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Visiting El Galeón Extends Stay to July 8 in Nation's Oldest City!


St. Augustine, FL (June 4, 2013) - El Galeón, a 170' authentic wooden replica 16th century Spanish galleon, will remain in port and open for public tours at St. Augustine through Monday, July 8th. St. Augustine is the final Florida port stop for the Viva Florida 500 Voyage of El Galeón as it sails a historic route similar to Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León's 500 years ago.

Touring hours aboard the floating museum built in Seville, Spain, are daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m, except July 4th, when tour hours will take place 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"The extended stay in St. Augustine provides the Fundacion Nao Victoria, the organization that owns El Galeón, the opportunity to showcase the vessel that perfectly demonstrates city’s Spanish maritime heritage," said Glenn Hastings, executive director of the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council. "While visitors continue to tour and enjoy the ship, the Nao Victoria organizers are able to plan for the possibility of returning for an extended stay as part of St. Augustine's 450th Commemoration activities continuing through 2015.

About El Galeón

El Galeón's port stop at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina is part of the Viva Florida 500 Voyage 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon's naming of La Florida and a City of St. Augustine 450th Commemoration event. St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Aviles who brought three galleons similar in design and size to El Galeon to establish the first permanently occupied Eurpoean settlement.

St. Augustine is the final scheduled Viva Florida 500 Voyage port of call for the 170 foot, 495 ton authentic wooden replica of a galleon that was part of Spain's West Indies fleet. Information and tickets for El Galeón are available at Ripley's Red Train Tours ticket booths - including the ticket booth at the carpet golf attraction adjacent to the St. Augustine Municipal Marina - and the St. Augustine Visitors Information Center. Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for children age 12 to 6 years and free for children age 5 and under. The price is inclusive of sales tax and ticket fee. The ship will be open daily through Monday, July 8, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the St. Augustine Municipal Marina.

El Galeón's port visit in St. Augustine is particularly significant as the first galleon to arrive in the oldest city was the flagship of founder Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles. Named the San Pelayo, the 400-ton ship was one of the most powerful ships of its day. It was the most important of several ships that carried 800 colonists and supplies to St. Augustine, establishing the first permanent European settlement in the United States in 1565. The San Pelayo was an enormous vessel - it carried 77 crewmen, 18 gunners, and transported 317 soldiers and 26 families, as well as provisions and cargo (including cattle). Her armament was iron cannons and artillery. She was built in 1564 just outside the gated city of Aviles, Spain (Menenedez's birthplace). Recently, researchers in Seville found the construction plans for the San Pelayo.

The St. Augustine story is a compelling narrative of exploration, innovation and enduring spirit. It is marked by many milestones, including the first permanent European settlement in the United States, founded in 1565, and the first port to develop into a center of trans-Atlantic trade and commerce. St. Augustine's bay is indeed America's oldest seaport.

Courtesty St. Augustine Historic Inns and the St. Johns County Visitors & Conventions Bureau, 29 Old Mission Ave. St. Augustine, FL 32084. For more information go to FloridasHistoricCoast.com

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