My First Coast
Meet the person behind St. Augustine’s Pirate Museum, Colonial Quarter and First Colony.
Cindy has been in St. Augustine’s tourism industry for 18 years, from working at an alligator farm and doing ghost tours to managing three of the city’s top attractions. With five grandchildren, she sees the city’s history and wonder through their eyes.
How can visitors experience the pirate lore in St. Augustine?
The biggest icon here is the Castillo de San Marcos. Queen Mariana of Spain had it built to protect the city from pirates. Across the street at the pirate museum, we have one of the largest authentic collections of pirate artifacts in the world, with more than 800 items. Some of it includes actual treasure, which is a real privilege to have. Visitors can learn all about the golden age of piracy and get a treasure map to fill in and get a prize. We have Johnny Depp’s sword, Dustin Hoffman’s hook and props from “The Goonies.” Visitors can hear a 3D audio show that Disney Imagineers developed for us. It’s very spine-chilling and really cool. It’s a very immersive, interactive experience.
What is one of your favorite spots?
Flagler College, the Lightner Museum and the Casa Monica Hotel are all catty-cornered from each other. You’ve got these three significant turn-of-the-century buildings all right there.
Is there a favorite shop where you’d send a visitor?
Mercado de España. They ship manchego cheese, Ibérico ham, olive oils, chorizo sausages and other products straight from Spain to their store. They also have great Spanish wines.
How will St. Augustine celebrate its 450th anniversary next year?
I think the whole year will be significant. Everyone will step up the game and put on some great events.