I have been intrigued by lighthouses for a long time, thus I was very happy to be able to go and see the St. Augustine Lighthouse when we were in Northern Florida in May of 1999. The St. Augustine Lighthouse is located on the north end of Anastasia Island, was built in 1874, and is the most recent of a number of towers built in the area. It is truly incredible.
The Lighthouse is St. Augustine’s oldest surviving brick structure, and today the site is restored to colors and materials used in the year 1888. The lighthouse rises 165 feet above sea level and contains 219 steps that are climbed by visitors. At the top, the original, first-order Fresnel lens still serves the beacon, but today is lit by a 1000 watt bulb, and maintained by the museum and volunteers. The St. Augustine lens consists of 370 hand-cut glass prisms arranged in a beehive shape towering twelve feet tall and six feet in diameter.
According to the Lighthouse Friends.com site, the tower was built using brick from Alabama, granite from Georgia, ironwork forged in Philadelphia, and a first-order Fresnel lens crafted in France. The revolving lens produced a fixed white light, varied every three minutes by a white flash, at a focal plane of 165 feet, and the tower was painted in distinctive black and white spiral bands, the same daymark used at Cape Hatteras. The small building attached to the base of the tower originally housed a keeper’s office on one side and an area for storing the large drums of lard oil, used in the lighthouse’s lamp, on the other. After the light was converted to kerosene, a new brick oil house was built a safe distance away from the tower in 1890 to contain the more volatile fuel.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum was incorporated in January 1998, and a new visitors’ center was added to the site in 2000 to help accommodate the large crowds who come to learn about the lighthouse and to climb to the top of the tower for the expansive view. The lighthouse was awarded to St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum in 2002 under the provisions of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.
The Lighthouse was officially listed on the US National Register of Historic Places on March 19, 1981. Today the St. Augustine Lighthouse Museum is dedicated to discovering, preserving, presenting, and keeping alive the story of the Nation’s Oldest Port. They do this in many ways:
- Educational opportunities
- Local and national preservation efforts
- Maritime archaeological research
The location is the subject of numerous ghost stories and supernatural legends, and the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum offers tickets for a number of “Dark of the Moon” ghost tours and ghost-themed private events to the public. According to ghost hunters, the lighthouse and surrounding buildings have a history of paranormal activity. The lighthouse has been featured in episodes of the Syfy television series Ghost Hunters, and the program My Ghost Story.
We didn’t have much time to explore the museum, but the exhibits we did see were very informative. I would definitely like to see and explore more the next time we are in the area. Make sure to take some time to visit the amazing St. Augustine Lighthouse. Here is a link to their website with hours, prices, etc. If you like lighthouses, you might also want to check out my post entitled 24 Lighthouses Replicas on Lake Havasu. I share information on all of them, and where they are located. If you have a lighthouse that you really enjoyed seeing, please leave a comment and I will add it to our must-see list. 🙂
St. Augustine Lighthouse Visitor Information
100 Red Cox Road St. Augustine FL 32080
Open daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Tickets and Prices:
Included with your General Admission Day Pass:
Explore lightkeeper duties and daily life, sailing, wooden boatbuilding and underwater archaeology during your visit. See the Daily Demo Schedule to customize your visit.
Grab a scavenger hunt card pack at the entrance to the Maritime Hammock trails and add a fun experience to your walk in the natural area of the historic site. Search for animals that live in this coastal habitat and learn about the medicinal and historic uses of plants.
Shipyard Play Area • Breathtaking 360º Views • Shipwreck Artifacts Revealed • 1876 Keepers’ House Exhibits • Maritime Hammock Nature Trails • Tin Pickle, Local Gedunk (WWII Themed Eatery)
|Seniors (60 & over)||$10.95|
|Children (Age 12 or under and 44″ or taller)||$10.95|
GUIDED LIGHTHOUSE TOURS
Dark of the Moon Ghost Tour
All ghosts no gimmicks! This is the ONLY ghost tour that gets
you INSIDE the tower at night! (As seen on TAPS)
Hear the histories and hauntings of the St. Augustine Lighthouse in this one (1) hour guided tour of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. A guide will lead you through the Lightkeepers’ House, grounds, and to the base of the Lighthouse, tower sharing the ghost tales of the Lighthouse.
Enjoy breathtaking views of the sunset and full moon rise with
champagne and hors d’oeuvres on top of the tower!
Lighthouse Keeper’s Tour (Keepers’ House)
Learn about lighthouse history on a behind-the-scenes tour with our lighthouse keeper. The one-hour tours are $19.95 for adults, $17.95 for seniors and children under 12. General Admission is included with the tour.
Things to Note:
For their safety children must be at least 44 inches tall to climb the tower and must be able to do so under their own power. Carrying children in the tower is prohibited. Children under the height requirement have free admission, and one accompanying adult receives half-price admission.
All public restrooms are handicapped accessible, as are several exhibit areas. There is a “View from the Top” video in the wheelchair accessible, Maritime Center, and a climb-in puppet theater for little ones. Check out their Visitors’ Map to see accessible areas and review the Museum Accessibility Policies here.
Service animal access to climbing the 219 steps in the tower is prohibited for the safety of all. Animals are welcome on the historic grounds but not in historic buildings. Please do not leave animals in a vehicle.
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