In Downtown Pensacola, visit Plaza De Luna, a waterfront park located at the south end of Palafox Pier. The park features a life-size bronze statue of its namesake, Don Tristan De Luna y Arellano, who led the Spanish expedition carrying 1500 colonists to settle Pensacola in August of 1559. De Luna’s plan was to establish the first permanent European colony in North America on Pensacola Bay. Pensacola was to be the first in a series of settlements that would spread west along the Gulf Coast and north into Florida to secure the territory for Spain. Unfortunately, however, a violent hurricane struck before De Luna and the Spanish colonists could finish unloading their 11 ships, sinking most of the fleet before the settlement ever got off the ground.
Today, children can enjoy the splash pad encircling De Luna’s monument, and visitors and locals alike can cast a line into Pensacola Bay if you are so inclined, or take a stroll along the waterfront walking path.