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Fountain of Youth in Florida
Information on Visiting St. Augustine's Fountain of Youth - Tips from a Local
Where is the Fountain of Youth? It's in St. Augustine, Florida of course! It's near my home and it's one of my favorite places.
The idea of a youth-restoring fountain is a bit mysterious isn't it? The legend so intrigued a Spanish explorer, Juan Ponce de Leon, that he sailed from the Caribbean north searching for it way back in 1513. What did he find? Florida!
Today, The Fountain of Youth Archeological Park sits in the very place where Ponce de Leon may have come ashore seeking the spring in hopes of acquiring perpetual youth. Read more about the park and visitor information here.
With the release of the new Pirates of the Caribbean, Fountain of Youth movie (officially named "On Stranger Tides"), I'm very curious if the park will have any special acknowledgment of it.
My Favorite Place at the Park - Out by the Water
Walking the park grounds, I feel that bit of historical mystery and romance especially at the water's edge. I wonder and imagine if the place I'm standing is exactly where Juan Ponce de Leon came ashore in search of the Fountain of Youth.
What is the Fountain of Youth?
And who is Ponce de Leon?
The Fountain of Youth is a legendary? natural water spring that restores youth to those who drink from it or bathe in it. The story of the Fountain of Youth is attached to Ponce de Leon, a Spanish explorer, who sailed from the Caribbean to Florida in search of the fountain in 1513.
It is widely believed that Ponce de Leon came ashore in St. Augustine, Florida although some speculate he may have come ashore south of St. Augustine at Ponce Inlet or even below that at Melbourne, Florida. If you take a tour at the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park you will probably feel convinced that St. Augustine is indeed where he landed.
Interestingly, when Ponce de Leon spotted the land of Florida from his sailing vessel, he believed that he was seeing an island. After staying for 5 days, he and his party of 200 men turned south to further explore the coast of the "island."
Ponce de Leon never found the Fountain of Youth. But if you visit the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Florida, there is indeed a well (where the spring used to be) and you can drink from it.
Statue of Spanish Explorer Ponce de Leon at the Fountain of Youth - Main Path to the Water
Location, Hours, Entrance Fees
Don't wait to visit - St. Augustine is awesome!
Location: St. Augustine, Florida
Hours: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Adult - $10.00
Seniors (over 60) - $9.00
Child (6-12) - $6.00
Child (under 6) - FREE
St. Johns County Residents: Free
Open every day of the year, except Christmas.
Here's a photo of my daughter with a historical figure at the entrance. Sometimes you will see folks dressed up in period clothing around the Fountain of Youth (and all over town!). They are glad to take pictures with you!
Exhibits to Enjoy at the Fountain of Youth - These are in no particular order
I don't want to say too much here. The exhibits will speak for themselves when you visit. Here's a short description of several things to enjoy at the Fountain of Youth.
- Spring House: Here's a photo I took on our most recent visit. A tour guide is available to answer questions about the history of the park and to discuss archeological finds supporting the claim that St. Augustine is indeed where Ponce de Leon came ashore. ==>This is where you can drink from the spring (well, actually the spring dried up in the late 1800's and now the water is pumped up from a well).
- Discovery Globe: Sit on a bench and the lights go dark. See a huge globe turn while learning more history.
This photo used under Creative Commons from Jim Moore on Flickr
- Timucua Village: Before Ponce de Leon arrived, the indigenous Timucua people lived where the park is now. See a replica of their village.
- Cannon Firing: The boys will love this one. See a costumed person fire a cannon (well, almost) out by the water.
What Will the Kids Enjoy?
What will they remember about the Fountain of Youth?
The peacocks! That's not what you thought I was going to say is it? But it's true. Peafowl roam the grounds of the park. Male peafowl, called Peacocks, display their amazing tails as they dance for the lady peahens. Every once in a while they will let out their signature call which sounds like wailing cats. I'm not sure how the peafowl became part of the Fountain of Youth expereince, but I'll research that and add it here.
The last time we visited I took a video of a magnificent peacock dance and display. Watch it below.
Peacock Struts His Stuff - A Video I Took - Something unexpected at the park
Where to Eat Lunch - A Few Options
There are three options for lunch plans. What we have personally done is take our lunch and eat at a picnic table inside the park. Save your ticket stub if you need to go to the car to get a cooler. There's also a small outdoor snack hut near the ticket window on the outside of the park. I've never personally eaten there, but usually see folks sitting and enjoying a snack and a drink as we walk by.
For eating out, there are more restaurants in St. Augustine than I can list! A short hop downtown and you'll be surrounded by restaurants and snack shops. If you are in tourist mode, I'd recommend going to one of these and absorb more of the history of St. Augustine while you eat and walk around. If you just need something quick, there's a Zaxby's (my fave) and McDonalds very close to the Fountain of Youth out on Ponce de Leon Blvd (Hwy. 1).
Parking at the Fountain of Youth
Lots of parking on-site
There are 2 parking areas. When you drive into the park, there is a small paved parking lot adjacent to ticket booth and entrance. But there's also shaded parking to the left as you'll see in this photo. In Florida during the summer, the very best parking places are determined by the shade and not the distance to the entrance!
If you would rather not drive, St. Augustine has 2 excellent Trolley services who will do all the driving for you! See Below...
or Take the Trolley
Ride and relax while someome else does the driving
What you need to know: St. Augustine has two trolley services. Locals know them as the Red Trains and Orange & Green Trains. Both services offer transportation by trolley ride to attractions all over the city.
Simply put, you buy a ticket to ride a trolley and get on and off the trolley at stops that interest you. Trolleys make continuous loops every 15 to 20 minutes, picking up and dropping of passengers all over St. Augustine. The full loop (if you just want to stay on the train) takes about 90 minutes. The best conductors are part of the entertainment! They are also your tour guide and talk about the stops along the way. On the Red Trains, the Fountain of Youth is stop #21 and on the Orange and Green Trains, it is stop #23.
I can tell you the trolley rides themselves are fun. A little bumpy, but fun!
Where is the Fountain of Youth? Here - What are you waiting for?
Looking for a St. Augustine Keepsake? - I've added my favorite St. Augustine images to lots of products - Buy 1 or 100
Browse the keepsakes I've created with old images of St. Augustine collected from old texts at St. Augustine, Florida.
More About the Fountain of Youth - Related articles
- Official Website for the Fountain of Youth
More descriptions of their exhibits etc.
- More about Ponce de Leon
From Wikipedia. Learn about the life of Ponce de Leon, before and after he sought the Fountain of Youth.
- Interested in the new Pirates of the Carribean Movie?
From Disney. A movie trailer.
- Red Trains (Trolleys)
Officially, "Ripley's Sightseeing Trains"
- Orange and Green Trains (Trolleys)
Officially, "Old Town Trolley Tours"
On Today's Trip We Saw Where There's an Archaeological Dig Going On - How Cool!
On our visit today, 5/15/2011, we saw where there's some sort of digging going on. There were tents over several small areas that had been dug out. And also these sifting boxes. How neat! I'd love to be a part of this one day.
I'm Puzzlemaker on Squidoo
I publish articles here at Squidoo and at other neat places online. I'm also a Zazzle artist and have a St. Augustine, Florida Zazzle store where I'm in the process of adding images to printed products. I have lived in two St. Augustine homes. One near the Carousel and I currently live out by the beach. I lead an eclectic life. I love the history of St. Augustine, art, insects, growing things from seed, and walking. My daughter keeps me busy with lots of projects and learning things daily as we search for answers about anything that interests us.