Every year we stop and see something new on our way to Florida. We’ve explored Givhans State Park, South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. This year we explored a castle in Saint Augustine, Florida! It is a walk-in park (Adults $10.00, Children under age 15 are free). Inside the castle gates we stopped and picked up the Junior Rangers Activity Book. The kids had fun exploring all the rooms in the castle. Some had short videos, some had displays, and some…. had row upon row of prison beds!

Standing beside old, copper green cannons in the corners of the castle (the bastions) we took in the views of the Atlantic Ocean and read about how the Spanish built the castillo in 1763—it is one of the oldest structures in the United States! Built to stand up to pirates (who had burned the previous wooden fort down), the walls are made of “coquina,” a mixture of seashells, sand, and mortar. This material was excellent at absorbing the hit of a cannon ball without crumbling!

When we left we handed in our activity books and each of the kids received a badge and a pin for learning about the history and geography of the area. Cool fact: The Spanish planted yucca around their forts and on top of protective walls. Yucca aloifolia grows in thickets reaching 20 ft tall. The trunk is armed with 2 ft. long needle-sharp pointed leaves thus earning it the name “Spanish Bayonet.”

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