Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park - St. Augustine, Florida
Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park - St. Augustine, Florida
The Fountain of Youth
A small enclosure inside a
stone building now protects
the little spring hailed as the
real "Fountain of Youth."
The Fountain of Youth - St. Augustine, Florida
The Fountain of Youth
Ivy covered walls enclose the historic "Fountain of
Youth" in St. Augustine, Florida. The popular tourist
attraction is actually a major historic site.
A Major Archaeological Park
The Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park
has long been a favorite spot for visitors to
the beautiful old city of
St. Augustine, Florida,
but there is much more than tourism to this
unique setting.

In fact, as a marker at the Fountain of Youth
proclaims, the grounds of the park are
among the most historically-significant in the
nation. In addition to the famed "fountain"
viewed by millions of tourists over the years,
the archaeological park also preserves the
site of the original fort and village of St.
Augustine, established in 1565. The
archaeological park also includes the
original site of the
Mission Nombre de Dios,
the nation's oldest religious center, and the
site of the Timucuan town of Seloy, occupied
at the time of the founding of the nation's
oldest city.

The Fountain of Youth was first opened to the
public as a tourist attraction more than 100
years ago in 1901 by the famed Diamond Lil'
of Klondike Gold Rush fame. Her real name
was Dr. Louella Day McConnell and she
charged an admission to visitors who asked
to see and drink from the little spring that
local tradition held was the actual "Fountain
of Youth." The park grew from that point and
now features both real historic sites as well
as some classic tourist spots that include
the spring and a giant illuminated globe
used to detail the voyages of discovery to the
New World.

The legend of the Fountain of Youth is one of
Florida's favorites and revolves around the
voyages of Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513. He
arrived at a time when spring flowers were
blooming in profusion and gave the state its
modern name. Exactly where Ponce de Leon
landed and proclaimed Spanish possession
of La Florida is not known, but his story is an
enduring part of the Fountain of Youth Park.

The spring has been enclosed in a stone
building that also features a diorama of the
1513 landing of Ponce de Leon. Nearby can
be seen another similar structure that
encloses the original site of a large Timucua
Indian burial ground. The actual skeletons
have been reburied.

The park also features a planetarium, giant
illuminated globe that shows the routes of
discovery to the New World, beautifully land-
scaped grounds and a statue of Ponce de
Leon.

It is on the waterfront of the 15-acre park,
however, that one of the most significant
historic sites in America can be found. In a
grassy area overlooking the marshes,
archaeologists have discovered the buried
remains of the original fort and settlement of
St. Augustine. It was here that Pedro
Menendez de Aviles first set foot in 1565 and
established a fortification and village in the
village of Seloy, an important Timucuan chief.

Archaeologists working here have also found
the site of the original Mission Nombre de
Dios, the nation's oldest center of Christian
instruction.
The grounds of Ponce de Leon's Fountain of
Youth Park are quite beautiful. Nearly a
century of landscaping has taken place on
the site and stunning trees, flowers and even
peacocks greet visitors. Ancient iron cannon
dot the grounds, as do other artifacts such as
ship anchors, giant Spanish water jars and
other items of interest.

Located at 11 Magnolia Drive St. Augustine,
the Fountain of Youth is open daily from from
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except for Christmas Day).

The price of admission is $12 for adults, $11
for Seniors over age 60 and $8 for children
ages 6 to 12. Children under 5 and under are
admitted for free.
Please click here to visit the
park's official website for more information.

Also of interest are the nearby grounds of
Mission Nombre de Dios, which are open to
visitors daily at no cost. This park features a
giant steel cross commemorating the 1565
landing of Pedro Menendez de Aviles and the
history of the Mission Nombre de Dios, which
later moved to this site. On the grounds are a
historic cemetery, commemorative stone
shrine, the site of one of St. Augustine's later
forts and walking paths providing beautiful
views of the bay, marshes and original
settlement site.

The original Nombre de Dios, built in 1565,
has been recreated at Fountain of Youth.
Statue of Ponce de Leon
The explorer who named
Florida is memorialized on
the grounds. Legend holds
he landed here in 1513.
Site of the First Settlement
Archaeologists have located
the remains of the 1565 fort at
this site on the grounds at the
Fountain of Youth.
Historic Cannon
Ancient iron cannon and other
artifacts dot the beautiful
grounds of the Fountain of
Youth.
Timucua Burial Ground
The burial ground where the
Timucuan Indians who once
lived here interred their dead
is now enclosed and burial
practices are explained using
photographs.
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Copyright 2010 & 2013 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Update: November 13, 2013
St. Augustine, Florida