Tour the Ponce de Leon Hotel for their 125th Anniversary!
Summer time is here! And that means vacation time in Florida, especially here in historic St. Augustine. The Ponce de Leon Hotel, home of Flagler College, continues to be a big draw for visitors. The hotel is huge, it's in the center of the city, it's a prominent part of the St. Augustine skyline and Henry Flagler is a local icon because of it. Not to mention the extravagant hotel is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. Even though it's the campus of Flagler College today, in the late 1800s, it was a luxury resort for tourists from the north.
Today, visitors can affordably enjoy the beauty of this vacation destination by taking a guided tour. Just go to the main entrance lobby past the front courtyard of the hotel and purchase your tickets in the gift shop to the left. $10 for adults, $1 for children under 12, and FREE for St. John's County residents with a valid form of ID. You'll learn all about the oil and railroad tycoon Henry Flagler, what it took to build the hotel, hidden symbols in the details of the architecture, plus you'll see some artifacts of the hotel that are absolutely priceless.
Be forewarned - some of the numbers and figures will astound you! My friend who was visiting St. Augustine couldn't believe what Flagler and his men at the time were capable of doing with the technology at the turn of the century. It makes you wonder how anyone could want to tear it down back in the 1960s (no joke, they tried. Thanks to Flagler College for saving this amazing landmark!). Fortunately, it still stands today and continues to astonish families and students. And the tour is the best way to be astonished without paying tuition (although the tour's proceeds DO go to help pay for the tuition of Flagler's students).
We went on the tour during one of Florida's infamous, unpredictable thunderstorms, which is nice because almost all of the tour is inside. By the time our tour finished, the weather was nice again. It's also within walking distance of the Lightner Museum (also a Flagler hotel), located just across the street. Both St. Augustine attractions are sure to provide entertainment for hours.
For more information on planning your visit to The Ponce de Leon Hotel (now Flagler College), visit their profile page.
For ideas on other great things to do on your visit to St. Augustine, check out these great vacation activities.
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