I just visited a friend in St. Augustine to play some golf last week. If you have never played golf in the Jacksonville area...great place. Anyway, I've never been a huge fan of someone scaring the crap out of me, but I was persuaded to go to a haunted house called warehouse 31. It was cool because we got to go on a private tour. All I can tell you is, if you are in the Jacksonville area, go get your pants scared off.
The last time I did something like this it was "haunted" hay ride when I was a teenager. This was a little bit more than that. These people take their jobs really, really seriously. I was almost upset.
Go check it out. You won't be disappointed.
Marineland opened in 1938 and is the oldest aquarium in the United States. I suppose that it could be said that it originated as a movie studio since its original purpose was to duplicate actual ocean habitats for the purpose of filming movies there. In the early years, parts of several Tarzan films, starring Johnny Weissmuller, were filmed there, and since I have a dog who has been compared to him, I must also mention that Benji at Marineland was also filmed there in 1981.
I do not think that I had ever heard this term used before I started research for this tip but Marineland is also known as the world's first oceanarium. That is the arrangement, which is very common today, where you can actually walk around below water level and view the marine flora and fauna through large portholes (in the earlier iterations) or glass walls in later versions, such as the Baltimore Aquarium. The most popular aspect of most aquariums is the opportunity to see the "training of marine animals." This means dolphins at Marineland of Florida and several other aquariums but also means Killer Whales at many aquariums. From the outset of public dolphin training shows in the late 1940s until the advent of Disney World, Universal Studios, et al., Marineland of Florida was the number one tourist attraction of Florida often drawing 500,000 visitors per year.
As the glamor and glitz of theme parks began to overshadow dolphin shows, Marineland evolved into its current more educational, hands-on emphasis. Today, you can swim with, feed, touch, even paint with, and, of course, have your picture made with Marineland's dolphins.
'Marineland was conceived as a window to the oceans. Today, the Dolphin Conservation Center continues to serve as a link between the public and marine world, promoting awareness of our fragile marine and coastal environments. [Their] goal is to inspire a commitment to the protection of these precious resources, so everyone, man and marine life alike, can all enjoy a better tomorrow."
If you run out of other things to do/see, you can walk into the Potter's Wax Museum, and decide if you recognize anyone familiar that waxed; besides yourself. I mean that in that the place is not all that big, and the price is $10 to enter.
Boat rides along the coast is one method of seeing some sites and enjoy the water. Rides are usually form around the Castillo de SAn Marco area, and cost can be $17 for adults, and $13-14 for seniors. The rides are generally 90 minutes and they give a story history of the town and founding. Sailboat rides run around $25
This is one that was recommended for its artifacts and displays of the days of pirates when they reigned in the 1700-1800's. It has a replica of a ship galley, tavern, redone street of Jamaica, and some artifacts found.
The museum we did not go into because it seemed steep in price at $11, and open 9-8 daily
I was walking down the marina a few weeks ago and noticed a hot, new speedboat in the dock. It turns out, there is a new excursion--El Conquistador, St. Augustine's new racing speedboat. I had to give it a whirl!
This was the fastest I have ever moved over the water. The boat hits speeds the equivalent of 70 miles per hour. It was the most exciting thing I have ever done in St. Augustine. It was a bit pricier per hour than most of the tours I take, but it was worth every penny!
This house was constructed in 1691 during the first Spanish period in St. Augustine, and it is actually older than the "Oldest House." In fact the only building in St. Augustine older than this structure is the Castillo.
Father Miguel O’Reilly arrived in St. Augustine in 1784 as an Irish priest working for the Spanish king. He bought this house in 1785, which was at the beginning of the Second Spanish Period in the city. He used the house to educate religious students, and upon his death Father O'Reilly willed the house to the Catholic Church. The Sisters of St. Joseph took possession of the house when they arrive in St. Augustine in 1866, and initially restored the building in the 1940s. restored the building in the 1940s.
The O'Reilly House was refurbished and opened as a museum in 2003. The project was financed with Historical Museums Grants-in-Aid program assistance, provided by the Bureau of Historical Museums, Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State, Secretary of State.
Museum is open to the public. Admission is free, but donations welcomed.
Jacksonville is the largest American city in terms of land area and was named after Andrew Jackson when he was governor of Florida before he became president. Jacksonville is home of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars.
Florida's first Presbyterian congregation. Established in 1824 by Henry Flagler and dedicated in 1890 as a memorial to his daughter Jenny Louise Benedict who died from complications from childbirth. Mr. Flagler, first wife Mary, daughter Jenny Louise and grand daughter, Marjorie, are entombed in the Flagler family mausoleum on site.
You can spend hours just looking at the artwork, the Sottish tartans and the 2 drawing rooms. The grounds are very nice, qiet and a great place to people watch as the trams load/unload in front of this magnificent church.
