We arrived quite late in Savannah the day prior to this, and sadly didn’t have time to really explore this beautiful town further. However before continuing on our USA road trip further, in order to reach St Augustine we made a slight detour on our way!
Day 10 – St Augustine
If you are going to Savannah you have to visit the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge just north of the town, however please do so first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. Most of the animals stay hidden away during the day because it can get incredibly hot here – it is surprisingly open here. We went at around 9:00 am which seemed like a great time.
We drove down Alligator Alley (an awesome road name in itself) and headed just off this road on the circle drive which heads through the nature reserve. This is the best route to take and I recommend taking it slowly – partly to make sure you take in all the wildlife and also as it is quite bumpy. The drive however only takes an hour or so and we saw a variety of birds along the side of the road, but most importantly for me a couple of turtles and about 5 or 6 alligators ranging from babies up to a good 6 or 7 feet long!
After seeing these beautiful animals in the wild it was off to St Augustine where our first stop was to see them in captivity at the St Augustine Alligator farm – where the incredibly display every single crocodilian species… I am yet to find another zoo that does so!
The place is really nicely laid out and easy to navigate but as we arrived fairly late (yet still spent a good 2 and a half hours or so in the scorching heat) we missed most of the talks and feed times. We might have got to see a few more if the person in the food outlet there hadn’t forgotten my order. I ended up waiting around 45 minutes for a crab burger which I have to say – after such a wait, was one of the most disappointing late lunches I have ever eaten.
Never the less, don’t let this place pass you by… It is my favourite crocodilian collection in the world, and really is very well kept!
The crocodile farm is just outside the town so we made our way to our hotel after this, which was Quality Inn Historic, St Augustine. The location is just outside town but is quite quiet – at least we though so until the worlds longest and slowest train passed by very loudly at around 1:30 am! The rooms were OK and the breakfast was pretty good too but the surrounding area left a lot to be desired… There was even a rat skull just outside our door which was nice! For the prices here you really can’t complain too much though.
After settling in to our room we headed straight back out in to town to find the original Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium! And it does not disappoint.
I am a huge Ripley’s fan anyway so seeing the first one made it just that little bit more special. A good tip also is that if you have other plans (as parking in St Augustine is terrible) you can pay to park at Ripley’s and then leave your car there to take the short walk in to town – turned out as the cheapest and easiest option for us by far.
Of course the usual suspects are here from shrunken heads to Fiji mermaids and decorated skulls to disfigured cattle. The more unusual items which are located at this one however are the huge model Ferris wheel, a bone motorcycle and some HUGE shoes.
Being in St Augustine however, a place which embraces the supernatural, paranormal and bizarre we headed down the road to a place I had been looking forward to for a long time! Wolf’s Museum of Mystery.
It only costs $5.00 to get in , and almost everything in the museum is for sale, so if you like the look of anything in there you can get that $5.00 back off that item. There are some really cool items and to this day I regret to buying the Ouija board cigarette case.
I have to admit that everything about Wolf’s (including – or I should say especially the website) is very tacky, cheesy and over the top – especially the alien autopsy bit… However this is the big appeal with this museum! It makes it all the more fun and shows these items (some of which are quite macabre and others which are down right creepy) in the way they should be shown… in a way which puts a smile on your face!
There is a hell of a lot to see in here with most of the oddities being kept downstairs, with the upstairs playing host to a variety of signed photos and art by murderers… The room with the photos by the way can also be rented to watch movies – they have a huge movie collection although sadly we didn’t get time to do this. Had we spent an extra night in St Augustine I would definately have loved to watch a horror flick up there!
If there is one quirky experience you take away with you from this amazing town – make it a trip to Wolf’s.
After all the weirdness we had seen in St Augustine we have a look around the town… where amongst other things, there was even more weirdness. But if you like shopping, the pedestrianised St George Street is the place to go – there are loads of small and interesting shops along here selling everything from clothes to sweets (some of the ice cream shops looked amazing) and local souvenirs to novelties. It is also home to the Florida Cracker Cafe where we had dinner that night.
The food there is pretty good. Having watched American food documentaries like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives before embarking on our USA road rip we’d always wanted to eat deep fried green tomatoes… It doesn’t sound like much but they were surprisingly tasty. They sell all sorts American staples here at a really affordable price, and with really friendly service. A tip for this place is that they can often be found in local leaflets with a voucher, and that is why we chose to eat there – we didn’t leave hungry!