Virtual Junior Ranger

Junior Rangers are special people who are dedicated to their National Parks. Their mission is to explore, learn, and protect, and to have fun while doing it!

While you can earn your Junior Ranger badge on your visit to Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, we have also put together an opportunity for you to become a Castillo de San Marcos National Monument Virtual Ranger.

Using the pages of our website, you can complete the quiz below to earn your Virtual Ranger badge! When you finish, download and print your badge to add to your collection!

To reveal the answers below, slide over the question when you are ready.
 
WHEN WAS THE FIRST THANKSGIVING?
castillo belltower fading to black with answer Sep. 8, 1565 text on white background reading when was the first Thanksgiving?
Answer: slide to reveal
Question: When was the first Thanksgiving?

The Catholic religion was a very important part of daily life for the people of Spain. When Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and his expedition of 800 soldiers and settlers came ashore in what is now St. Augustine, the first thing they did was celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving. The voyage from Spain had been long and difficult, and the Spanish thanked God that they had made it safely. What are you thankful for in your life today?

After the Mass, they laid out a meal and invited the local Native Americans, the Seloy tribe of Timucuans, to join them. What do you and your family eat on Thanksgiving? The Spanish had salt pork, beans, garlic, hard tack, and red wine from their ships’ supplies. If the Seloy contributed to the meal, they may have brought fish, venison, turkey, corn, squash, and beans. While the Thanksgiving holiday celebrated in the United States today is based on the Pilgrims’ harvest festival in 1621, the Spanish and Timucuan ceremony predates it by 56 years.

When was the first Thanksgiving? Here is a hint!




 
WHAT IS COQUINA?
text on white background reading what is coquina? Castillo courtyard fading to black with answer fossilized seashells
Question: What is coquina?
Answer: Slide to reveal

In its first 100 years, St. Augustine lost nine wooden/earthen forts to pirate attacks, fire, and weather. How would you feel if you had to rebuild over and over again? The people of St. Augustine asked Spain for money and permission to build a stone fortress out of coquina. Coquina is a unique rock found in St. Augustine. The Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas are the only forts in the world built out of it.

They started building in 1672, and it took 23 years before the Castillo was completed, but the work paid off! When they were attacked by the English in 1702, the cannonballs did not shatter the stone walls. Instead, because the coquina is so porous, the walls absorbed the impact! The fort now stands over 345 years later and it has never been knocked down or defeated. Coquina is the rock that saved St. Augustine. What would you be willing to do to keep your family and town safe?

What is coquina? Here is a hint!

 




 
HOW MANY BASTIONS DOES THE CASTILLO HAVE?
castillo belltower fading to black with answer four text on white background reading how many bastions does the Castillo have?
Answer: slide to reveal
Question: How many bastions does the Castillo have?

What do you think makes someone or something unique? The Castillo de San Marcos is special because it is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, it’s made from rare coquina stone, and it’s shaped like a star. This star design was also known as a bastion system. The diamond-shaped corners, known as bastions, allowed soldiers on the gun deck to see and to fire the cannons in every direction.

The fort was built by the Spanish, their prisoners, enslaved Africans, and Timucuan Indians. When under attack, the plan was to bring everyone inside for protection. Some feel the name, Castillo de San Marcos or the Castle of St. Mark, makes sense, because castles are meant to be a place of safety when under attack. Others say it’s not a castle, it's a fort. The British called it Fort St. Mark, and the Americans called it Fort Marion. What do you think: is it a castle or a fort? Still others argue it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is its significance. What does it symbolize to you?  

How many bastions does the Castillo have?  Here is a hint! 




 
WHO LED THE 1740 ATTACK ON ST. AUGUSTINE?
text on white background reading who led the 1740 attack on St. Augustine? Castillo courtyard fading to black with answer General James Oglethorpe
Question: Who led the 1740 attack on St. Augustine?
Answer: Slide to reveal

The Castillo has withstood two major attacks by English forces, first in 1702 and then again in 1740. During the Siege of 1702, the English took over the town and the people of St. Augustine – over 1,500 people – were trapped inside the Castillo for 51 days. The fort was crowded, supplies ran low, and they did not know if they help they needed would come from Cuba. How would you feel about being forced to stay in your house for almost 2 months without leaving? Fortunately, the ships from Cuba did arrive, and the Spanish were victorious.  

By the time the English attacked again in 1740, St. Augustine had a wall around it, so the enemy could not invade the town. The English put guns on Anastasia Island and bombarded the Castillo and the city for 27 days, but they were too far away to do much damage. The people of St. Augustine were still able to go about their business in town while under attack. How do you think your work or school would change with bombs going off around you? 

Who led the 1740 attack on St. Augustine? Here is a hint!  




