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

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TripAdvisor Reviews
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Quixoteqst
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
"Too Pretty To Pass Up"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed August 14, 2017
Interesting stories and cool artifacts make this a place I didn't regret spending my money. The handheld listening device for each part of the tour allows you to move at your own pace...smart idea !!! Jim was awesome & the cork whips made me laugh.
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56Fiona
Richmond, Virginia
"Excellent specialty house museum"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 09, 2017
Zorayda was built by a Boston millionaire during the Gilded Age as his Florida home in moorish revival style (middle eastern/Moroccan). It is a 1/10 scale replica of one wing of the Alhambra Palace in Spain. It was later sold to a collector/dealer in middle eastern objects. It has served as a club and speakeasy. It is furnished according to its early history with a huge collection of middle eastern objects and artwork (with a sprinkling of European carved furniture). This collection makes this an unusual house museum. The gem of the collection is a 2000+ yr old rug made from Egyptian cat hair, that once wrapped a mummified foot (also on display)! Audio tour very well done.
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Jamieluvs2travel
Cape Coral, Florida
"Interesting stop"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed July 25, 2017
Took our kids to see this - they were a bit bored except for the cat hair rug (rumored to be a lethal rug!). It was worth the $10 (use a coupon) but not a MUST see. I'd recommend it if you like art pieces and architecture.
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gidget1985
Birmingham, Alabama
"Great Museum"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed July 18, 2017
This is a very interesting collection of things. It's a great museum to visit while in St Augustine.
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urbanjungleboywonder
Buffalo, New York
"Interesting, displays cluttered at times"
TripAdvisor user rating 3 out of 5
Reviewed July 11, 2017
Interesting History. Some very beautiful objects on display. Just need to simplify some areas of exhibits so gems stand out and rooms could be less packed. Good audio tour.
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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.