Visit the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, where you can delve into history, explore scenic grounds – and maybe capture eternal youth.
The Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine is legendary, known as the place where Ponce De Leon discovered the healing waters that magically maintain your youthful appearance. Drink from the magical spring’s waters, plus explore many exhibits and historical attractions at the 15-acre Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. The park is home to a Discovery Globe, Planetarium, Timucua Indian Exhibit, Spanish cannons, and Native Christian Burial Ground Exhibit.
When is the Fountain of Youth open?
The Fountain of Youth Archaeological park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
How much are tickets to see the Fountain of Youth?
General admission ticket costs: Adults: $18; Seniors $17; Children 6-12 $10; Children 5 and under Free. Special rates are available for St. Johns County Residents and for tour groups of ten or more. Parking is free and tickets include all exhibits.
How long does it take to explore the park?
Make sure to set aside enough time so you can explore the park at your leisure – we recommend at least two hours.
Is the park pet-friendly?
Yes, the park is pet-friendly!
Are there on-site dining options?
Yes, guests can enjoy farm-to-table dining options at Smoked Southern BBQ, the on-site restaurant. There are also picnic areas and a gift shop available.
What are the top things to do and see at the park?
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 and how he 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. Archeological 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.
What is the history behind the fountain of youth and the park?
When Spanish explorer Don Pedro Mendez de Aviles came ashore in 1565 to claim Florida for Spain, he and his crew established the first St. Augustine settlement along the shores of what is now this beautiful park. The land was the home of the Native Timucua Indians in the village they called Seloy. And they lived together peacefully for a time.
One of the first actions taken by the Spanish explorers was to serve a meal of celebration from food provisions stocked aboard their ship. They invited the Tiumucua Indians to join them. This was the very first feast of Thanksgiving held on September 8, 1565, in St. Augustine, 56 years before the pilgrims of Plymouth enjoyed a meal together in gratitude of their first harvest.
To learn more about the rich history of the birthplace of St. Augustine, annual archaeological digs take place at the Fountain of Youth each year. This historic land serves as both a sacred place of the past, and an attraction that immerses visitors in the Colonial experience.
Local Tip: Check out the view from the 35-foot watchtower and learn about how a light burning in a watchtower led to a fateful raid on the town in 1586 by Sir Francis Drake and his men.
Discover These Nearby Attractions Too:
- Just southwest of the park is the Mission of Nombre de Dios/Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche.
- Two blocks north of the park is the St. Augustine Old Jail, on the National Register of Historic Places and open to visitors as the Old Jail Museum.
- If you head south less than a mile on San Marco Avenue, you’ll come to Castillo de San Marcos, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museum and the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum.
- Just north of the park is the causeway to Vilano Beach.