The Spring House
The centrepiece of the park, the Spring House is a 60 year-old coquina building that holds Ponce de Leon’s Spring of Eternal Hope. Flowing fourth for centuries, take a sip of water from the spring to cool down in the warm months of summer, or warm your hands by the crackling fire during the cold months of winter.
Discover how the early European explorers used the stars in the sky to navigate across oceans to and from the New World. In the Navigator’s Planetarium you can watch a fascinating presentation that takes you back to the night of April 2, 1513, the night before Juan Ponce de Leon landed on the shores of La Florida.
Trace the routes used by early Spanish explorers to and from the New World, see the extent of the lands of La Florida and the settlements and cities that were founded by the explorers during the Discovery Globe show, presented on a 30-foot tall illuminated globe.
The Timucua burial grounds were first discovered in the south of the park in 1934, but it wasn’t until later the researchers found that the pattern of burials revealed the location of the 1587 Franciscan Mission of Nombre de Dios, the First Christian Mission in the United States. To this day guests are welcome to visit the Timucua Burials and learn about the stories of the individuals involved in the first Christian Mission in North America.
While the Timucua, the original inhabitants of Northeast Florida lived an estimated 2,000 years before the Spanish landed in the New World, their culture eventually become extinct by the 1700s due to Old World diseases and warfare. Learn about the fascinating people and celebrate their culture at the First Encounters exhibit.
Venture through the town of Seloy. Recreated in honor of the original Timucuan town of Seloy that existed for millennia; discover the history of the lost culture as Living History Interpreters demonstrate what a day in the life in the village would have been like.
Mission of Nombre de Dios
The original first mission of Nombre de Dios was built on the land of the Fountain of Youth in 1587. While the original church is no longer standing, a reconstruction of the Mission was built in a new archaeologically appropriate site. As you step into the reconstructed church, the scent of the Cyprus beams and planking, palm thatch and salt air will transport you back to the first days of Christianity in the United States.
On September 8, 1565, Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed at the Fountain of Youth and founded St. Augustine, America’s first settlement. See where America’s first buildings once stood and where the country’s first Thanksgiving took place.
Overlooking the Northeast Florida coast, see a reconstructed watchtower similar to the one that stood in St. Augustine’s early days used to spot threats at a distance.
As you soak in centuries of history, don’t forget to admire the beautiful nature that surrounds the park. The exhibits blend perfectly with the oaks, blue cedars and sweet magnolias and friendly squirrels, colourful cardinals and blue birds can often be found in the park. Don’t forget to look for the flock of nearly 30 peafowl. You might see one of the male peacocks spread his blue plumage or hear another peacock’s call as it echoes through the park.
Shows in the Navigator’s Planetarium and the Globe Building take place every hour. If you’d like to see one of the shows, make sure you plan your time accordingly.
Don’t forget your camera. There will be many unique photo opportunities during your time in the park.
All areas of the Fountain of the Youth Archaeological Park are accessible by wheelchair. It is important you let your reservations agent know ahead of time if you or someone in your party is handicapped, so that they can make sure to accommodate your group in the most convenient and comfortable setting.
Don’t miss out on America’s oldest settlement. Contact us today.