Before we left Eureka, we kept a list of Places to See, and St. Augustine was high on that list. After all, when would we ever get the opportunity again to drink from the Fountain of Youth and experience this magical water for ourselves? We had to see it.
The Fountain of Youth is actually just an area in St. Augustine where it’s been proven that Ponce De Leon actually set foot on North American soil. In fact, Ponce was the first European to set foot on land. Sorry to burst your bubble, but your 3rd grade teacher was wrong. Christopher Columbus only “discovered” the area around Puerto Rico or “Hispaniola.” Ponce actually found Florida. But poor Ponce, he didn’t even get a holiday out of the deal.
So what made the water in St. Augustine so special when he found it? When Ponce landed ashore, he noticed that the Natives were living very long lives, up to 70 years. He couldn’t believe it. Ponce and his buddies were lucky to make it to age 35. These dark skinned old folks on the mainland were fit and healthy, and by golly, it just had to be the water, Ponce concluded. The explorer found a sacred spring where he landed, drank from it, and said it was the sweetest, best tasting water he’d ever had. It had to be magic. Granted, ol’ Ponce was used to drinking seawater and rancid water stored on his ships, so of course spring water tasted better. He bottled it, put it on the ship, and took a bunch back home to Europe. He drank gallons from it, bathed in it, and swore he felt like a kid again. A little while later he got shot with an arrow and died. So we really don’t know if the water was really magical, but it’s nice to believe in it, isn’t it?
The Fountain of Youth attraction is the ultimate cheesy roadside attraction filled with big theatrical exhibits, archaeological findings, and lush green tropical gardens that are all yours for just $7. Really, for being an old tourist trap, the place wasn’t that bad. The cheese factor made it pretty funny, and we really did learn a few things while we were there. The best part was that it’s Dog Friendly, and Jerry was allowed to go anywhere he pleased. What a bargain.
Meanwhile, here are some photos of the place.