It’s the beginning of summer, which means school-age children are lounging around the house, looking for something to do.
In St. Augustine, there’s plenty of activities and attractions around town to keep kids busy until school starts. Often, residents think they’ve already experienced all of the attractions around town, but many local destinations recently boosted exhibits and installed new features for the city’s upcoming anniversary, said Barbara Golden, communications manager of the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau
“So many of our attractions have really stepped up with the 450th anniversary coming up,” Golden said. “They have entered into a whole realm of attractions.”
Here are some day-long activities around St. Augustine that are also family friendly:
Have you seen Maximo recently? If not, it may be time for a return visit to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm.
St. Johns County residents receive a 30 percent discount on daily admission with proper ID. Residents also get 20 percent off the Nile River zip line course.
“We have a photo booth where you can get your picture taken holding a baby alligator or a snake, or if you’d like, you can have an extreme photo with a large American alligator or with the Galapagos tortoises,” said Molly Ebersold, sales and marketing manager at the Alligator Farm.
For details, call 824-3337 or go to alligatorfarm.com.
Pay a visit to one of the 14 dolphins at Marineland on Oceanshore Boulevard. Summer camps run through mid-August and open to ages 7 to 12. Camp includes beach exploration, conservation projects and animal interactions.
There are also eco-excursions that begin at Marineland for ages 5 and older. These guided kayak tours allow participants to explore St. Augustine waterways, as well as interact with the animals at Marineland.
For information, call 471-1111 or go to marineland.net.
St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum tours
For the cost of daily admission, St. Johns County residents can receive annual passes at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum. Children taller than 44 inches can climb the lighthouse, and there are play areas for children who do not meet the height requirement.
There’s also two tours. The Behind the Scenes tour includes general admission to the grounds and tower and an hour-long tour of the facilities. The Lost Ships Tours are best for those older than 10 and are led by a lighthouse archaeologist. This tour offers access to areas not open on public tours.
For information, call 829-0745 or go to staugustinelighthouse.org.
El Galeon Tour
Ever seen that pirate ship docked at the St. Augustine Marina? It’s the El Galeon, and it offers tours. The El Galeon is a true-to-scale reconstruction of a 16th Century Spanish ship. Tours give a glimpse of all four decks and its exhibits and artifacts.
Tours are daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and until 7 p.m. on weekends. Buy tickets in advance at elgaleon.org to save 25 percent off. Combination tickets also can be purchased for a discount to tour the El Galeon and the neighboring Nao Victoria ship.
Fountain of Youth
This summer will mark the opening of the Spanish Watchtower and will give visitors a chance to see unique views of the bay, river and inlet. It is also yet another reason to visit the Fountain of Youth archaeological park. Parking is also free, and pets are welcome. St. Johns County residents receive 50 percent off regular park admission and Florida teachers will have free admission through the summer.
Call 829-3168 or go to fountainofyouthflorida.com.
Pirate and Treasure Museum
The Pirate and Treasure Museum and the Colonial Quarter on Castillo Drive has a standing St. Johns County resident discount year-long. Programs such as Tool Time and Teatime are new additions to the museum. There’s also a pirate on-site every day this summer to interact with guests, as well as the First Colony exhibit.
“The First Colony exhibit at the Government House is a great museum for all ages,” said Cindy Stavely, executive director of the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum. “Not only is the Government House itself a wonderful walk-through to see the history of evolution of activities of this reconstruction of the original Governor’s House, but the First Colony exhibit, developed by the University of Florida, is a walk back into our Spanish origins, with a large collection of real artifacts and engaging high-tech interactives.”
Beat the mid-day rain storm with a family trip to the movies. The IMAX theatre at World Golf Village has periodic 3D showings of family-friendly films such as “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar,” and “Great White Shark 3D.” Check worldgolfimax.com for show times.
Epic Theatres at 112 Theatre Drive also has showings of films appropriate for children, such as “Planes: Fire and Rescue” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Epic Theatres also has $6 admissions Tuesdays. Show times and movie listings are available at epictheatres.com.