There are several boat tours of the waters of St. Augustine, and there is one that I can highly recommend. Ecotours provides a 90 minute ecologically focused tour of the river and ocean of St. Augustine. Our guide, Zach, encouraged us to ask questions and he taught us many things that actually enhanced our entire visit to St. Augustine, as we were able to identify many birds and gained a new sensitivity to the local environment.
On this tour, we got unique looks at dolphins and various exotic birds, as well as some spectacular views of St. Augustine and the old fort. We took an exhilarating ride out past Porpoise Point and into the open ocean.
The best part is that the tour takes only six people, maximum. For $35, it was well worth it. Our guide, Zach, was excellent, and the money you pay helps fund the company's dolphin research.
Spanish Constitution of 1812 Monument - This is a very interesting and probably one-of-a-kind monument in the world. When Napoleon was removed from power in Spain in 1812 and a constitutional parliamentary government formed, the new parliament quickly declared all plazas in the Spanish empire be renamed Plazas de la Constitución. In Saint Augustine, like all other cities in the empire, the plaza was renamed, and in 1813 the Constitution Monument was constructed. In 1814, however, the parliament was removed, and the King of Spain, Ferdinand VII was restored to power. One of his first royal orders was that all of these constitution monuments be destroyed; the local government of St. Augustine ignored the decree, and it is believed this is the only remaining original monument for Spain's 1812 constitutional government.
Confederate War Memorial - The 25 foot tall obelisk, in the center of the plaza is called the Confederate War Memorial, and it was constructed in 1872. Four plaques around the base of the monument list the town's 45 Civil War dead.
Slave Market Building - Early in the Spanish era a wooden building was constructed for use as a guard post and watchtower, then as a general market. This structure stood on the east edge of the square near the original water line, allowing goods to be unloaded at the market from the boats. The original wooden building collapsed in 1833 and was replaced in 1840 by the present pavilion. It was not built for the purpose of slave trade, but records indicate that slaves were sold here.
Porpose point is a nice sheltered beach along a channel that leads to St. Augustine Inlet. It's is so named because it is a great place to look for porpoise's. It's on the tale end of the stretch of beach that goes from Vilano all the way up the scenic coast. This section is small and pleasantly un-manicured. People come here to avoid the bigger beaches, to fish, and just chill while watching the sea mammals and pleasure boats go by. It's not so much a swimmer's beach, due to the current. There is a nice view of downtown St. Augustine across the water.
Driving is permitted on the beach, but you better have 4 wheel drive.
"HeYyyyyyYY!!" Honk, honk! The narrow streets of Saint Augustine are whizzing by at an incredible speed on this 7-person bike. We're hooting and hollering at people on the sidewalks and they're doing the same in return. Everyone riding is laughing so hard we're almost falling off backwards. Somehow I was tricked into getting onto this thing, but this is absolutely the most fun I've ever had for six bucks! Drunken dollars well spent.
In an alley, I leap off while it's still moving to snap some pics. A fellow rider, a young college guy in a gray shirt, yells between fits of laughter, "You crazy Canuck! Get the hell back on!!" I run to catch up and regain my seat.
We stop at a Christmas tree in a park for a 5-minute rest and so the bike operator can take photos of the group. Then we're off; whizzing into the night again.
We stop in front of a bar called "Backstreet" and a dozen people try to climb on. A girl falls off flat on her face and laments over her spilled beer. We realize it's too hard to pedal this machine with that many freeloading people on board so the bike operator asks them nicely to get off and they comply.
The driver says, "This bike came from Amsterdam." "You were stoned when you bought it, weren't ya?" I ask.
And suddenly we're back where we started this crazy midnight ride--in front of a bar called "Scarlett O'Hara's". More photos are taken, hugs and handshakes given all the way around. Unbelievable that six people who are complete strangers could become so instantly friendly with each other after only a half-hour bike ride. A very crazy bike ride! Get extremely drunk and try this--you won't be sorry!
the st. augustine jail was built in 1891 and is one of the oldest jails in florida. for a fee you can tour the jail and the florida heritage museum. also at the old jail you can board one of st. augustine's sightseeing trolleys.
This place was down in the "new" part of town, where the large central park is. This is the oldest wax museum in the U.S. (another "oldest" claim for St. Augustine). We got down there on the local tour tram.
A nice cool and quiet place to amble among the "rich and famous". Potter's is very similar to the Wax Museum in Niagara Falls, NY but I think it has more exhibits and is better displayed.
The figures are life-like and would fool someone in a picture (but not in person).
They would not allow flash cameras to be used but you could buy pics in the gift shop.
Their gift shop had some of the most unusual items (music boxes, clocks, Derosa boxes), not things I would have expected. You can see some of them in their website (below).
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