St. Augustine, Florida is home to Juan Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, the place once thought to be the famous sought-after fountain of youth. This 15-acre park offers 500 years of historic displays and exhibits and is one to not miss. History buffs will love all the accurate displays and interactive exhibits. For starters, you are offered a drink from the legendary fountain of youth. The water is not very tasty but am I looking younger yet?
It was on this site in 1565 that explorer Pedro Mendendez established the first successful European colony in the US. Today, the Fountain of Youth features visits to a native Indian village and a chance to see stars while learning early navigational methods in the Navigator’s Planetarium. The Nautical Traditions Exhibit features knot-tying and other interesting demos. Colorful and proud exotic peacocks roam the grounds amidst gorgeous oak, cedar, and magnolia trees; wherever you look in the park offers the perfect scenery. A wedding was taking place in the park’s beautiful courtyard and the venue was romantic.
The waterfront of Matanzas Bay (translates to Slaughter Bay) is a great place for photo ops. The 16th century Watchtower is located in that general vicinity as well as our favorite part of the park which was the cannon firing and period weapons demonstration. The cannon is fired in the Matanzas Bay, only a short distance away, yet the boom can be felt literally through your body. It is loud! The guides in their historical dress were helpful and friendly.
The Fountain of Youth is located at 11 Magnolia Avenue in the historic downtown and offers free parking. It is open daily 9AM-5PM. There is an on-site Five Flags Cafe that had a wide variety of foods and a gift shop. Get this, Fountain of Youth is pet-friendly. This feature gets a big thumbs up in my book!