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Animal encounters

Sea Turtle Hospital at Whitney Lab

Attention Sea Turtle Lovers! The Sea Turtle Hospital at Whitney Lab is now open. The team cares for injured or sick sea turtles with Fibropapilloma found throughout Northeast Florida. In 2016, its first full year open, the hospital rehabilitated and returned nine sea turtles back into the wild. Visitors can tour the facility and learn about the research & rehab of the sea turtles provided by Whitney Lab. Tours are on the second and fourth Thursday of the month and second Saturday of the month at 10a.m. The cost is $15 per person. Tours are limited to 10 people per tour and reservation are required so book ahead of time! Visit www.whitney.ufl.edu

Marine Dolphin Adventure

Marineland Dolphin Adventure, the world’s first oceanarium, invites you to join them in creating lasting memories at their 1.3 million -gallon series of dolphin habitats. Choose from a variety of interactive programs, which range from those for land -loving guests to enjoy dolphins up -close, to those that offer the opportunity to immerse yourself in the dolphins’ aquatic world as you swim with our gentle residents. For more information visit them at www.marineland.net

Alligator Farm & Zoological Park

The Alligator Farm Zoological Park features a variety animal species, including hundreds of native alligators. The allure of wild reptiles and their powerful presence entice thousands of vacationers to visit the park in St. Augustine each year. Exhibits include lemurs, Komodo dragons, and toucans, and the park is the only place in the world to see all 24 species of crocodilians in one place.

Opening their doors in 1893, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park is one of the oldest attractions in the area. George Reddington and Felix Fire began this attraction with their own collection of alligators in South Beach on Anastasia Island. Visit them at www.alligatorfarm.com

St Augustine Wild Reserve

The St. Augustine Wild Reserve is a non-profit corporation created as a rescue center for unwanted exotic animals as an alternative to euthanasia for unwanted pets. They are not open to the public on a drop -in basis like a Zoo, so please make reservations ahead of time. Tours are approximately two hours long, guided by an experienced wildlife professional of the 7 -acre animal compound. An introduction to each species, basic biology, and how the animal arrived at our sanctuary will be discussed in detail. Visitors will be allowed within 5-10 feet of our exotic animals, which are housed in secure habitats. We do NOT allow public contact with our animals. You will be able to see their amazing white tigers, orange tigers, a very rare golden tabby tiger, American black bear, ligers, cougars, servals, coatimundis, cougars, lynxes, leopards, and a host of wolves ranging in color from black to white. The St. Augustine Wild Reserve is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. Tour fee is $30 per person. Children 10 years of age and under are admitted for $20. Children 5 years of age and under are admitted for free. Your donation goes towards the care of the animals at the reserve. The St. Augustine Wild Reserve offers tours every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm, by appointment only.

History

St Augustine, the Nation’s Oldest City, has history on about every street corner. No matter if you prefer to join a tour or just grab a map and explore the City on your own, it is a must “to do” to tour downtown while visiting the area. From the city’s cobblestone streets, to its old houses and museums, it will provide you a look into its history and hours of entertainment. So go walk Aviles Street, the oldest street in the oldest city in the nation, visit the Fountain of Youth, discover Fort Matanzas, or tour Old Jail and you will see firsthand why people fall in love with the historic charm of the city.

Castillo de San Marcos

The oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, the Castillo de San Marcos is a large Spanish stone fortress built to protect and defend Spain’s claims in the New World. It’s a National Monument and, at over 315 years old, it’s the oldest structure in St. Augustine. It’s also one of the main attractions visitors to St. Augustine come to see.

There’s plenty of things to do at the Castillo, from the numerous rooms that once housed soldiers and prisoners, to the large interior courtyard and gun deck which offers a great view of the city. Regular daily programs and ranger -led tours are free with admission, as are cannon firings and weaponry demonstrations, which are offered (weather and staffing permitting) on Fridays. Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The Castillo is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Fort Matanzas

Fort Matanzas National Monument was built in 1742 to defend the city of St. Augustine from British attack. Located just 15 miles south of St. Augustine, it has stood in the Matanzas Inlet for well over 250 years.

Service and is open daily to the public from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Visitors to Fort Matanzas take a short ride on a passenger ferry that runs hourly, beginning at 9:30 every morning. Both the ferry and admission to the fort are FREE.

