Tours of historic landmarks allow modern historians to walk the bloodstained halls of the Roman Coliseum, harvest cherries at George Washington’s boyhood home, or uncover hieroglyphic evidence of ancient skateboarders in Egyptian pyramids. Set a date with history with today’s Groupon: for $10, you get admission for two to the audio tour at Villa Zorayda in St. Augustine (tickets are $10 each; children 8–12 are $4 and under 7 are free. St. John's County residents with a photo ID showing their current address normally receive 50 percent off regular admission prices and a personalized outgoing voice mail message from the museum’s curator).
From its perch on the National Register of Historic Places, Villa Zorayda lures in sightseers and conquistadors alike with the intricate, colorful architecture inspired by the Court of Lions at Spain’s mystical Alhambra Palace. The Villa’s self-guided audio tours turn fact-hungry wanderers loose within the miniature castle for a leisurely 45- to 60-minute jaunt through the museum’s grandeur, history, and animatronic matadors. Aurally escorted by a handheld Orpheo audio guide, guests absorb information as they travel from room to room, researching the recently restored villa’s connection to St. Augustine’s Spanish Moorish architectural revival or reveling in tales from the site’s past lives as a mansion and casino. Wind through displays of antiques, challenging the curse of the Egyptian Sacred Cat Rug or sending smoke-signal postcards to jealous relatives with the charcoal-fueled fires of the ancient tent warmer.
A piece of Spain separated from Europe and landed in Florida. Nestled in Saint Augustine’s historic district and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the majestic Villa Zorayda contains architectural features that mirror those found in the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain. Audio tours lead visitors through this restored Spanish villa’s halls and airy inner courtyard, pointing out hundreds of antiquities such as Arabic arches, glazed ceramics, bronze statues, and ancient charcoal burners. When not welcoming tours, the historic building and grounds also host weddings and private parties.
83 King St.
St. Augustine, Florida 32084