1. The Fountain of Youth & Spring House
First things first. Take a drink of water from the legendary spring and see if you’ll enjoy eternal youth. Learn the history of Ponce de Leon’s search for the Fountain of Youth. The myth of the Fountain of Youth is actually a Taino Indian legend about a spring that was said to exist on the island of Bimini and a river, in what became known as Florida that would restore youth to those who bathed in their waters. Ponce’s quest was not to settle the new land, but to explore for gold and riches; however, he ultimately claimed “La Florida” for Spain. See the nostalgic dioramas depicting the first encounter of the Timucua residents and Spanish explorers.
2. Timucua Indian Exhibit
Ponce de Leon arrived from Spain in 1513, but the area’s history began long before that. Archaeological discoveries, including hut foundations and relics, point to Timucua habitation on the site for about 3,000 years. The Timucuans thrived in the abundant surroundings, hunting with bows and arrows, cultivating corn and pumpkins, and fishing from land and canoes.
Pay a visit to the Native Timucua Village of Seloy, where you can learn about how these Native Americans lived and hunted. Learn about their customs and sophisticated social structure.
Visit the planetarium, watch the show, and learn about how early explorers used the constellations to guide their long voyages at sea.
4. Discovery Globe
The glowing, two-story-high Discovery Globe traces the routes of Spanish explorers from Europe, across the vast Atlantic to the New World.
5. Exploring the Park
There’s a lot to see and do on the park’s scenic 15-acre waterfront grounds. Stroll beneath large live oaks, rest on a bench, enjoy a picnic under the shade trees, and wander along a 600-foot-long observation platform over the marshes. Among the wildlife you’ll encounter are peacocks and native birds. Don’t be surprised if you hear a loud boom – a Spanish cannon is fired regularly.