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2228 Phillips Highway
Jacksonville, Florida 32207


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Attractions Jacksonville Florida

Parks & Zoos

With almost 84,000 acres or 131 square miles of city, state and national parks, Jacksonville's park system is even larger than the city of San Francisco.

The first segment of the 2.31-mile, $1 million Timucuan Preserve multi-use trail (walking/biking/horseback riding) opened in 2005. The 10-foot-wide path is the first phase of a plan to ultimately connect Hanna Park to Amelia Island State Park. When completed, the paved trail will span about 15 miles and cross Ft. George Inlet between Hugenot Park and Talbot Island on A1A.

Also underway is a new boat ramp at Cedar Point and new facilities including a visitor contact station, a concessionaire to rent kayaks and bikes, primitive camping and bathrooms. Other park projects include a north-south bike trail that will link Jennings State Park to Cary State Park and cross the east-west Jacksonville/Baldwin Rail Trail, and a river taxi run by the National Park Service that crosses the St. Johns River into the Timucuan Preserve, one of the largest parks in the nation.

Castaway Island, another new park initiative, opened recently in south Jacksonville between Beach and Atlantic Boulevards on San Pablo Road. As the city's premiere preservation park, it offers access to the Intracoastal Waterway for boating, picnic tables, grills, an open-air education center, walking trails and observation deck that overlooks the marsh and Intracoastal Waterway. Another preservation park, Camp Milton Historical Preserve, is in the works. It borders the Jacksonville/Baldwin Rail Trail on the Jacksonville side.

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens , with more than 1,000 exotic animals, is fun for the whole family. The zoo includes the Range of the Jaguar exhibit; the Australian Adventure featuring koalas, wallabies and kangaroos; the Seronera exhibit featuring an elephant pool, a herp house (cobras and pythons) and a fruit bat exhibit; and a new giraffe exhibit.

Last year two female jaguars, Xena and Jaws, were added to the award-winning Range of the Jaguar exhibit, bringing the Zoo's jaguar collection to six — the largest in the United States.
The Zoo also developed three major garden zones in its Botanical Garden Concept Plan including The Primary Gardens, a 12-acre site that will showcase beautiful native water-edge plants and spectacular panoramic views.

Museums

Officially opened in its new location in 2003 in Downtown Hemming Plaza with a new focus, the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville (MOCAJ) also has the distinction of being designed by an award-winning design collaborative (a one-of-a-kind volunteer initiative not seen before or since the project) who converted the Art Deco, 1930s building into a city cultural landmark.

The museum offers a very active schedule of modern and contemporary art exhibitions that rotate every four months, and a hands-on, interactive center Art Explorium loft for families. Strictly focusing on exhibiting and collecting modern artwork since 1945, the museum's permanent collection of about 800 works rotates every six months. Visit www.mocajacksonville.org for more information about the museum.

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is located on the St. Johns River in the Riverside/Avondale historic district and is just minutes from downtown. As the largest museum in Northeast Florida and the second largest art museum in the state, it's noted for its collection of more than 6,000 masterworks of American and European paintings; two acres of beautiful, historic gardens in the European style; and an outstanding collection of Meissen porcelain. Art Connections is the museum's nationally renowned interactive learning center and the museum recently unveiled the Thomas H. Jacobsen Gallery of American Art, the first new gallery to open since 1992. Visit www.cummer.org to see what's coming up at the museum.

The Museum of Science & History (MOSH) offers fun for the whole family with the area's only planetarium, an award-winning Northeast Florida history exhibit, a live animal area, daily interactive programs and much more. Learn more at www.themosh.org .

The Alexander Brest Museum and Gallery on the stately campus of Jacksonville University (JU) presents a feast for your eyes. The museum houses an outstanding Steuben Glass collection that spans two eras, and extensive Pre-Columbian, Chinese Porcelain Cloisonné and Ivory collections. The art gallery showcases changing exhibitions of students and faculty, as well as regional, national and international artists. JU also is home to one of only two glass blowing studios on a college campus in the South.

Looking for a little fun the whole family can enjoy? Look no further than Jacksonville for the perfect place to strengthen the family bond through a wonderful vacation. Walk the same streets as men, women and children did centuries ago; mimic the calls of the exotic and native animal species at attractions throughout the region; or play in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, national parks or water parks. There is a lot to see and do for visitors of all ages, and coupled with Northeast Florida's fantastic climate and budget-friendly attraction fees and accommodations, there's no better time to bring the family to experience all that our slice of Florida has to offer!

Northeast Florida has the attractions for kids of all ages to make any family or multigenerational vacation complete. Enjoy time together while looking for an adventure or discovering something new with the kids.

