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
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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Jason R
Millsboro, Delaware
"Once is more than enough"
TripAdvisor user rating 2 out of 5
Reviewed June 21, 2018 NEW
When researching attractions to visit in St. Augustine during my Florida vacation, I never could find much information on exactly what was inside the Villa Zorayda Museum, so I went to see for myself. For those who are curious, it goes something like this: Some guy with more money than he knew what to do with moved to St. Augustine and built a house to look like a Spanish palace. Eventually he sold it to another rich guy who turned it into a casino and supper club for all his rich friends. That rich guy sold it to yet another rich guy who opened it for tours so regular people could see how those with more money than common sense lived. Today, the house contains hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of antique furniture, dishes, etc., owned at one time or another by those rich guys. For $10, you can go in and listen to a series of recordings about why you should care. For what it was, the presentation was nice, but it really wasn't my cup of tea. The staff here are what moved my rating from "average" to "poor." The clearly bored woman at the entrance couldn't be bothered to look up from her book while taking my money and handing me the listening device for the audio tour, and the parking attendant chased me down the sidewalk and accused me of not having paid the parking fee (which I had, and the pass was clearly visible in my windshield as required). I met a surprising number of people in St. Augustine with little to no customer service skills; the employees at Villa Zorayda were the worst offenders.
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E4051KDchristinec
Greendale
"First trip to St. Augustine"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed June 20, 2018 NEW
This is such an amazing collection of incredibly beautiful objects! And the architecture is stunning as well! Do not miss a chance to tour the Villa Zorayda!
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OrlandoTrio
Nashville, TN
"Enjoyable experience"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed June 20, 2018 NEW
We enjoyed our self guided audio tour. The history and architecture were very interesting. Some of the stops on the audio tour are repetitive and unnecessary (14 & 16) since it’s the same objects spaced 8 ft apart. 😊
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hammonoptra
Jacksonville, Florida
"Enjoyable"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed June 20, 2018 NEW
We went to the museum thinking it would be nice and pretty, they give you an audio to follow along with the rooms. It was like having a personal tour, it was pretty fabulous.
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travelerbeach2016
Panama City Beach, Florida
"Amazing house museum"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed June 10, 2018 NEW
I could have spent half the day in here, as it had so much to see and read about. Amazing art and artifacts collected from the near and far east in a house built by its' owner to mimic the famous Spain The audio tour was excellent, as was the manager of the house in answering questions. I would definitely even go back!!
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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.