Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Day in St. Augustine

Yesterday was the big fourth grade field trip at South Ocala - in fact, it's the only field trip that the fourth grade takes this year. Daryl and I signed up at the beginning of the school year to be chaperones for Parker's class. So we dropped Wesley and Davis off when the daycare opened at 6:30 (Wesley rode the daycare van to and from school today) and headed straight for the school. The buses left promptly at 7am. We rode really nice charter buses and watched the Disney movie Wreck It Ralph on the way. 

Our first stop was the Visitor Information Center at 9:15am. Time for a bathroom break and since we were on bus 2, we met up with our guide Dion for the day. Daryl and I were responsible for Parker plus four other boys. 

Along the way in the bus to our next stop, the guide asked the kids when St. Augustine was settled. Parker got the answer right - 1565 - St. Augustine is getting ready to celebrate its 450th anniversary in 2015. We visited one of the oldest streets in America - Aviles Street - where we visited the Spanish Military Hospital Museum.

We learned all about apothecaries and how they made medicines from herbs and other things and some of those are still part of the medicines we use today.

Then we learned more about the hospital's care for patients and about some medical procedures, like how they did anesthesia and amputations. One of our boys was the "guinea pig" for the medical procedures; when she whipped the cloth off the table covering up all the saws and spikes, I thought he was gonna bolt for the door.

Then we picked up a trolley tour and went all through the historic district. Parker remembered some of this because Uncle Jonathan and Aunt Tanya's wedding in 2011 was in historic downtown St. Augustine. We never got off the trolley, just drove past a lot of interesting sights and listened to the stories from the driver.

The Bridge of Lions 

City Gates
Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum 

This cross on the Catholic church property marks where Pedro Menendez de Aviles,
who discovered St. Augustine, came ashore. 

This oak treee is said to be at least 600 years old. 

Magnolia Street
Fence made of oyster shells

Everyone was surprised to see the peacock way up in the tree. 
The gallows in front of the old city jail. 
French Huegenot cemetery.  
Wax museum in the old drugstore. 
Lover's Knot Tree - A palm tree growing up through this old oak tree. 

Henry Flagler bought the land from the original United Methodist church to build a hotel and gave them this new location and built their sanctuary in exchange. Turns out the pastor at Grace UMC St. Augustine now was our pastor when we were children (Rev. Jim Reeher). 

The original parsonage on the new site. 
The Baptist church also built by Flagler. 

Finally the Presbyterian church in town built by Flagler and where he is buried 

Part of the Ponce deLeon hotel 
The power plant built by Thomas Edison for Flager's Ponce deLeon hotel. His hotel had electricity
three years before the White House. 
This rotunda has the world's largest collection of Tiffany glass in the windows. 

A statue of Pedro Menendez de Aviles. 
Life size statue of Ponce deLeon (only 4 ft 11 inches). 
The Catholic basilica. 
Lunch was Chik Fil A catered for us back at the Visitor Information Center. This is a picture of the kids on the trip just from Parker's 4th grade class, including Miss Lenon.

Then is was time for some fun at the Old Florida Museum. We spent time learning and exploring in two of their big exhibits - about Sailors and Sailing, as well as the Timacua Indians.

They were marking the stern of the boat and were supposed to look "angry." 

Sulphur spring. 
Decorating one of the other teachers, Mrs. Bruce. 

The three of us plus Parker's good friend Jammarius from our group. 
The tattoos Parker got in addition to the face paint he was marked with. 
Our last historical stop was at the fort - really the Castillo de San Marcos. We walked up and spent time at the cannon demonstration.

Bus #2 from South Ocala at the fort - Ms Lenon and Mrs Robles' classes. 

Our final stop before leaving was to walk up and down St. George Street for souvenir shopping - six blocks with something like 275 stores. The boys mostly enjoyed the Candy Store!

We walked back to the Visitor Information Center for a last bathroom break at 4:15pm and the kids took time to say goodbye to our guide Dion. Then we hit the bus and headed back for Ocala. We arrived back at 6:30pm - it had been quite a long but really good day.

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