crocodile and wading birds in addition to a white namesake alligator is evidently Alligator Farm and Zoological Park
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm is one of Florida’s oldest zoological attractions - it was founded in 1893.
According to the website, the Campbell acquisition c 1937, gave the facility specimens from the three oldest alligator attractions in Florida. In the following years, they acquired collections from the North Miami Zoo, the Daytona Beach Alligator Farm, the Daytona Airport Zoo and the Florida Museum of Natural History. The attraction became more than an alligator farm, for it included ostriches, crocodiles, Galapagos Tortoises, a variety of monkeys and birds, and many examples of Florida wildlife. The museum also contained a number of mounted marine and terrestrial specimens.
A nature trail was added to the park in the late 1970s. .. A roofed theater and an open amphitheater were constructed for formal exhibitions of snakes and alligators that included lectures on the reptiles’ habits and behavior. ...the rookery .. is home to wild and unconfined herons, ibis and egrets...
In 1993 the park was expanded to include "Land of Crocodiles". Here, all 23 species of the worlds’ crocodilians are exhibited in individual habitats. ..
Address: 999 Anastasia Blvd.
Directions: * From I-95, take S.R. 207 (Exit 311) and go east.
* Go 3.7 miles, turn right on S.R. 312.
* Go 3.6 miles, cross US 1-over the ICW bridge
* Turn left (North) on to A1A/Anastasia Blvd - 1 1/2 miles North on the left on A1A.
Phone: 904 824 6094
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