5 Activities for Kids in Downtown Pensacola
Posted: Jun 5, 2019 4:20 PMUpdated: Jun 5, 2019 4:23 PM
School is almost out for summer! If you’re looking for creative ways to keep the kids away from the screens, then make your way to Downtown Pensacola to experience these kid-friendly activities that will be sure to entertain and educate!1. Ferry Boats in the BayIf you are staying at the beach, don’t miss out on the opportunity to board one of the new Pensacola Bay Cruises to Downtown! The ferries dock at the beach boardwalk and Fort Pickens, so you have two opportunities to hop on the Pelican Perch or Turtle Runner. The ride between each landing location takes approximately 30-40 minutes, which is the perfect amount of time for the kids to remain enthralled by the beautiful scenery and the possibility of spotting a dolphin. Upon docking in Downtown Pensacola, grab a snack at one of our fabulous restaurants and spend the day exploring Downtown.2. Play All Day at Maritime ParkCommunity Maritime Park is located off of Main Street and is the perfect place for kids to run around and release that summertime energy. The new playground features a padded surface that provides a safe play environment and the wide pathways that trail throughout the park make for a perfect waterfront bike ride. The grassy festival grounds provide an expansive area away from the road for numerous outdoor activities. Once a month during the summer, Community Maritime Park hosts a free movie night for the whole family to enjoy. Grab your lawn chairs, blankets and coolers and enjoy a movie under the stars!3. Go Back in Time With Historic PensacolaDowntown Pensacola has an extraordinary Historic Village full of interactive and educational activities for kids and adults alike. The living history exhibits depict life throughout the 1800s, and include activities like open hearth cooking, butter churning and candle making. Historic Pensacola also offers special events for children including StoryTyme with Grandma Jenkins, who has traveled all the way from England to share her tall tales and baked goods with her young, intrigued audience. 4. Museum MustsYour child will love the colorful exhibits of the Pensacola Children’s Museum. The Discovery Gallery recreates Pensacola colonial life, while the other exhibits highlight Pensacola’s military, maritime, Native American and Civil War history. The T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Museum has permanent and revolving exhibits that feature Pensacola’s changing history and extraordinary collections of artifacts. Museum Plaza, located behind the T.T. Wentworth, is a new interactive playground that educates on the industries vital to the development of Pensacola: timber, fishing, shipping, brick making and transportation. Ticket options for museum tours vary depending on age and group size, so be sure to plan ahead and take advantage of combo deals!5. I Spy Downtown If your child has an interest in art and an eye for detail, transform your visit to Downtown Pensacola into a game of “I Spy”. There are dozens of eye-catching placemarks that the kids will surely remember from their trip to Pensacola. Get ready for an adventure around Downtown as you search for these landmarks!Pelican Fly-By – How many of these colorfully themed pelicans can you find?Five Flags • Blue Angels • Marine Corps • Air Force • Coast Guard • Army  Local Landmarks: Can you find these beloved local landmarks?Vintage fire truck • Plaza canons • Shimmering mermaid • Live Oak limb lifters • PalafoxtrotFamiliar Faces – Search for these statues throughout Downtown!  Don Tristan de Luna • Bernardo de Galvez • Martin Luther King, Jr • President Andrew JacksonPainted Trail – Paint by number in Downtown Pensacola by keeping a count of how many art installments you can find! Wish You Were Here • Painted Parking Meters • Horse Drawn Carriage • Four Colorful Cubes • Eclectic Electric Boxes • Ships on a Building • Jefferson Street Mural • Foo Foo WingsLet us know what you find by tagging #DowntownPensacola in your photos. Now, get outside and spend the day in America’s oldest city! [PHOTO: VISIT PENSACOLA]
Red, White and Brew: Downtown’s Amazing Breweries
Posted: May 30, 2019 4:50 PMUpdated: May 30, 2019 4:50 PM
