St. Augustine boasts over two dozen iconic museums that grant unlimited ways for locals and travelers to get out and about while learning about the colonial-to-modern history of the Nation’s Oldest City. You can choose from the Lightner’s showcase of the Gilded Age and then local-celebrity, Henry Flagler. To the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center which depicts the African American History and culture in Northeast Florida like that of the Civil Rights Movement. Or, even the Government House which sits in the heart of the historic district and is where our governing ancestors, crowned by Britain and Spanish royalty, collaborated.
Although St. Augustine’s museums are among the most unique in the world, offering unparalleled insight into the events, eras, and people which shaped the United States, not every museum is intriguing through the eyes of a child! So, if you’re exploring the Nation’s Oldest City with your children or grandchildren and looking for a kid-friendly museum, you’ll want to check these out.
Potter’s Wax Museum
Get your cameras out! Potter’s Wax Museum is one of the most iconic sites in St. Augustine and home to hundreds of famous wax figures and memorable photo opportunities. This kid-friendly museum offers unforgettable experiences with Hollywood celebrities like Austin Powers, pro athletes like Michael Jordan, and even the well-loved wizard Harry Potter and his sworn enemy, Lord Voldemort. Parents and chaperones will get a good laugh too; get your photo with historical geniuses like Albert Einstein Charles Darwin, and political figures like George W. Bush.
Tip from a local: If you have plans after the Potter’s Wax Museum, be sure to arrive a few minutes early. This way, you have time to explore the old-time drug store that is in the front of the store. Especially interesting to children, the store offers an educational perspective of how far the study of medicine has come.
Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum
Believe it or Not, Ripley’s Museum in St. Augustine was the first permanent Ripley’s attraction and is home to over 800 exhibits. The museum is spread throughout three stories of the building and is home to a few pieces from Robert Ripley’s original collection! Although it is entirely a kid-friendly museum, it also appeals to adults. Displaying artifacts like shrunken heads, an incredible match stick gallery, and a puzzle room with quizzes, games, and trivia, the entire family is sure to be entertained for hours.
Tip from a local: This kid-friendly museum meets the demands of entertainment for all ages. But, if you’re visiting with older children you ought to hop aboard Ripley’s Ghost Train. The building that now houses Ripley’s bizarre collection of “weird things” was formerly a hotel and the site of an infamous mishap during the early 1940’s. Legend has it, the hotel was set on fire to cover up the murder of two women guests. To this day, three rooms of the hotel are said to be haunted by their ghosts. Laser pen and ghost-reader in hand, embark on a journey through these notorious three rooms, and two other haunted sites in St. Augustine when you ride Ripley’s Ghost Train.
St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum
Are ye ready to explore over 300 years of Golden Age Piracy? Enter the Pirate and Treasure kid-friendly Museum and travel back in time. The wall-to-wall décor gives you an old-time feel that is as authentic as the story it tells. Interactive and educational, the museum depicts 17th-century pirate culture by showcasing artifacts from Florida’s archeology vault, audio-animatronics and even props from the famous film, The Goonies. The narrative is, pirates love the “easy-riches” of the buccaneer life. They cheated, fought, and stole to get to the top. However, the museum has a different take – pirates were at high risk for sweat, tears, and blood for little reward. Based on Port Royal, a famous Jamaican Port, the facility encourages a hands-on experience.
Tip from a local: The Pirate and Treasure Museum is St. Augustine’s best interactive museum! Guests are encouraged to partake in activities while on this fully narrated guided-tour. Furthermore, the Museum is home to one of the only two authentic Jolly Rogers Flags in the world, a real treasure chest you can touch, and another pirate chest that is one of the oldest in the world!
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Photo credits: OldCity.com