Visit Some of the Best Museums in St. Augustine, FL

Visit Some of the Best Museums in St. Augustine, FL

The Lightner Museum

Certainly one of the most beautiful structures in the heart of historic St. Augustine, the Lightner Museum has been enriching the lives of visitors for over 75 years. Originally, the property was built as a hotel in 1888 by Henry Flagler and was known as the Alcazar Hotel. It was designed to emulate the beauty of the Spanish Renaissance period, and it helped establish St. Augustine as a tourist destination at the turn of the century. Later, author, editor, and collector Otto C. Lightner founded the Museum of Hobbies in 1948 because he wanted to expand people’s minds through collecting pieces of history. Collecting was a hobby that carried the American people through the Great Depression, and Lightner himself was an avid collector of decorative art, historic artifacts, and even matchbooks. Today, the museum is a hub for art, exhibitions, events, and history, and it offers visitors an engaging experience. It features exhibits from the Victorian and Gilded Ages to the Civil War. The museum currently has its 75 for 75 Diamond Anniversary Exhibition, celebrating its history in the community.

Potter’s Wax Museum

Looking to stare history right in the eye? Then the Potter’s Wax Museum is the right place for you when visiting St. Augustine. Located inside of the Old Drug Store in the historic district, Potter’s is the first and oldest wax museum in the U.S. Young George L. Potter had a life-changing experience while traveling the world with his family when they stopped at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in London. Potter was so inspired by the wax figures that he dreamed of having his own collection. In 1948, Potter’s dream was realized after he came into a small fortune in real estate. Today, Potter’s features over 160 wax sculptures of historic and fictional figures ranging from politicians to explorers to sport stars to celebrities. This is a family-friendly, fun attraction if you are looking for things to do in the oldest city.

St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum

Set sail for a voyage through the exciting history of buccaneers and riches that stretched across the seven seas! The St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum is a fun and educational experience that takes families back to the golden age of piracy in Port Royal, Jamaica. Schedule a tour, throw a private pirate party, or plan a school field trip to this St. Augustine adventure that travels its visitors back in time over 300 years. This museum includes over 800 artifacts of both historical and fictional piracy, and it is a long-time passion project for pirate scholar and founder Pat Croce. After 5 years as the Pirate Soul Museum in Key West, FL, Croce relocated to St. Augustine in 2010 and opened the museum we see today. Pirates played a huge role in the Spanish colonial history of St. Augustine, and people of all ages will enjoy learning about the famous pirates who frequented this Spanish settlement.

St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum

The St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum is great for not just leg day or ghostly experiences; this nonprofit organization is committed to the discovery, preservation, and education of the nation’s oldest port and its history. Still a working lighthouse, the main structure stands with a whopping 219 steps, but the museum also includes four historic structures in addition to the Maritime Education Center. There are hands-on educational experiences both indoors and outdoors, and guests can learn about boat building, shipwrecks, and maritime archaeology. Parents can also bring their kids to the Cracker’s and Eliza’s Club which has a shipyard playground. And after the sun goes down, you can even embark on a Dark of the Moon Ghost Tour where you can hear real stories about the spooky history of the lighthouse at night. It may just send chills down your spine. There is so much to be done when visiting the St. Augustine Lighthouse, so be sure to put it on your itinerary.