The Downtown community is all hopped up on the growing interest in brewery culture. The relaxed vibes and welcoming atmosphere of these staple establishments are just as desirable as the home brews themselves! Making beer is an art, and these downtown breweries have mastered their craft!Perfect Plain Brewing Company is a fitting tribute to Pensacola’s past. The term “perfect plain” was coined by First Lady Rachel Jackson in her description of Pensacola, which is written on the brick walls of this welcoming brewery. The wide bar and spacious interior are super accommodating for large groups, so bring your friends and family to enjoy an afternoon or evening sipping on some home brews! Community engagement is a huge part of the Perfect Plain culture, so don’t miss out on events like trivia, pint night and the Garden & Grain Craft Lab. Try it Out: Blueberry Arpent Saison Located slightly off of Palafox, Big Top Brewing Company is the newest brewery on the “bock”. This craft beer and food pub originated in Sarasota before expanding north to Gainesville and now Pensacola! Big Top is also the only Downtown brewery that serves food, so come hungry to taste some truly mouth-watering cuisine. The daily supply of freshly smoked pork, along with hand-cut fries and homemade pickles, blend perfectly with the diverse selection of beer. Try it Out: Pears Well With Others CiderPensacola Bay Brewery considers beer-making a fine craft. The brewmasters delicately blend creativity and custom styles without adding any preservatives or chemicals. The beer is inspired by legends of the past but is still original. The convenient location also provides a “pitcher perfect” view of Historic Pensacola. The covered, brick seating area out front is the perfect place to enjoy the evening air while gazing at the luminous facade of Old Christ Church and the drooping live oaks of Seville Square. Try it Out: Queen Anne’s Revenge Imperial Stout  If breweries aren’t your style but you still enjoy the crisp taste of beer, these other downtown establishments are only a jump, sip and a hop away! • World of Beer – more than 50 beers on tap, 500 in the cooler and a menu of mouthwatering tavern fare.• Khon's – explore southeastern Asian cuisine with traditional saki and specialty saki cocktails.• Cask & Flights – this state-of-the-art wine tasting room also has eight craft beers on tap as well as mead, brewed in-house daily!
The "Scandalous" History of Tivoli High House
Posted: Apr 30, 2019 6:55 PMUpdated: May 7, 2019 9:17 PM
The Tivoli High House at 205 Zaragoza Street in Downtown Pensacola was once a lively entertainment hotspot—the place to "see and be seen" in Pensacola in the 1800's. Though it was demolished in 1937, a reproduction of the original building, constructed in 1976 on the same site, today serves as a museum store, ticket center and focal point of Historic Pensacola that provides a fascinating glimpse of local history for visitors.At the time the Tivoli was constructed, Pensacola's population was on the rise. In 1803 an influx of European military troops had arrived, reassigned from New Orleans to Pensacola after the United States purchased Louisiana from France. Hundreds of Spanish Infantrymen migrated here, along with a Frenchman by the name of Jean Baptiste Cazenave. The population boom created a demand for a social center for gatherings and entertainment, and in 1804 Cazenave and two compatriots drew up plans for a multi-building entertainment complex. The Tivoli High House would include the Tivoli Dance Hall, an octagonal rotunda with a 20-foot radius to the east of the main building, a kitchen and other outbuildings. Completed in 1805, the Tivoli provided lively entertainment for the diverse citizens of Pensacola including future First Lady Rachel Jackson, who described the Tivoli as “mixed with all nations under the canopy of heaven.” The buildings were used for eating, drinking, theater and gaming, and an 1810 description mentions "a small neat rotunda for public balls." In the 1840s the Tivoli property was purchased by Don Francisco Moreno, who demolished the ballroom to construct a private residence and converted the High House into the Hotel de Paree. The main building was confiscated by Union soldiers during the Civil War, during which time it was known as the "Spanish Barracks." [PHOTO CREDIT: PENSACOLA HISTORICAL SOCIETY/TIVOLI HIGH HOUSE, 1874]
Unearthed Civil War Artifacts at New Downtown Exhibit
Posted: Apr 9, 2019 8:14 PMUpdated: May 2, 2019 1:15 PM