Old Jail

This historic jail served the city of St. Augustine from 1891-1953. Visitors can take tours of the jail during the day or night, experiencing history as inmates in period dress guide them through the women’s cells, men’s cells, and the maximum security cells where only the most dangerous criminals were kept. The Old Jail’s unique history is full of fascinating stories about individual inmates that once occupied the cells and the sheriffs (and their families!) who lived just across the hall from them. Tours depart every 20 minutes from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. every day, and night tours of the Old Jail are offered as part of the Ghosts and Gravestones tour.

Fountain of Youth

The Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is a 15 -acre, waterfront historical attraction, where visitors can learn about the first Spanish settlers who came here in the 1600s and the native Timucuans who were here to greet them. With a working archaeological dig on site, as well as several re-created Spanish and Timucuan buildings and dwellings, the park is bursting with history. It’s also just a beautiful spot to relax, enjoy the views over the water from the 600 -foot Founders Riverwalk or from the Observation Tower, sample the waters from the natural spring (Ponce de Leon’s legendary Fountain of Youth?), and let the kids feed the roaming peacocks.

El Galeon Tall Ship

The tall ship El Galeon is a replica of a Spanish galleon from the colonial period. When docked in St. Augustine, the ship is open from 10 a.m. through 7 p.m. each day of the visiting period. Guests are free to roam above and below decks (there are five in total), talk to the Spanish crew who live and work on the ship, and learn from a variety of interactive exhibits, videos and historical documents on display. Ships such as this one sailed Florida’s coastal waters during the 16th and 17th centuries, crossing the ocean from the Old World to the New for trade and exploration purposes. The Nao Victoria Foundation of Seville. Spain, began building this authentic replica tall ship in 2006.

Please note: El Galeon is an occasional visitor to St. Augustine so check their website prior to visiting.

Flagler College

Flagler College, housed in what was once one of Henry Flagler’s most opulent Gilded -Age hotels in St. Augustine, is a private four-year college. The college opened in 1968 and now offers 32 majors, 44 minors, and two pre -professional programs. With an enrollment of 2,500 students, the college draws students from all over the world to study liberal and fine arts in this magnificent setting in the nation’s oldest city. The Ponce de Leon hotel was built in 1887 and is listed as a National Historic landmark. Flagler’s Legacy Tours offers a guided tours of this architectural masterpiece throughout the year.

National and State Parks

Guana Tolomato Matanzax National Estuarine Research Reserve

Visit Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM Research Reserve) and ifs 75,000 acres preserve. Teeming with life, the GTM Research Reserve is a dynamic, ever changing place with many interconnected habitats from the ocean to the forests. The landscape protects and provides for a great diversity of plants and animals. People have historically changed and preserved this ecosystem. The Reserve extends from the Guana River Dam down to the Matanzas Inlet and south, including a couple of state parks and the River -to -Sea Preserve near Marineland. It offers a series of guided tours for visitors of all ages to enjoy.

Anastasia State Park

With 1,600 acres, including four miles of pristine beach, tidal salt marshes and hammock preserves, Anastasia State Park has most everything a beachgoer might be looking for: sunbathing, surfing, swimming, fishing, sailboats, paddle boarding, and sailboarding. This beach boasts beautiful, white sandy beaches, a variety of birds, turtles, and other wildlife. Visitors can walk the nature trails that wind through the dunes shaded by maritime hammocks. Spectacular sunrises can be viewed from this spot, as well as the oldest city’s inlet, where the Matanzas meets the Atlantic Ocean. Rated by Reserve America as # 6 of 100 parks in the U.S., Anastasia State Park is located just a short walk from the Resort.

Faver Dikes State Park

Faver-Dykes State Park in historic St. Augustine, Florida is known for its pristine condition and scenic views. This park borders Pellicer Creek which connects with the Matanzas River. This is a popular site for birdwatching, as it sees more than a hundred bird species during spring and fall migrations.

Faver-Dykes State Park offers a canoe and kayak trail, where visitors can cruise along the creek and tributaries to explore the variety of bird and marine life. Visitors to the park can rent a canoe by advanced reservation. The facilities at this state park include a picnic area, boat ramp, campground and clean showers. Also, there is a great fishing dock on the creek where anglers can catch sheepshead, spotted sea trout and more.

Other recreational activities at Faver-Dykes State Park include camping, nature trails, picnic tables, a playground and youth camping which provides simple facilities for up to 100 people.

The park is open from 8 a.m. until l sundown every day of the year.