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Yesterday we visited Castillo de San Marcos, which is located in St. Augustine Florida. Castilla de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fortification in North America. The fort was built between 1672 and 1695 and was built of Coquina (fossilized crushed shell stone) and other material (You can really see the shells on the walls of the fort!). Workers were brought in from Havana, Cuba, to construct the fort. The coquina was quarried from Anastasia Island across the bay from the Castillo, and ferried across to the construction site. Construction lasted twenty-three years, being completed in 1695.

This place is an impressive piece of history and is so much fun! It has a double drawbridge entrance which is located over a 40-foot dry moat. The fort stands on top of a hill located right next to the water. The structure is very impressive! It’s hard to believe this has been here since construction began in 1672! Each room in the fort presents information about the fort. The info varies from the ruling parties to the weapons to the people who lived in and defended the fort as well as the settlement. In one room, a video is constantly playing about the weaponry used during the battles fought at this fort as the Spanish (the original settlers and the ones who eventually stole it back from the British) and British (the ones who took it over after two sieges) fought for Florida. The fort even played a role in the Civil War as the confederacy held on to Florida. While here, make sure you go to the top of the fort and take in the views of the water, the historic downtown, and of the beautiful seaside homes lining the water across the way.

This monument also does a canon firing on the weekends and it is so cool! Find a spot early where no one can get in front of you and get ready for a history lesson for the kids. The gift shop has some cool stuff that is not too overpriced, which is nice for those of us who like souvenirs. Overall, it’s a great way to teach kids about history and have fun doing so. It’s also not expensive to get in either, and the tickets last for a week, so you can go back during your stay in St. Augustine.

We had a great day exploring this wonderful fort and the demonstrations were amazing. I would definitely go back.

Here are some great curriculum lessons to use with your kids when you go. Or, use it as a virtual field trip with your kids and teach them about St. Augustine without actually going.

http://www.nps.gov/casa/forteachers/index.htm

Never stop learning,

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