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During our recent visit to the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, I did drink from the fountain, but the education we got was what was really priceless. I am amazed at how much you can learn in just one place! While we only had about an hour to explore the area, you could easily spend 3 hours there learning about and seeing all there is to see.
Make sure to pick up a show schedule for the day when you visit, because there are many shows and reenactments throughout the day that are both educational and entertaining, and the duration of each is not long, which is good for those who are short on time (like we were) or for families who have little ones with smaller attention spans. The actors are extremely knowledgeable about the park’s history and they do a really good job of answering questions at an age-appropriate level to keep children interested.
The first building you come to along the path is the Spring House where you’ll find the Fountain of Youth. We each took our turn taking a disposable cup, filling it with water from the spring, and drinking it, but I have seen no evidence of any youthfulness returning since our visit. So, make sure you also visit the other attractions and exhibits, as we did, and you’ll find your visit to be very worthwhile.
Make sure to climb up the replica 3-story-tall lookout tower so you can see how early Spanish settlers kept watch and guard against attacks. This does close periodically throughout the day to allow for the canon and musket firing demonstrations.
We enjoyed the hands-on displays for knot-tying and using pulleys and ropes to make lifting easier. Who knew that we’d be learning about the Principle of Mechanical Advantage? Certainly not me! This was certainly a true educational travel experience.
And I can’t write about our experience without including the peacocks. We were greeted by a couple of them as soon as we entered, admiring their beautiful colors. But what we quickly learned is that they scream! I had no idea peacocks made noise, but they were LOUD! Don’t worry, they were not in any pain or scared… it’s actually a mating call. Also, they can jump! We watched one jump from the ground to the roof of a building. It was quite amazing.
While the park is dog-friendly, you can not take your dog into any of the buildings and your dog must remain on the leash at all times. If you’re planning on visiting around lunchtime, I have heard Smoked. Southern BBQ, located in the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, is delicious, though we did not eat there during our visit.
Our visit to the Fountain of Youth may not have made us younger, but it sure made us smarter!
11 Magnolia Avenue, St. Augustine, Florida
Daily from 9:00am – 6:00pm (last ticket is sold at 5:00pm)
*I was provided with tickets for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are my own.