St. Augustine is a beautiful city. One that is rich with history and full of plenty of attractions. However, I was concerned that there would not be enough fun things for a family with two toddlers to do. Boy was I wrong! I contacted the St. Augustine Visitors Bureau at St. Augustine & Ponte Vedra, FL and learned of so many toddler friendly activities we will have to return on a second trip to finish them all. We were staying at the Casa Monica Hotel which is located right in the heart of the city, so most everything we did was within walking distance, and I think that might have been the most fun that my little one, Mason, had. The streets were full of fun cracks to follow and tons of sights to see. We stopped at almost every water fountain we passed to look at the money in the water and watch the pretty water spray up in the air. It was pretty amazing to slow down and see the world through their eyes.
A few of the attractions were a little ways off to walk with toddlers, even though I could have walked to them myself; so, we hopped on one of the many trolley services riding through the city to make it a little easier on the boys. Our favorite was the St. Augustine Sight Seeing Train offered by Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. They even gave the kids train whistles to blow along with the conductor. The train makes several stops at all of the main attractions and even has a bus service to take you across the bridge to the Alligator Farm and the Dolphin Conservation Center.
The Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum in St. Augustine was the first one ever built and houses over 800 Incredible Exhibits. The Kids had such a good time peeking at the oddities and experiencing strange phenomena that played tricks on your mind like the tunnel above. I have never laughed so hard in my life! You cannot really tell by the picture, but there is a walkway (which is straight) that takes you through the spinning tunnel with lights (that you cannot see because of my flash). The effect of you walking through the tunnel makes you think you are going to fall over, and Jakobi is holding on for dear life. He fell several times through just giggling and trying to cajole his brother to join him. We monopolized this attraction for a good 15 minutes and would pay many times over to do it again!
The Alligator Farm is just over the bridge and is the home to over 23 species of crocodilians as well as other reptiles, birds and mammals. They have wildlife shows every hour and plenty of alligators to look at. At the time we went, they were pretty active opening and closing their jaws. All of the reptiles were encased in pits surrounded by gates and plexiglass, but that did not keep me from holding on to my kids! They were slack-jawed most of the day amazed at the huge creatures. Make sure to bring your camera!
I was pretty surprised at how long the kids wanted to stay at the Castillo de San Marcos. The kids thought is was really cool that we were up so high and they could see so far. The view from on top of the fort was breathtaking and you could see for miles in every direction! The Castillo de San Marcos protected the settlers from invasion and has never been breached. So take note – if we go to war, harbor there!
The Mill Top Tavern was one of our learning lessons. I taught them about gravity and how the water helped the wheel to spin around. We had to stop by the tavern every time we passed to watch the water go round and round. Check out my short video below to see a few more places that we went like the Potter’s Wax Museum. The video is only a minute long and is interactive where you can click around while watching it.