The Kingsley Plantation located at the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve is one of my favorite places to visit in Northeast Florida. Combined with the rich history of the grounds and the spectacular scenery of Fort George Island – the plantation is definitely worth a visit.
Known as the oldest standing plantation home in Florida, the Kingsley Plantation dates back to the early 1800s where Zephaniah Kingsley enslaved over 60 workers, yet was married to a former slave named Anna Kingsley.
The Timucuan Trails State and National Parks Junior Ranger program is one of my favorite kids activities at the park. When you arrive at the park, make the visitors center your first stop and pick up a complimentary Junior Ranger activity kit.
As you tour the grounds, kids can complete the tasks in the guide and check back in at the visitors center to receive an official Junior Rangers certificate. It’s a fantastic way to learn about the history of the Kingsley Plantation and also have fun.
Walking through the slave quarters and barn located on the grounds is a very surreal experience. Get an up close look at the tabby construction of the slave quarters – they were all built by hand. The interpretive garden shows the crops that slaves used to grow on the grounds, be sure and ask the rangers about the sea island cotton – it was the cash crop in the early days of the plantation.
The plantation home is currently closed during the week for renovations; however tours are available on the weekends. Reservations are strongly encouraged, call (904) 251-3537.
Visit www.nps.gov/timu/historyculture/kp.htm to learn more about this historic property.