Revitalized Colonial Quarter brings more history to downtown St. Augustine

By Matthew Goodman |

St. Augustine’s newly revitalized Colonial Quarter on St. George Street will have its grand opening this March with the addition of several diverse attractions.

The former Spanish quarter will see the addition of attractions from much of St. Augustine’s wide-ranging history.

Kari Cobham, the marketing and media director for the Colonial Quarter, is thrilled that the project is nearing completion.

“The previous Spanish Quarter covered one period of history,” Cobham says. “We expanded it into four quadrants that cover over three centuries of St. Augustine’s history.”

These additions come just before the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine’s settlement. Cobham says that gives even more reason to showcase more of the city’s history than just the 1740s.

The Quarter features an interactive living history experience, as well as dining and shopping. Cobham says one of their most unique features is a variety show called the Colonial Crew Review. It launches in the summer and will feature a production similar in quality to those at Universal Studios.

Professional re-enactors such as Chad Light will run the living history experiences and also participate in the variety show.

One goal of the Colonial Quarter is to bring more nightlife to St. George Street.

“One of the more important parts is that downtown St. Augustine, except for a few spots, tends to get pretty quiet in the nighttime,” Cobham says. “We wanted to create some excitement downtown in the nighttime. People can sit and snack and drink and enjoy the show. And then they can leave here and go to one of our restaurants or bars and chill out, or they can get right back on St. George Street.”

Other attractions include a 35-foot-tall replica of a 17th century watchtower overlooking the bayfront. Visitors can climb the tower themselves on self-guided tours, or take a guided tour in a group.

The Quarter has two restaurants, the Taberna Del Caballo and the Bull & Crown Publick House. The Bull & Crown serves as a British Pub, as well.

“We have dining right along the street,” Cobham says of the pub.

Tourists and visitors alike can explore the three shops in the Colonial Quarter. The stores feature unique hand-made replicas from the time periods, as well as popular gifts and souvenirs.

A ship builder will be on site, creating a 55-foot replica Spanish caravel, “just like the ship Don Pedro Menendez used to sail into St. Augustine,” according to Cobham. The project will take place over the course of several years.

Cobham, who also works for the Pirate and Treasure Museum, says that every aspect of the attraction is historically accurate and certified by the University of Florida.

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