Historic ‘Old’ Attractions in the Old City of St. Augustine
Popular Sites in America’s Oldest City Include Oldest House, Old Jail, Castillo de San Marcos and the Fountain of Youth
Those "oldest" places?
At The Oldest House, a National Historic Landmark dating from the early 1700s, walls are made of coquina, the same somewhat-rare sedimentary rock that was quarried locally to build the Castillo de San Marcos.
The Authentic Old Jail reveals the rigors of incarceration during a time of heavy manacles and ball-and-chains. Also ancient, but without the "old" designation in their name, are the Mission of Nombre de Dios (from the founding of St. Augustine in 1565) and the fearsome fort and prison Castillo de San Marcos (1695).
Fort Matanzas National Monument, located 15 miles south of St. Augustine, was built in 1740 to guard the southern entrance to the city. Kids especially enjoy the free ferry ride across Matanzas Bay to Rattlesnake Island to tour the fort. Less fearsome, just north of the city, is the site of America’s first free black community, formed in 1738. Though today only sand remains of Fort Mose, an exhibit at Ponce de Leon Mall tells the entire story.
Stroll down Aviles Street, the oldest street in the United States, and discover untold history as guides demonstrate "cutting edge" colonial surgery techniques at the Spanish Military Hospital Museum. Even shopping celebrates history at antiquarian bookstores, antique shops and art galleries, many located in historic buildings.
Kids adore Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth at the National Archeological Park and, big-eyed, emit huffs of awe at the sight of huge gators at The Alligator Farm and Zoological Park. And let’s not forget Marineland Dolphin Adventure! When Marineland Dolphin Adventure first opened its doors in 1938, it was the world’s largest oceanarium.