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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Pamela H
Delray Beach, Florida
"Go on a rainy or cool day for an unusual treat."
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed November 18, 2017 NEW
If you like eccentric Victoriana in a Moorish style, this place is for you. We went in as the Xmas decorations were being set up, so beautiful. Never saw a place like this, but not for children, really. Must love eccentric, historical, over the top style. We just wondered who might have enjoyed this place in its heyday!
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dawnandrews33
Ocala, Florida
"Trips and Tours"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed November 09, 2017 NEW
Side stop after the Lightner Museum. Interesting place. So much to see and we had the exclusive Family Tour so got the real Feel for the House and History. Loved it.
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EdandRuth
Warren PA
"Moorish charm and stunning architecture "
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed November 07, 2017 NEW
Built on a one-tenth scale of just one wing on the Alhambra Palace in Spain, the former home-nightclub Museum showcases architectural trends of its day as the first poured concrete structure in St. A. Two floors were open for viewing, featuring mostly the personal furnishings, artwork and collectibles of Zorayda’s former owners. Here’s a glimpse of life in the Gilded Age and later the Roaring Twenties when St. A was THE place to see and be seen. We toured this and the Lightner the same day (they’re only about two blocks apart, easy walk or trolley ride). It was a full day, with time after for a late lunch at one in the many restaurants in Old Town. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Carol M
"Love it"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed October 10, 2017
Very interesting place. When you first walk in there is so much to see it is kinda overwhelming. But rent the self guided tour and go slow and look at everything. You can spend hours in here trying to see everything. So many interesting things and some mind boggling things too. Don't miss!
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Andrea6396
Boca Raton, Florida
"Excellent experience"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed October 08, 2017
Excellent tour, with the headset to hear the explanation in the language you want was excellent, great experience, I would do it again, beautiful place.
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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.