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Florida Guide > Places to Visit

The Lightner Museum

No visit to St Augustine is complete without going to the Lightner Museum which is located in the historic downtown. It is 20 minutes from I-95, one hour from Jacksonville and Daytona Beach, and two hours from Disney World, Epcot Center and Cape Canaveral.

Opening hours are as follows:

9:00 a. m. – 5:00 p. m. , daily

Last Admission: 4:00 p. m.

(closed Christmas Day)

Admission prices are:

Adults: $10. 00

Active military with I. D. :$6. 00

College student with I. D. :$5. 00

Young people: 12-18: $5. 00

Children under 12 (with adult): free

The museum is handicapped and wheelchair accessible.

The Lightner Museum was originally the Hotel Alcazar; the building was built in 1887 by Henry Flagler in the Spanish Renaissance style. Flagler was a railroad magnate who commissioned architects Carrere and Hastings to design the Alcazar and the Ponce de Leon Hotel (across the street). The two young architects later designed the New York Public Library and the U. S. Senate office building. After years of accommodating vacationing wealthy patrons, the elegant resort hotel closed. Apparently while it was a hotel unless you were fabulously wealthy it was nearly impossible to get reservations.

Chicago publisher, Otto C. Lightner, bought the building to house his extensive collection of Victoriana in 1946 and opened the museum two years later before eventually giving the museum to the city of St. Augustine.

You can wander through the magnificent rooms and look at costumes, furnishings, mechanical musical instruments and collections that bring back the grand Gilded Age, that great period in the 19th century. There are also beautiful works of cut glass, Victorian art glass and the celebrated work of Louis Comfort Tiffany whose lights/lamps I love.

Local people have told me that the Lightner Museum provides a spectacular setting for corporate and private functions. Award ceremonies, dinners and dances can be held here and are really splendid affairs.

We completed out visit to the Lightner Museum with lunch at the Café Alcazar which is situated in the Lightner Museum Antique Mall. This is behind the museum and is actually in the former indoor swimming pool. You can get 15% off your food bill with your museum ticket.

Here you will get elegant white tablecloths and friendly and attentive staff. Unfortunately this only opens for lunch with corporate events in the evenings. However the lunch menu is lovely we started with escargot which was just perfect. I then had the spinach crepes and rice and my brother had the artichoke hearts over linguini. We both really enjoyed our meals eaten whilst listening to some guitar music.

Try visiting both Museum and the Café I think you will enjoy it.

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Page added on: 9 January 2010
Viewed 3350 times since 9 January 2010.

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