Today we made the short drive north to St. Augustine, FL and visited the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. It is a Spanish fort, built in 1672, that was built out of Coquina, a rock made of compressed shells and sand. It was very interesting to see how the fort was operated in different ways over time and how people lived inside the fort. After going over the draw bridge,and over the moat (the kids thought this was SO cool!), we passed through the front gate and explored all of the different rooms and displays in the lower level. The kids worked on their Jr. Ranger books and were done before too long. A Ranger had a special display set up about spices and the spice trade that we found very interesting. The ranger explained how the sailing ships utilized the trade winds and Gulf Stream currents to maximize speed and distance while traveling between Spain and the Americas.
Little Miss Kicky Feet had quite a bit of fun walking all over on the lower level. She was not very interested in the displays. We had to watch out for mosquitoes as there were quite a lot of them. I am not sure any of us escaped without at least one bite.
When we went up to the upper level we mostly looked out at the view across the surrounding landscape and river. The upper level was comprised the roof of the fort, which doubled as a platform from which canons could be fired, troops could fire muskets from, and sentries could stand guard. I spotted some dolphins playing in the water nearby. That was a special treat. We also watched a few modern sailing vessels travel down the river which required the drawbridge just to the south of the fort to be raised for safe passage of the vessels. The older two kids liked watching the drawbridge raise and lower.
After our visit we traveled south along route A1A to Captain’s BBQ in Palm Coast, where we all had a very delicious late lunch! Mmmmm! Now that we are all completely stuffed I am ready for a nap before watching the Indians baseball game tonight.