Typically, when I vacation, I go for the less planned care-free approach. But this time based on the weather forecasts predicting rain I knew I needed to prepare so we would have fun and still stay dry. As we discovered the city has plenty of indoor activities to entertain all age groups. For parents looking to explore this vibrant city here are our choices for the best rainy day attractions families will love in St. Augustine.
St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum
12 S. Castillo Drive – (904) 819-1444
I love pirates and tales of hidden treasures! I mean, who doesn’t?
When visiting St. Augustine, the Pirate & Treasure Museum is a must see. Entirely an inside attraction you are sure to be safe from rain, and lightning. When you first enter the building, you are in the gift shop and purchase your tickets from the cashier. Then, you are free to explore the museum.
Kids can light the interactive cannons, learn about Sir Francis Drake, Captain Kidd, and see gold, silver, tools, and old pottery items. There is even a room that is dedicated to movie scenes that include pirates and treasures families will love to explore.
Autism Travel Tips
When visiting here, there are plenty of interactive activities including the cannons and touchscreen computers, but there is a sensory warning sign on their counter. The sign explains that there are loud noises, flashing lights, and even some images that may be disturbing to some. This venue is popular with schools so it can be crowded during school hours on weekdays. If parents want to skip the crowds, they need to make sure to arrive after 2 pm.
Potter’s Wax Museum
31 Orange Street – (904) 829-3800
Another of our favorite spots was Potter’s Wax Museum. Entirely indoors, visitors walk through a small general store that shows many of old-school remedies that were sold in town. After purchasing your ticket, then you are escorted into the actual Wax Museum.
We got to see over 160 figures spread across multiple rooms. Among the exhibits are some of Mr. Potter’s original wax sculptures as well as many modern-day ones. There are wax figures depicting famous people and characters from our founding fathers to Star Wars replicas. You can expect to ‘meet’ sports icons like Michael Jordan as well as composers and entertainers such as Beethoven, Ray Charles, and Britney Spears. Kids will get a kick out of taking closeup selfies with Sandra Bullock, John Travolta, Nickolas Cage, Sylvester Stallone as Rambo and Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow.
Autism Travel Tips
Parents need to prepare their kids for the fact that they cant touch the figurines. Moreover, they need to know that food and drinks cannot be brought into the museum since they can damage the wax figures.
The museum is on the small side and can get crowded at peak hours. If you wish to skip the crowds go in the late afternoon. Best time to go The “Chamber of Horrors” depicts the somewhat gruesome execution of Andrew Ranson a famous pirate may not be suitable for younger kids.
Authentic Old Jail
167 San Marco Ave – (904) 829-3800
The Authentic Old Jail was home to some of the city’s most violent criminals from 1891–1953. Nowadays visitors can join a guided tour and listen to stories about the vat=rious inmates.
This is mostly an indoor venue with one exception when the guide talks about the birdcage and gallows history. The first exhibit shows the two jail cells each with two beds that housed the women inmates. You can also visit the kitchen where the women prepared the food and drinks for the Sherriff and inmates.
We found the next two displays interesting. One was where the solitary confinement and death row inmates kept separately from standard inmates spent their time. The second was the Sheriff’s house, attached to the jail that gave you a glimpse of how he and his family lived. Particularly fascinating was the fingerprinting set that he ordered from Europe to help in his investigations.
The last place on the tour is upstairs where you get to see the actual jail cells. As our guide sharply pointed out crowding in jails isn’t a new problem. In fact, though there are four beds per cell, in reality, each cell housed up to twelve prisoners at a time.
Autism Travel Tips
The Authentic Old Jail does have many steep stairs, and no elevators, so make sure children can handle the stairs. The stairs are steep and narrow, so if you are with kids, try and go up or down them after the other people who are touring too. Doing so will allow extra time to move up and down them.
St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum
81 Lighthouse Avenue – (904) 829-0745
The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is primarily indoors although you will have to walk outside to move between the buildings.
There are a quite few different buildings that families can explore here. One is the Lighthouse keeper’s home; where visitors can walk around and see various artifacts that have been discovered in the St. Augustine area. These artifacts include cannons, pottery, and coins. For those wishing to learn more about St Augustine’s history should check out the interactive touch screens throughout the lighthouse keeper’s home.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse totted as the second tallest lighthouse in Florida sports 219 stairs. In simple math that is 219 up and 219 down which total a whopping 438steps! On the bright side, those who brave the strenuous climb will enjoy superb views of St. Augustine and the Bay.
Autism Travel Tips
Walking to the top of the lighthouse is not a requirement. If you have children or family members with autism that tire easily or are claustrophobic this may not be the activity for you.
Our additional bucket list of rainy day attractions
Sadly we barely scratched the surface during our short stay in St Augustine. So, we want to go back and check out more place on my list. Here’s my ‘missed’ list. Hopefully, on our next trip to St. Augustine I will be able to visit these attractions and come back to share my experiences with all of you again.
- Historic Tours of Flagler College
- Lightner Museum
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
- Spanish Military Hospital Museum
- Villa Zorayda Museum
- Whetstone Chocolate Tasting Tours
- World Golf Hall Fame & Museum
- Ximenez-Fatio House Museum
Have you been to St. Augustine and had to maneuver around the rain?
If so, what are your favorite rainy day attractions in St. Augustine?
Guest post by S. Calhoun
Stacy Calhoun is currently a stay at home mom to two amazing and beautiful girls. Her 16-year-old keeps her busy with horseback riding lessons, and her 9-year-old daughter is a quarter midget race car driver. Her biggest passion other than her family is writing. For the last four years, she has written about frugal living, product reviews, vacation round-ups as well as hotel reviews.