 
WHAT NAME DID THE U.S. ARMY GIVE THE CASTILLO?
castillo belltower fading to black with answer fort marion text on white background reading what name did the U.S. Army give the Castillo?
Answer: slide to reveal
Question: What name did the U.S. Army give the Castillo?

What would you do if you needed more supplies or wanted more resources? At the beginning of the 1800s, the fast-growing American population was in search of new resources and land. Many eyes turned south to the Spanish borderlands of Florida and Texas. There were several efforts to take Spanish territory by force along the frontiers.  

By 1821, Florida was officially handed over to the United States through the Adams-Onís Treaty. Under the U.S. Army, the fort’s name changed in 1825 to honor a hero from the American Revolutionary War. Congress later renamed the fort Castillo de San Marcos in 1942 to recognize the fort’s Spanish history. How do you honor or recognize something important to you? 

What name did the U.S. Army give the Castillo?  Here is a hint! 




 
WHO WAS LEADING THE SEMINOLES WHEN THEY WERE CAPTURED?
text on white background reading who was leading the Seminoles when they were captured? Castillo courtyard fading to black with answer Osceola
Question: Who was leading the Seminoles when they were captured?
Answer: Slide to reveal

Think of all the ways you use your home. The fort has been used in many different ways, including as a prison for Seminoles, Plains Indians, and Apaches during the 1800s. In 1837, there were 230 Seminoles captured by the U.S. Army under a flag of truce and imprisoned inside the fort. During the two-month confinement, they were kept on the west side of the fort under guard. They were allowed to exercise in the courtyard but were not allowed to leave the fort. Illness was a constant problem. 

What would you do if you were a prisoner? One night, 20 escaped, and to this day, we do not know exactly how it happened. Coachoochee (in English, Wild Cat) said the prisoners stopped eating, lost weight, and escaped through a narrow window. Others argue the windows are too small. Regardless of how they did it, their escape changed history. They continued to fight, found safety in the Everglades, and the U.S. gave up their efforts to remove them from Florida. They have never signed a surrender treaty with the U.S., and to this day, the Seminoles call themselves Unconquered People.

Who was leading the Seminoles when they were captured? Here’s a hint! 




 
WHAT PRESIDENT NAMED THE CASTILLO A NATIONAL MONUMENT?
castillo belltower fading to black with answer Calvin Coolidge text on white background reading what president named the Castillo a National Monument?
Answer: slide to reveal
Question: What president named the Castillo a National Monument?

How do you save things that are important to you? Concern over the looting and destruction of American Indian ruins and artifacts in the Southwest inspired Congress to pass a new law. The Antiquities Act of 1906 gave the President the power to select and protect public land that is historically or scientifically important. These buildings or areas can be declared national monuments and preserved for the future.

How do you celebrate your birthday? By 1916, there were 14 national parks and 21 national monuments, but no one was taking care of them. In that year, a new agency was created with the mission "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." On August 25, 1916, the National Park Service (NPS) was born. In what ways could you help preserve and protect your community?

Which President named the Castillo a National Monument? Here is a hint! 




 
WHAT COUNTRY PUT SPIES ASHORE ON PONTE VEDRA BEACH IN 1942?
text on white background reading what country put spies ashore on Ponte Vedra Beach in 1942? Castillo courtyard fading to black with answer Germany
Question: What country put spies ashore on Ponte Vedra Beach in 1942?
Answer: Slide to reveal

How would you feel if you served your country during a war? As United States servicemen were being sent around the world to fight World War II, the United States Coast Guard asked to borrow the previously-decommissioned Fort Marion. Other buildings throughout St. Augustine were also loaned to the Coast Guard to serve as both barracks and boot camp.

The Castillo served as a multipurpose space; four rooms were used as classrooms, troops drilled and marched on the gundeck, and the courtyard was used for graduation ceremonies. At any given time, as many 2,500 Coast Guardsmen were stationed in St. Augustine. People sacrificed their lives, worked in factories producing war equipment, grew their own food, and more to help with the war effort. How have you had to sacrifice to win something or help someone? 

What country put spies ashore on Ponte Vedra Beach in 1942? Here is a hint! 




 
A black and white badge reading Virtual Ranger Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

Congratulations!

You have completed the activites to become an official Virtual Ranger at Castillo de San Marcos National Monument! All that's left is to read the Junior Ranger Pledge:

"As a Junior Ranger, I promise to explore our National Parks, protect these important places, and share with others what I learn about our nation's heritage."

Right-click on the badge image and save it to your computer or device. You can even print it, color it, and have someone help you cut it out and make a pin!

Last updated: April 28, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1 South Castillo Drive
Saint Augustine, FL 32084

Phone:

(904) 829-6506

Contact Us