• Cannon firing on the gundeck of the Castillo de San Marcos

    Castillo De San Marcos

    National Monument Florida

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  • Summer Weather

    Afternoon Thunderstorms can create dangerous amounts of lightning strikes. If Lightning is visible from the Castillo, Gundeck closures will take place. Click this link for the local weather forcast. More »

For Kids

Hands-on-History Summer Camp

This summer the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is hosting its Second Annual Hands-on-History Camp and Fort Matanzas National Monument is joining in the fun by hosting a Hands-on-History & Nature Camp. Park Rangers, Teacher-Ranger-Teachers from St. Johns County, and knowledgeable volunteers will lead campers (ages 9-11) through a series of interactive presentations, hands-on projects, games, and living history demonstrations that require the campers’ active participation. Last summer they painted a tipi, built an arch out of coquina, practiced musket drills, launched a trebuchet, and more! They also created many unique take-home items such as a dyed t-shirt, clay pot, tabby brick, leather bracelet, etc. The activities are centered around themes; Archaeology, Native Americans, Nature, Spanish Exploration, Navigation, Colonial Florida, Masonry, Preservation, Spanish Military and Artillery. The camp curriculum is designed to encourage young people to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of park resources and the relevance of National Parks in their lives.

There are three weeks of Hands-on-History Camp at the Castillo; June 9-13, June 23-27, July 7-11 and one week of Hands-on-History & Nature Camp at Fort Matanzas; July 21-25. Camps run Monday-Friday; 9:00 am - 1:00 pm. Youth entering 5th and 6th grade (ages 9-11) are invited to register for 1 of the 4 weeks of Hands-on-History Camp. Keep in mind the camps at the Castillo are similar to last year's camps, those wishing to return to should register for camp at Ft. Matanzas, which has a different curriculum. Space is limited to 20 campers per week. Participants will be accepted sequentially (first come, first served basis). To help cover the cost of materials, there is a camp fee of $25. If this fee is a financial hardship on your family, contact our Camp Director at Amelia_Vela@nps.gov to learn about our scholarship program. After paying the $25 camp fee, a spot on the roster is held for your camper and you will be will emailed or mailed a Camp Registration Form. Returning the Camp Registration Form confirms your reservation for camp and shortly after you will receive a Camp Welcome Packet with specific details regarding camp (directions, pick-up/drop-off locations, what to wear and bring to camp, etc.) Registration for camp begins Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Please contact Brandi Kitchens, Visitor Use Assistant, Mon.-Fri., 10:00 am - 3:00 pm. You will need to provide name, major credit card, and email. Call (904) 829-6506 Ext. 232.

Junior Ranger Program- Click here to download our Junior Ranger program booklet!

The Junior Ranger Program encourages children ages 6 through 12 to participate in their visit to the Monument and is a fun way for young visitors and their families to get the most out of their visit. Booklets are available from the information kiosk at the Fort Entrance.

Read exhibits and view the movie in the Theater or take the self-guided tour. Attend a ranger talk or demonstration and ask questions. Then complete the activity sheets in the booklet. Completing all the activities in the booklet will earn children a certificate of completion and an official Junior Ranger Badge from the site.

Allow about one hour to complete the Junior Ranger Program.

Junior and Web Rangers learn about the diversity and wonder of our National Parks.

Web Ranger- Click here to become an NPS Web Ranger!

If you cannot visit the Castillo de San Marcos, you can still experience our Nartional Parks by becoming an NPS Web Ranger!

As a National Park Service Web Ranger, you'll learn what Park Rangers do to help protect our natural resources and our cultural heritage. You'll also learn how Park Rangers observe and discover new things about our National Parks - things to share with visitors like you. You can help with caring for our parks, teaching others what you learn, and observing and exploring your environment.

There are a variety of games and activities to enjoy and learn from. After completing the web activities, you will receive an official Junior Ranger Certificate!


Buddy Bison

Hey kids! Have you met Buddy Bison? Click here and discover the parks Buddy Bison has visited! buddybison.org/

Flat Ranger

Join the Flat Ranger Program! Learn about parks by having your own flat ranger visit the parks for you and receive information and passport stamps for your collection! Click here for your Flat Ranger kit!

Did You Know?

1642 map showing the ancient coast of florida

The Castillo de San Marcos was originally constructed to defend Florida against pirates hunting the Spanish treasure fleets traveling along the Gulf Stream. Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, Florida