Get out and soak up the sunshine at Adventure Landing Jacksonville Beach . Challenge the family to a round of adventure miniature golf, indoor laser tag and a race on the go-kart tracks. During the summer, bring your bathing suit and check out the Shipwreck Island Water Park featuring the Little St. Johns Lazy River, Typhoon Lagoon - the giant wave pool and three extreme slides: the Rage, the Hydro Half-Pipe and the Eye of the Storm.

Get a unique perspective of Northeast Florida on a guided Segway eco-history tour with EcoMotion Tours . Experience wildlife and history in a setting like no other, traveling through off-road paths in the heart of Fort George Island. All tours are guided, with riders equipped with a wireless headset to learn from guides of native plants, animals and history of the trails. Be on the lookout for tortoises, rabbits and, for the lucky travelers, the occasional alligator off in the distance. Riders must be at least 13 years old, so this is a great way to explore Jacksonville's natural surroundings with the older kids.

The beach is always a great spot for a little fun in the sand and Jacksonville's over 20 miles of wide beaches make for the vacation with the family. Search for seashells, jump in the surf or simply build a sandcastle with the kids. In need of chairs, umbrellas, volleyball nets and bikes to enjoy the warm Florida weather? Let Rent Beach Stuff bring the gear to you! The business is the headquarters for all things beach related. Or if history is of interest, the beaches have a colorful past from its historic buildings, residents and events that have shaped its present. The Beaches Museum & History Center in Jacksonville Beach celebrates the coastal heritage with interactive exhibits, photographs and stories of a simpler time.

Spend a day at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens exploring 2,000 rare and exotic animals and over 1,000 unique plant species. The newest addition to the zoo, The Gardens at Trout River Plaza, opened to the public in 2007. The plaza is located along the banks of the Trout River and features a formal garden with walls, columns, a fountain and unique plants. While there, check out the "Range of the Jaguar" exhibit, home to animals, birds and reptiles from South America.

Downtown Jacksonville's Kids Kampus , located in Metropolitan Park just off the ciyt's Sports Complex, allows children to indulge their natural curiosity while enjoying its engaging playscapes and miniature Jacksonville landscapes. The 10-acre playground area features a mini-water park with "Three Friends," a large boat play structure accompanied by and surrounded by water cannons. A non-skid, rubberized surface called "Bayou, Bogs & Frogs" depicting Florida's wetlands includes benches and water jets for wet and wild fun! Admission is free and open to the public.

Check out the latest exhibition at The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville , located at Hemming Plaza in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville. Kids will love the ArtExplorium Loft, the museum's family interactive center, featuring 16 hands-on stations in addition to three floors of galleries.

With over 1,220 holes of golf, and home to over 70 public and private courses, Northeast Florida is the ideal spot to play a round. The World Golf Hall of Fame celebrates the history and sport with interactive displays, memorabilia and trophies on display. Check out an IMAX movie while your there, with family-friendly movies showing daily.

Three Days in Jacksonville: Family Fun Itinerary

Friday

Begin your afternoon in San Marco, a quaint neighborhood located five minutes south of Downtown Jacksonville. San Marco Square, fashioned after St. Mark's Square in Venice, revolves around a water fountain capped with three enormous bronze lions and a charming gazebo. The streets are lined with fine dining establishments and boutiques specializing in the finest designer clothes, precious artwork and gifts, perfect for people watching while sipping on coffee or smoothies. Stop in Hobby Horse-San Marco which has the latest in children's wear, furniture and games or discover an adventure while perusing through the large collection of antique and specialty books at San Marco Bookstore.

Hang out in the Square for a casual lunch which will please even the pickiest of eaters! Jacksonville-based The Loop Pizza Grill boasts a menu of more than you'd expect. Enjoy a number of different styles of pizzas, unique burger combinations and delicious sandwiches and salads. Make sure you're in the mood for hand-dipped malts or milkshakes, locals love them!

Make sure you leave room for dessert and check out the Peterbrooke Chocolatier Production Center ! A permanent fixture in Northeast Florida for the past 24 years, this is Jacksonville's local hotspot for chocolate lovers. Enjoy sampling and indulging yourself with chocolate dipped strawberries, fresh baked cookies and their signature item, chocolate-covered popcorn. With numerous locations throughout Jacksonville, the production center in San Marco offers behind-the-scenes tours to see how their sweet creations come to life!

After sweets, experience a little science and history courtesy of the Museum of Science & History . Located on Jacksonville's Downtown Southbank, this interactive museum, known as MOSH to the locals, features the area's only planetarium and a Northeast Florida history display called Currents of Time. Explore the Atlantic Tails exhibit, an educational and fun experience all about underwater mammal life featuring dolphins, whales and manatees. In the Naturalist Center, guests can witness animal feedings among the live American alligators, gopher tortoises, native snakes and birds which call Northeast Florida home. Then, check out the Science Theater, home to Mad Scientists who will amaze you with science so cool it's almost magic.