Climbing the historic stairs of the pentagonal Fort Pickens on the Gulf Islands National Seashore, the aged brick battlements give way to a breathtaking panorama of sandy white beaches and the sparkling turquoise of the Gulf of Mexico. It's a peaceful scene that belies the military fort's history of bombardment, fortification and battles dating back to its completion in 1834. Nearly 158 years ago, the fort's inhabitants were caught in the crossfire of the Battle of Santa Rosa Island during the Civil War. On Oct. 9, 1861, gun smoke mixed with early morning fog as more than a thousand Confederate troops attacked the Union's Camp Brown. The site was left in ruins as Union troops retreated into the fortified walls of Fort Pickens. But, unbeknownst to the Confederates, hundreds of Union troops were waiting behind the walls of the fort to fend off the attackers with artillery and gunfire to maintain control of the area. The ransacked remains of Camp Brown were nearly forgotten amidst the turbulent years of the Civil War, but the natural barrier created by the Gulf Islands National Seashore preserved them until 2016 when a team of University of West Florida archeologists uncovered the site and its treasure of artifacts. The scabbard tip of a Bowie knife, fragments of clothing, military uniform buttons and other articles help tell the story of the Civil War era in Pensacola. The artifacts are currently on display in Downtown Pensacola until June at the University of West Florida’s Destination Archaeology Resource Center at 207 E. Main Street in Downtown Pensacola. Titled “Smoke on the Water - The Archaeology of Camp Brown,” the eclectic collection is free and open to the public Mon-Sat from 10am-4pm. [PHOTO: NPS.Gov/Fort Pickens today]
Uncovering History Downtown: Old Christ Church
Posted: Mar 21, 2019 10:24 PMUpdated: Apr 30, 2019 10:58 PM
The year is 1832. The pioneers out west lead the first wagon train across the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains. Up north, the first horse-drawn street car debuts on the busy streets of New York City. And in our little town of Pensacola, Florida, the doors of Old Christ Church are opened.Built by an unknown architect under the hot Florida sun and the firelight of a lantern, Old Christ Church is one of the oldest surviving church buildings in the state. Its prominent steeple, arched doorways and flawless symmetry are characteristics of the Norman-Gothic architectural style. Tradition tells that Old Christ Church was modeled after the Old North Church of Boston—made famous by the historic ride of Paul Revere. The stately church is a focal point of Seville Square, drawing your eye to its white brick facade seen through the low hanging branches of historic live oaks and Seville orange trees. Many famous Pensacola inhabitants, whose names are commonly seen on street signs, witnessed the same beauty and contributed their efforts to the church congregation. Prominent Pensacolians Dr. John Jackson Scott, the Baars and Aiken families, Dr. Percival Whaley and P.K. Yonge were members of the congregation during times of peace, war and growth. Old Christ Church has not solely been a place of worship in Pensacola’s history. It is also a burial ground and reminder of the hardships of the Civil War. Three former rectors, Joseph Saunders, Frederick Peake and David Flower, are buried underneath its vestry. At the outbreak of the Civil War, just two families in the congregation remained in Pensacola—the others fled to Alabama until the war’s end. Federal troops converted the church into a hospital, barracks and stables. When the parish families and rector finally returned from exile and began to rebuild their lives, Old Christ Church played a large part.  According to church records a stolen Bible was returned to Old Christ Church some forty years after the Civil War ended. Hand-written inside was the notation: “To its former home with a deep sense of justice and the feeling of brotherly love to all in the church of which I am a member.”The last service held in Old Christ Church was more than 115 years ago, on Good Friday, April 10, 1903, at 5:00 in the afternoon. Though weekly services are no longer held there, Old Christ Church stands as an important reminder of Downtown Pensacola's rich history, and continues to serve the community as a museum, gathering place and historic landmark. It is a popular stop on guided tours of historic homes and buildings led by Historic Pensacola each Tuesday through Saturday at 11am and 1pm.