Centuries of real history at the Fountain of Youth


400-CHRISTA-THOMPSON-FOYChrista Thompson
Special to Historic City News
The Fairytale Traveler

“In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue” -Everyone’s 6th grade teacher

Do you remember the story you once heard of a place called the Fountain of Youth?

Legend has it that if you drink from its water, you will remain forever young and fabulous. Well, I found it. Get back to me in 20 years and see if I’m forever young — I’m pretty sure I’ll be fabulous.

In 1513, Juan Ponce de Leon, under orders from the King of Spain, was the first European to explore what would become the continental United States. He first set foot on the land he called “La Florida” near this very location. For nearly 3,500 years prior, the Timucaun village of Seloy had thrived on these grounds. The brutal massacre that followed would wipe out the civilization.

This, folks, is ground zero. It is the original site of the nation’s oldest city; founded in 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Aviles. Flashback through all of your knowledge of every important American historical site or city and realize, that it all comes down to this place, the Fountain of Youth in St Augustine, Florida. It’s kind of a big deal.

Florida’s oldest attraction, is a pet-friendly (yes I said pet-friendly) archaeological park that covers 15 pristine waterfront acres that will catapult you back in time. It is a compelling learning environment for all ages, complete with lush gardens, live reenactments, guided tours and the hungriest peacocks on earth.

Here are some of the park’s features:

•Drink from Ponce de Leon’s Famous Spring
•Discovery Globe
•Timucua Burials
•Timucua Village Experience
•the first St. Augustine Settlement
•Chalupa Shipyard
•Cannon Firings
•San Agustin Watchtower
•1513 Ponce de Leon Landing Memorial
•Dining and Picnic areas

This was a serene and educational experience for me. I am elated that I have been able to visit a place that is such a huge part of our American history and I am proud that it is part of the Florida culture. I hope to share this with people planning a trip to Florida because it is a must see attraction.

Photo credits: © 2013 Historic City News contributed photograph by Christa Thompson