I love history! That is why my next adventure led me to explore the nation’s oldest masonry fortress, The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine, Florida.
It was built in the colonial era of the 1700’s and was used as a military defense to guard and protect Florida from the invasion of pirates who were hunting treasure on-board Spanish Fleets that sailed along the Gulf Stream.
Once I paid a small entrance fee of $7.00, I had access to the fortress and all of the fun activities that it had to offer. For example, I watched a short 25-minute educational video that highlighted historical facts about the fort. If you come late, it is okay because the video plays every hour in the viewing room.
I participated in the “Take in a Ranger Program” in which the Park Ranger shared additional information about the culture and history of Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. The program was a great experience because the Park Ranger was very knowledgeable and informatively addressed all questions that asked by myself and other participants in the group.
Afterwards, I began my self-guided tour of the fort! There was a fabulous view of St. Augustine from the gun deck lined with cannons along the wall.
Inside the fort, there were sleeping quarters for the soldiers. By the way, those quarters looked uncomfortable. Soldiers slept on communal wooden beds (without a mattress) and were given a blanket for chilly nights. I could only imagine the neck and back aches soldiers may have possibly endured.
Anyway, there were small offices for the chiefs in command and a lot of tunnels that led to different areas of the fort. I also saw a jail that was used to hold prisoners, the cafeteria, and a watchtower. I ended my tour just in time to watch the outdoor demonstrations.
The demonstration was awesome! There were men dressed in costumes that represented soldiers of the colonial era. They were equipped with guns and muskets and did a weapons demonstration. There were a soldier’s drill and the firing of one of the canons. There was a loud boom when the cannonball was fired, and the crowd clapped and cheered loudly. The demonstration was fun to watch.
Overall, visiting the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument was well worth the trip!
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