Kids’ Guide to St. Augustine: Part II

In Part I, we introduced four fun activities for kids to enjoy on a first visit to St. Augustine.

Ready for more adventures?St. Augustine kids

We at ICI Homes know a fun expedition when we see one, and historic St. Augustine is just the place to enthrall and educate (without them knowing it!) your own youthful conquistadors.

Founded as a Spanish colony on September 8, 1565 by Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, St. Augustine is the United States’ oldest city. That’s serious lineage, and sometimes the wealth of national historical sites, buildings and museums can be overwhelming even to adults.

It’s a good thing if you’re living in, or are considering buying, a custom-built home by ICI Homes in the northeastern Florida area. St. Augustine’s only a short drive south of our Jacksonville area communities and only just over an hour North of many of our Volusia area communities. That means your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews or godchildren can absorb northeast Florida’s prodigious history one visit at a time.

Here’s Part II of our kids’ guide to St. Augustine.

Let’s have fun

History’s great and all, but a relentless diet might spoil some kids’ enjoyment of it.

Thankfully, St. Augustine has plenty of good, old, gee-whiz attractions. Perhaps the best-known is Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum. First opened in 1950, Ripley’s contains more than 800 odd, freaky, unique exhibits, including items from founder Robert Ripley’s collection.

Naturally, it’s housed in a historic building — the three-story Castle Warden, built in 1887 as a luxury hotel — so everyone still gets a dose of history along with their modern-day wonderment.

You also can tour St. Augustine via Ripley’s. The company owns Red Train Tours and the Ghost Train Adventure.

Ripley’s is located on San Marco Avenue, just north of the historic district.

Pose with famous people

Potter’s Wax Museum in St. Augustine was the first wax museum in the U.S. It opened in 1948 and featured founder George L. Potter’s personal collection of life-sized wax figures.

So yes, history is inescapable even as you gawk at waxy visages of more than 150 famous people, including politicians, entertainers, sports figures and well-known movie characters.

This is unadulterated selfie territory, of course, but also the chance to explain to kids why some of the people represented in wax, were remarkable enough to merit a figurine.

Potter’s is located on Orange Street, near Flagler College.

Climb the lighthouse

Put kids’ excess energy to good use at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum.

It’s a very historical site, but there are many fun things to do and see. Plus, wearing the kids out by climbing the lighthouse’s 219 steps will make them — and you — sleep better.

This is a multi-faceted location that covers many different periods in St. Augustine’s history. The current lighthouse dates to 1874, but one of some construction has been here since the late 1500s.

The view from the top of the black-and-white-striped sentinel is worth every huff and puff up its stairs. It still sports its original Fresnel lens, which beams brightly over the beach and Atlantic Ocean each night. Be sure everyone meets the height and safety requirements before your climb.

Back on the ground, explore the restored 1876 Keeper’s House, artifacts from the Lighthouse Archeology Maritime Program (LAMP), nature trails, a play area fashioned like a shipyard and a wooden boat building program, among other exhibits. Guided tours and interpretive experiences are available.

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