Editor’s Note: During this period of social distancing, Student Group Tour magazine will continue to provide ideas for planning educational travel. Many attractions and destinations are closed at this time; please contact them directly for updated information.

See how European settlers lived in the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the nation at Colonial Quarter in St. Augustine, Florida.

“We offer 45-minute tours that explore 500 years of European history in Florida with blacksmithing demonstrations and a visit to a home that is over 280 years old,” said John Stavely, groups director at Colonial Quarter. “Students will get great insight into the birthplace of European America and its journey through today.”

The 2-acre attraction highlights colonial Spanish and British history through hands-on activities and immersive demonstrations. These experiences cover four distinct time periods in the Colonial Quarter: 16th-Century First City, 17th-Century Spanish Fortified Town, 18th-Century British Colony and 18th-Century Spanish Garrison Town. 

In the 16th-Century First City experience, students will see the replica of a 16th-century caravel — a ship built for speed and easy maneuvering. An archaeological dig site additionally allows groups to discover buried artifacts and discuss evidence of the locations of the region’s earliest forts.

Credit: FloridasHistoricCoast.com

Climb the 35-foot watchtower to look over the city’s bayfront and the 17th-century Castillo de San Marcos — the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. After, students can receive a lesson on loading, locking and firing a replica 17th-century musket.

This experience also gives visitors the chance to see and hear the workings of the blacksmith shop, where a blacksmith provides demonstrations on making tools and cooking utensils.

Another experience included in the tour is a walk across the Flags Over St. Augustine boardwalk. The exhibit features the flags that flew over the 450-year-old city. The collection even includes a copy of the flag that most likely flew on the mast of Juan Ponce de Leon’s ship that explored the Florida coast. Colonial Quarter is home to three restaurants, the live music venue Colonial Oak Music Park and Explorer’s Outpost — a gift shop selling maps, locally-crafted trinkets, replica weaponry and more.

For more information call 904-599-2113 or go to colonialquarter.com.