Daytona, St. Augustine, and More!

This week I did some more exploring from Daytona Beach to Jacksonville. My first adventure this week was a local one though.

This week’s exploring started at Clearwater Beach. I spent an afternoon at the beach, and I spent some time walking around looking for dolphin statues that are all around the Clearwater area. I also watched the sunset on the beach. Overall, it was a nice first day of exploring this week.

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My first day of bigger adventures took me to Orlando. I went to the Orlando Science Center. They had a really cool travelling exhibit on superheroes. Their exhibits on weather, energy, and live animal exhibits were also really enjoyable. There was a local fossil group that had sort of taken over their dino exhibit, and they blocked some of the ability to enjoy the exhibit. There was also a really neat art exhibit about conservation where all of the pieces featured recyclables.

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I started my second day of adventures very early at Daytona Beach. I watched the sunrise. It was beautiful, and I realized I enjoy beaches much more when there aren’t so many people.

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After the beach, I went to Fort Matanzas National Monument. The fort marks the southern defenses of the St. Augustine colony. To get to the fort, there is a short ferry ride with a park ranger. The rangers provided a really good overview of the history of the fort and the area on the way to the fort. The fort is pretty small which made it really easy to get a sense of the history and what life would have been like for those in the fort. I really enjoyed the fort and learned a lot.

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After Fort Matanzas, I ventured up to the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine. As the bigger settlement and fort of the Spanish, I expected the Castillo to be more enjoyable and to build on what I had learned at the Fort. Overall, I found the Castillo to be crowded and harder to get a good sense of what life would have been like when it was operational. It was nice to get to see the larger settlement after going to Matanzas, but I definitely felt like I got a better sense of the history and had a better experience at Matanzas.

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My third stop of the day was Fort Caroline. Fort Caroline is located in Timucuan Preserve, so the area is beautiful. The fort itself is completely a modern construction created to memorialize the French settlement in the area. There is a lot of history presented, but since the French lost to the Spanish none of the original is left. It was nice to get to see where the settlement was, and it helped me get a better sense of where the conflicts between the French and Spanish took place.

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After Fort Caroline, I went to the Museum of Science and History (MOSH). There was a national geographic exhibit on travel and research in difficult environments that I really enjoyed. With being a history museum as well, there were a lot of artifacts and focus on people that was really well done. There was also a live animal room, and they were doing a presentation while I was there with their opossum, so I got to pet a possum. The MOSH is a smaller museum, but it was really well done and I enjoyed it a lot.

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My last stop of the week was at the Museum of Arts and Science back in Daytona. While this showed up as more of a science museum, it was definitely mostly an art museum. There was also a section of historical artifacts related to coca cola and the Root family (who made the bottles for coca cola). I was a little confused as to why it was called a science museum, because all I saw was art, but then I went into the Children’s Museum area. The Children’s Museum was all science and interactive exhibits. I almost skipped it because it looked like it wasn’t welcoming for adults, but I’m really glad I went in. Overall, the museum is probably 85% art, but I still enjoyed stopping in.

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This week was a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to going on more adventures in the coming weeks.

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