Villa Zorayda Museum in St. Augustine, FL

83 King StreetSt. Augustine, FL 32084
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Overview

Located just across from Flagler College and a few blocks from The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, the Villa Zorayda Museum lets guests get an up-close view of the architectural work of art created in 1883 by Franklin Smith. The museum offers state-of-the-art self-guided audio tours that are available throughout the day, as well as special behind-the-scenes tours on select Tuesdays.

Description

from Villa Zorayda Museum
After several years of historical renovation, the Villa Zorayda with its collection of unique antiquities is a must see on your visit to our nations oldest city!

Closed for several years the Villa Zorayda Museum has undergone an extensive renovation and is once again open to the public as a museum. On the National Register of Historic Places it was built in 1883 as the winter residence of Franklin Smith utilizing his method of construction of poured concrete and crushed coquina shell. It is built 1/10th the scale of a section of the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. This building set a precedence for St. Augustine and began the Moorish Spanish revival of architecture that is seen throughout the city today. In 1904 it became the Zorayda Club.

On display for the first time ever is the custom made bone china made exclusively for the Zorayda Club. In 1913 it was purchased by Abraham S. Mussallem, an authority on Oriental rugs, fine arts and Egyptian artifacts. In 1922 it became one of the most fashionable places for casino gambling. In the mid 1930's it was opened as a museum featuring the priceless antique collections of both Franklin Smith and A.S. Mussallem which are still on display today. The 45-60 minute tour gives an in depth look at the historical significance of the building to the City of St. Augustine, the magnificent architecture as well as descriptions of the many exquisite pieces you will see. On display is the "Sacred Cat Rug" over 2400 years old and made from the hairs of ancient cats that roamed the Nile River. Taken from a pyramid in Egypt it is said to possess a curse for anyone that walks on it!

VILLA ZORAYDA "BEHIND THE SCENES'/AUDIO GUIDED TOUR AVAILABLE
Visitors will be taken to rarely seen areas of the museum where we will give an explanation of what the area was used for in the past and what future plans may be coming. Highlight of the tour is the never seen before "Tower of the Princesses" located on the third floor which was a bedroom in the original house and where time has virtually stood still. *Stairs are steep and narrow and visitors must be in good physical condition to make the climb. Approximate time will be about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Reserve St. Augustine Customer Reviews

Teekeela Aranda
Hahira, GA
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Great museum"
April, 2018 NEW
Loved all the beautiful detail. The history was interesting, with a little bit of a ghost story.
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TripAdvisor Reviews
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Racso13
Gijon, Spain
"Self-guided and Interesting Museum"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed April 24, 2018 NEW
I was able to purchase the tickets with a little discount after I bought my "Old Town Trolley" tickets. The museum is self-guided and it comes with an audio guide equipment in English or Spanish. It is very easy to use and you visit room by room. You can skip audio presentations if you wish and learn only about those items/rooms you are interested in. There are a lot of rare items and the front desk lady was very polite and helpful. I visited before noon and we were the only ones there - making it easy to absorb the experience. We visited every room and it took us about one hour to complete. No photos allowed and if you are wearing a backpack, please be careful when walking and moving around - you don't want to accidentally knock over something.
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Stephanie P
Lincolnshire, Illinois
"Out of the Ordinary"
TripAdvisor user rating 3 out of 5
Reviewed April 15, 2018 NEW
Like a few other places i visited in St. Augustine, this museum was a little on the eccentric/eclectic side. The audio tour was informative though, providing solid background information about the house's history and some of the objects on display.
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Michael K
Atlanta, Georgia
"eccentric and fascinating"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed April 08, 2018 NEW
Originally built by a Massachusetts millionaire and modeled after the Moorish Alhambra museum in Spain, this place had all kinds of interesting artifacts including, allegedly, the world's oldest rug. An old Egyptian rug made of cat hair it was not something you would imagine anyone would've wanted in their living room, but at over 2400 years old it was probably the most interesting thing in the museum.
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lisajmcc
"Intersting Setting/Lacking Ties"
TripAdvisor user rating 3 out of 5
Reviewed April 01, 2018 NEW
Visited during our anniversary trip. $10 each admission. A bit pricey for a short tour. Loved looking at the unique items, but would have liked more historical information about how the house tied to St. Augustine.
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GlobeTrotterRV3
"Not for Everyone"
TripAdvisor user rating 2 out of 5
Reviewed March 28, 2018 NEW
Some people really seemed to enjoy the museum. Not so much for our group. We are obviously not advanced culturally. Described as eclectic - yeah man. Lot’s of fascinating European antiques, but not my thing. Self-guided audio tour was good, but read other reviews to get a good description for what you’re going to experience. We didn’t do our homework.
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Villa Zorayda Museum is located at 83 King StreetSt. Augustine, FL 32084
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Frequently Asked Questions about Villa Zorayda Museum

Do you offer audio tours?
Yes, self guided audio tours are available in English, Spanish and French. Prices for the audio tours are $10.

Is there parking?
Yes, located in St. Augustine’s Historic District visitors receive FREE PARKING while visiting the museum (one vehicle maximum).

When is the last admission time?
From Monday through Saturday, the last admission time is 4:30pm; the museum closes at 5pm. On Sunday, the museum closes at 4pm.