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St Augustine May be Chosen as Home Port to the El Galeon Ship Through the 450th

07.19.13 07:59 PM

What was originally supposed to be a short 11-day stay for the El Galeon ended up being well over a month, but what’s even more exciting is the recently revealed news that the tall ship could make St. Augustine its home port through the 450th commemoration in 2015. That means the massive ship will continue welcoming visitors and remain a fixture along our beautiful bayfront.

The El Galeón, a 170' authentic wooden replica 16th century Spanish galleon, will remain in port and open for public tours at St. Augustine through Monday, July 8th.

St. Augustine was to be the final Florida port stop for the Viva Florida 500 Voyage of El Galeón as it sails a historic route similar to Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León's 500 years ago. The ship’s visit was a signature event for the 450th commemoration of St Augustine.

Touring hours aboard what some call a “floating museum” built in Seville, Spain, are offered daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m, except July 4th, when tour hours will take place 9 a.m. to 6 p.m due to holiday festivities.

"The extended stay in St. Augustine provides the Fundacion Nao Victoria, the organization that owns El Galeón, the opportunity to showcase the vessel that perfectly demonstrates ctiy's Spanish maritime heritage," said Glenn Hastings, executive director of the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council.

Recently announced is an agreement between the City of St. Augustine and Fundacion Nao Victoria, the organization that owns El Galeón, that would make the nation’s oldest city “home port” to the replica of the Spanish galleons that traveled the coasts of Florida between the 16th and 18th centuries. The galleon will spend six months out and the other six month period docked here in the nation’s oldest city.

About this Tall Ship

El Galeón's port stop at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina is part of the Viva Florida 500 Voyage 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon's naming of La Florida and a City of St. Augustine 450th Commemoration event. St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Aviles who brought three galleons similar in design and size to El Galeon to establish the first permanently occupied European settlement. The ship is 170 feet tall and weighs 495 tons. It is an authentic wooden replica of a galleon that was part of Spain’s West Indies fleet.

Information and tickets for El Galeón are available at Ripley's Red Train Tours ticket booths - including the ticket booth at the carpet golf attraction right beside the St. Augustine Municipal Marina - and the St. Augustine Visitors Information Center. Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for children age 12 to 6 years and free for children age 5 and under.

So far more than a success, the El Galeon has welcomed over 21,000 visitors aboard and is expecting thousands more over the next few months.

City officials and residents are excited about this opportunity and look forward to a long-term relationship that will advance of the mission of the foundation and tell the St. Augustine story worldwide.

Read our first article on the El Galeon's initial arrival in St. Augustine here 

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