As you step inside the historic white picket fence, you are literally stepping back in time. All the original structures are here for you to explore, and yes – you can climb the lighthouse tower!
Completed in 1887, the lighthouse was a marvel of technology and a badly needed guidepost marking the only inlet between St. Augustine and Cape Canaveral. In order to run this "brick giant" lighthouse, three lighthouse keepers were needed.
The original lighthouse optic was a huge first order Fresnel lens with a kerosene lantern as its illuminant. This lighting system required constant attention during the night and hours of cleaning during the day, plus the light station itself needed daily maintenance of its buildings and equipment. The three lighthouse keepers were kept constantly busy, with days off coming few and far between. Because this area was so remote at the time, the keepers brought their families here to live, and each family had their own house and nearby outbuilding. The outbuilding of the second assistant keeper is now our Woodshed Theater where you can view a 20 minute film on the history of the light station.
Today, these buildings and the tower are considered the primary artifacts of the museum, so we ask you to treat them and the exhibits they contain with care by leaving behind large backpacks, food, snacks, gum, beverages, water bottles (there are water fountains located on the grounds), and tobacco products. You won't want to miss visiting the modern Ayres Davies Lens Exhibit Building which is home to our world-class Fresnel lens collection. And be sure to visit the Cuban Rafts Exhibit to learn the amazing story of how brave refugees try to make their way to freedom on fragile homemade boats and rafts. Last but not least, end your visit by browsing our gift shop for the perfect lighthouse souvenir!