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.

Tripster 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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Cameo T
"Museum"
TripAdvisor user rating 3 out of 5
Reviewed May 15, 2019 NEW
The museum was just ok. I personally don't like museums but hubby thought it was interesting. It had old and unusual items.
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maraffi
south carolina
"Worth Seeing"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed May 08, 2019 NEW
This was a very different home, it had so much to see that you would never see in another home, glad we went.
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Diane P
Long Island, New York
"Like you are in Spain"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed May 05, 2019 NEW
This museum is filled with so many antiquities that were collected by the owners. I enjoyed that upon entering you get a self guided audio tour that explains many of the objects in the museum. If you are interested in Spainish history and design this museum will be an interesting place to visit.
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kudosorgripes
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
"The villa is more interesting than people might think."
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed April 13, 2019
This museum has many interesting pieces. The most impressive was a 2000 year old rug woven of cat hair. Audio tour was done nicely.
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femvoc
Skowhegan, Maine
"Beautiful moorish art"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 25, 2019
The style and the items in this museum are gorgeous! When you enter, they give you a little player that will describe the things you look at (you press the number of the exhibit you are at.) and gives the history of some of the pieces. The "cat rug" story and the room really was a great experience - quite unexpected and impressive. I would recommend this place to just about everyone.
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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.