Visitors to the Fountain of Youth can see a number of exhibits related to the history and culture of Native inhabitants, including a recreated Timucua village. They can also see the firing of cannons and muskets meant to recreate the weaponry of early explorers. Of course, the most popular attraction is the opportunity to drink from the Fountain of Youth.
While stories related to the fountain are a myth, the Timucua Indian Village of Seloy did exist at this location for thousands of years prior to the arrival of the Spanish. Ponce de Leon's arrival (whether in St. Augustine or elsewhere) established the basis of Spain's claim of possession of La Florida, but just as Native inhabitants existed prior to the arrival of the English in Plymouth and Jamestown, the Timucua and other tribes had long claimed Florida as their own.
The myth of the Fountain of Youth gained popularity in America after 1819 due to the famous writings of Washington Irvin. In response to the popularity of this story, developers located a spring in the St. Augustine area and created this tourist attraction. The spring has been closed in by a stone building that also holds a memorial statue of Ponce de Leon. The park complex also includes the original site of a large Timucua Indian burial ground. Nearby, archaeologists have explored and discovered remains of the first fort and settlement of St. Augustine.
The park has been open to tourists for over a century-demonstrating the continued popularity of myth among visitors who enjoy the fantasy that its waters might restore their youth.