Fort Pickens is one of my favorite places but I don't make it over there very often.
On Thursday I had to pick the Oldest Island Boy up from my parent's house so I decided to get him and then drive over and spend the day at the fort.
Fort Pickens was built on the end of Santa Rosa Island, overlooking Pensacola Pass as part of a defense system designed to protect the Pensacola Naval Yard from attack by sea.
Fort McRee, which sits just across the Pass to the west
And Fort Barrancas, which was built inside the entrance of the Pass
worked in tandem with Fort Pickens to ensure the safety of Pensacola's Naval Yard as well as our deep water Bay.
Fort Pickens is the largest of the three.
21.5 million bricks make up the fort and it took 6 years to complete.
The boys love Fort Pickens too and as soon as we got out of the car they wanted to go everywhere and see everything.
We climbed SO many stairs that I can barely walk today.
Like all boys, mine love cannons and as soon as the Oldest saw this one he had to stick his head in it.
I've been telling him for years that he has a big head. It's as big as a cannon ball!
There are several pre-WW1 houses that sit just outside of the main fort. These have been used as quarters and offices for years and I don't recall them ever being open to the public.
Amazingly, they were not destroyed during Hurricane Ivan. They were lifted from their foundations but the buildings remained intact. They're being restored now and hopefully once they're done I'll be able to go inside and look around.
I never get tired of standing on top of the fort and looking around.
Pensacola Pass and the Gulf to the south and west
And Pensacola NAS to the north.
Even on a cloudy day like this one the view is incredible.
We spent hours wandering around the fort and the old batteries that are hidden among the dunes along the Gulf. Finally, hot and tired we were ready to head for home.
It was really fun, soaking up all of that history and wandering around the park.
I'm not going to wait so long before my next visit.