If there’s any time that St. Johns County residents should be playing tourist at museums and on tours, it’s September. As the summer winds down and the real tourists slowly leave the city, some of St. Augustine’s favorite attractions open their doors for locals – free all month long. So strap on a fanny pack and pull on your sunhat (or whatever the tourists are wearing these days) and take some time to explore the rich history of your Ancient City. These attractions are free in September for St. Johns County residents with a valid local ID – a driver’s license or voter registration card. Tickets must be requested at ticket booths.
POTTER’S WAX MUSEUM
31 Orange Street
Meet some famous celebrities, talented athletes, political figures, movie legends, and other familiar faces – all without leaving St. Augustine. Potter’s Wax Museum is fun for the whole family as you wander through more than 150 wax figures.
ST. AUGUSTINE HISTORY MUSEUM
167 San Marco Avenue
More than 400 years of history is on display at the St. Augustine History Museum including toys and dolls from the early 19th and 20th centuries, a replica of a Spanish galleon and real gold, silver, and jewelry found in lost treasures off the Florida coast.
167 San Marco Avenue
Designed by Henry Flagler (who had a desire not to ruin the beauty of the city), from the outside, the Authentic Old Jail looks more like a luxurious Victorian Home than a jail. But step inside this museum to see what the lives of these prisoners was really like, and get a look at the not-so-Gilded-Age side of St. Augustine.
OLDEST STORE MUSEUM
167 San Marco Avenue
Everything from the friendly clerks and the snake oil salesman to the washing machine and iron on the shelves looks like they were pulled from the pages of a Sears Roebuck catalog of the early 20th century. It’s a step back in time that shows you the everyday life of the common man.
OLD TOWN TROLLEY TOURS
Experience the whole city in one afternoon! A sightseeing trolley tour gives you an overview of the top spots in St. Augustine as well as a brief version of the history behind them. It’s a great way to pick up some local trivia (as well as stay out of the sun for a while).
20 Aviles Street
Built as a merchant’s home and business in the late 18th century, the Ximenez House later became “Miss Fatio’s,” St. Augustine’s most fashionable boarding house. Today, you can wander through this museum that has been carefully restored to reflect its heyday during Florida’s first tourism boom in the early to mid-1800s.
OLDEST WOODEN SCHOOLHOUSE
14 St. George Street
Constructed more than 200 years ago, this little building is a step back in time for visitors. Explore the living quarters of the schoolmaster and his wife, the separated kitchen (with several cooking utensils from the day on display, and a number of artifacts from pupils of the time.
75 King Street
A beautiful collection of art and artifacts from St. Augustine’s gilded age, the Lightner Museum is always worth a trip (or two). Take a moment to experience life like the friends and guests of Henry Flagler, and admire the architecture of the former Alcazar Hotel.
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
11 Magnolia Avenue
The legendary Fountain of Youth was sought after for centuries, and now you can drink from its waters (full disclosure, we can’t guarantee that it’ll work…). Even if you don’t suddenly start feeling youthful, you can still learn some of the history surrounding its discovery and important place in the timeline of the city.
143 St. George Street
Built in the mid-1700s for the Spanish Royal Treasurer, the house has been the dwelling of Spanish, British, and American governors, prominent families, and dignitaries. Now the home is open to the public as a beautiful example of the antebellum homes of the South.
BONUS: SMITHSONIAN MUSEUM DAY & DISCOUNTS
In an annual celebration of boundless curiosity, museums and cultural institutions across the country provide free admission for Smithsonian Museum Day. This year’s museum day will take place on Saturday, September 22. Get free admission to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum, and the Florida Agricultural Museum. Visit the website below to download your ticket. www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/museum-day-2018
You should also keep a lookout for resident discounts during easy season. Tasting Tours of St. Augustine is offering St. Johns County residents $5 off all tours during the month of September. Just call or text 904-325-3911 for the promo code or to book a tour. www.thetastingtours.com/tours
Featured image via Old Town Trolley Tours