Maybe they don't have a huge advertising budget, but there is one attraction in Florida's Capitol City that shouldn’t be missed by visitors from around the globe or right nearby. Namely Mission San Luis. The only reconstructed Spanish mission in the Southeast, this gem of a living history museum brings the stories and spirit of its 17th-century Apalachee Indian and Spanish residents to life. From hearing the ring of the blacksmith's hammer, to smelling what's cooking over the fire, to shooting an arrow, visitors can time travel to another era where life was quite different than our own.
While most know that California missions are worth a visit, most Spanish settlements in Florida are no longer in evidence. Even Mission San Luis was burned to the ground in 1704 when the British were on their way to invade. But with extensive archaeological research, the fort, Apalachee council house, Franciscan church, and more were reconstructed on this 63 acre site. I highly recommend a trip to see Mission San Luis, the western capitol of La Florida, the Spanish version of our own Sunshine State.
The boats operate on the hour from 10-5. Cost is $8 for the 3 miles ride and that takes 40 minutes, or for the glass bottom boat ride for 30 minutes for $8. That just re-opened after over one year of not being able to see the depth very well due to pollution and sewer irritants is the water that creates much more algae than it can support. UGH. The ride was enjoyable and you can see birds, turtles and, yes, alligators (200 are said to be along this stretch.)
This is a very large lake to the north of the city on Hwy 27. It is low in depth, so many mereican Lotus lily pads are growing on the surface. It is pretty, but I imagine boaters have to be cautious about where they go, so as not to get the motor prop tangled up in the mess. It is a lake that nearly drained out in 1999 sue to low rainfall the year. There is not an inflow into the lake; it is self contained, and water seeps through the sediment into the underground aquifers so it usually is very shallow. It is a habitat sanctuary for bird species, and the American Lotus flowers bloom all around
This is a famous spring that gushes out water. The source is over 200 feet deep in the lake area coming from underground rivers/channels. The flow is 15,00 gallons a second, and it keeps the river pristine. Ed Ball, a wealthy person who inherited money as a Dupont heir, moved south for his health bought the spring and 5,000 acres. He had his friends come here but kept out the public officials that wanted to do development on their terms. Ball tried to get approval to develop the area, but never got too far. A lodge from 1937 only has 27 guest rooms, and was built by Ball, and it still stands with little change today. It has a gift shop and snack area. Much detail work was done by artisans and trades people. There is a beach, boat rides, and swimming/diving from the platform into the deep part.
Room rates are $95-125 weekdays and a bit more on weekends. There are no TV's in the rooms. Entry to the state park is $6, and it is open every day of the year.
This is one fantastic tour of the mansion, and the grounds. The main house was built in 1840, and still in the same condition with only minor upgrades; like water and plumbing. It was to be the plantation of Henry Croom and family, but they died in a shipwreck on the way down to here. A family dispute and suit eventually led to a sale in 1857, and Anthony Hopkins bought it, and used as a party haven for the wealthy in town through 1880's. then the Arrowsmiths owned it until 1911, and it sold to the Tiers family. Many upgrades were done then ,and politician named Sen William Hodges bought it for show and fame. When he died in 1940, his wife remarried and until 1978 they lived here. She died and Tom Hood turned the home over to a garden club supported by his trust fund. Because of strange events, all the families left most furnishings in the home, and even many personal effects and clothes. This, as a result is a fully packed home of nice unique and elegant items.
It is open Monday-Friday 10-4 and SAturday 10-2Pm. Tours on the hour are given, and you need a docent. Our tour was 1 1/2 hours of good information.
There really was not much to see along this two block stretch. It is called chain of the parks, but is actually just a green area with some grass and trees, but does have a Vietnam Vet memorial in a gazebo.
Brokaw owned a livery stable and this became a farm and blacksmith shop; and later he became a politician. He built the house in 1840's, and later in a dispute with Brokaw's wife, Alexander McDougal bought it for $2,000 in 1884, and later his son, Perez Brokaw McDougal. After Perez died, Alexander's wife still lived here until 1973, when it sold to the state for $125,000.
The state got the house, but leases it to the city for events. The house is Italian Revival style and was once very ornate inside. Most furnishings are now gone.
Entry is free, but call to make sure someone is there.
WE had a good time looking at the foliage and flowers around this park/garden. It is maybe 5 acres in total, but well preserved and serene. There are themes in the park that make use of flower arrangements, and one area with a pond and rock scenery.
Entry is free, and it is open 8-5 daily
The home was built in 1843, and Tom Hagner, an attorney lived here until 1865 when it became Union headquarters. In 1880, Dr. George Betton lived here. By 1928, William Knott and wife moved here. He was the state Treasurer and came back to the capitol to help it out of financial difficulty (sound familiar?). The furnishings are from that period. When Knott's son died in 1985, he donated it to the state. Overall the tour lasts about 45 minutes.
it is open Wed-Friday at 1,2 & 3PM tours, and Sat 10,11 tours. It is free, but they need donations.
This is the new 22 story building that now has all activity except for Supreme Court under one roof. It was complete in 1977. There are some nice paintings and sculptures and murals of the Sunshine State. You can go inside the chambers of the House and Senate, and one good scene is to go to the top 22nd floor for views of the city.
It is open8-5Pm Monday-Friday and free of admission
This capitol was closed in 1977 when the new state capitol was completed next door. It was restored over 1978-1982 to bring back to the 1923 era when it was ready for occupancy. Over the years, they added wings in 1936 and 1947 to both ends of the building for House and Senate places of business. Those were torn down when the new state capitol was built. The core of the building site is from 1845, and much has changed since the first building on site. There is a nice 15 minute film of the history and displays and artifacts of the period form mid 1800's to mid 1950's. History discussion is on murals and pictures to see/read/
This is a wonderful, but short tour of the inside of the building. The chambers can be seen, and all of the Supreme Court members, past, and present of displayed. There is some history of the court and how it operates. it is open daily Monday-Friday and free to enter
This was a surprisingly good museum of the history of Florida, and the evolution of the region as it developed from the dinosaur era. It had a lot of preserved items of the culture of people, and how the state grew. There is a large collection of coins and artifacts found in the area related to the Spaniards and French. They also have old vehicles, and steam boat replica to walk around, and more.
It is open Mon-Friday 9-4:30, SAturday 10-4:30 and Sunday 1-4:30PM. I nice restaurant to a sandwich is in the basement with the museum.
The gardens were the personal pleasure of Alfred Maclay when he planted it in 1923. They came here every winter to get away form snow up north. In 1959, the state got it open for people to enjoy walking, hiking, biking, picnicking, and fishing.
Entry is $6, and open 8AM to dusk
This was a new venture for us in that we had only been inside one other active mansion in our times. WE made the call, and the Administrator had a time slot for us. The tour and discussion of the mansion, the construction, and Governor is about 40 minutes. This was a nice interlude form normal museums and the like. This mansion was built in 1956, and Gov Scott now occupies. Gov Jeb Bush added a porch and portico out back. You see the actual desk they work, and living quarters downstairs, ' mostly for entertainment. The families live upstairs. Overall, it is not very big, and that surprised me, not ostentatious. Gardens out back are nice.
They may have spots to tour Monday-Friday, but events and other times it may not be open. The tour is free.