From MOSH, catch a ride on the S.S. Marine Taxi for a tour of the beautiful St. Johns River, which runs right through the center of Downtown Jacksonville. End your tour on the Northbank at the Jacksonville Landing , where you will find great dining, excellent shopping and a fabulous view of the river. Special events and live entertainment take place Friday through Sunday on the riverfront main stage surrounding the large water fountain. Children and adults can run through the fountain to play or just cool off after a warm day. Grab dinner at one of the 11 full-service restaurants located there.

Head over to the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville for a little sports action at the ballpark! Located in Downtown's sports complex, Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate, the Double-A Jacksonville Suns has produced some of the biggest names in major league baseball. From April through September, fans take pleasure in America's pastime at the Grounds, which were designed with the rich tradition of baseball in mind. Including seating for 11,000 spectators and its brick façade, the Grounds also feature luxury skyboxes and skydecks, a playground and a unique nine-foot high mound for seating at the left field corner known as "the knuckle." Each Friday night at the ballpark is Friday Night Family Fireworks game which ends with a spectacular display of fireworks, win or lose.

Saturday

Get out and soak up the sunshine at Adventure Landing Jacksonville Beach . Bring your bathing suits to this local treasure and take advantage of warm Florida weather year-round at Shipwreck Island Waterpark featuring the Little St. Johns River, the Typhoon Lagoon wave pool and three extreme water slides: the Rage, the Hydro Half-Pipe and the Eye of the Storm. The Shipwreck Island Play Village is the centerpiece attraction for kids of all ages. Multiple slides, water cannons and waterfalls ensure hours of fun. Be sure to check out the go-karts, adventure miniature golf, indoor laser tag, the mega arcade and the batting cages.

After all that adventure, hunger will set in, so head toward the beach and enjoy loads of seafood and beautiful ocean views at tropical-inspired Joe's Crab Shack. This seafood institution offers a variety of shrimp dishes, including Joe's fave, crab-stuffed shrimp, and, of course, as the namesake states, Crabs, Crabs, Crabs with their three signature flavors from which to choose. Salads, sandwiches and pastas are also on the menu.

From there, stick your toes in the sand on Jacksonville's gorgeous beaches or stroll the Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville Beach. At 1,300 feet, the new pier features a 20-foot wide wooden deck and is a great spot for kids to watch the fisherman reel in their latest catches! Besides all of the great fishing, the pier also provides a great view of Jacksonville Beach. The pier includes a concessions area, bait shop and restrooms. Spectators can visit the pier for $1, with children six and under admitted free. Hours of operation are 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Head back across the Intracoastal Waterway for dinner and a show at Alhambra Dinner Theatre . A Jacksonville tradition, Alhambra is the region's only professional dinner theatre and features buffet dining and family-friendly musicals like The Sound of Music, Disney's Beauty and the Beast and Annie. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the curtain rises two hours later for the evening performances, but matinee performances are also available on Saturdays and Sundays.

Sunday

Head north on I-95 to spend the day at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens . In addition to the over 2,000 rare and exotic animals housed at the zoo, kids can climb, jump and get wet at the new 2.5-acre Kids' Zone featuring a 4,000 square foot Splash Ground and Plaza. Find your way through mazes and discover and create in the Discovery Building or groom and pet the pygmy goats in the Animal Care Area. As part of the Zoo's continued dedication to education, the Kids' Zone focuses on various aspects of the plant and animal kingdoms that also allow for children to learn through play. Kids and adults alike will love the beautiful botanical gardens along the Trout River.

Stay at the zoo for lunch and dine at the Palm Plaza Café, located in the award-winning Range of the Jaguar exhibit, offering a southwestern menu with nachos, burritos, tacos, wraps and salads. The glass windows of the café overlook the jaguars roaming their habitat.

Before leaving the area, spend some time in one of Jacksonville's designated parks. With 57,373 acres of parks, including the 46,000-acre Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve , Jacksonville boasts the largest urban park system in the country, taking pride in protecting the natural beauty of the area for all visitors to enjoy. Learn the history of Northeast Florida by stopping by the Kingsley Plantation , the oldest remaining plantation house in Florida. Check out the remarkably preserved slave quarters, barn, plantation house, kitchen house and interpretive garden located on the waterfront. Visitors to the park can hike, bike or kayak throughout an area that is rich in history and nature. The park hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Take advantage of the Destination Deals available for all to enjoy!

Escape to Jacksonville
Company Name Offer Title Offer Valid
Budweiser Brewery Tour $10 OFF A PURCHASE OF $50 OR MORE - Escape to Jacksonville 10/24/2008 - 06/30/2009
PGA Tour Spa Laterra $10 OFF ANY SPA TREATMENT OF 60 MINUTES OR MORE 10/15/2008 - 06/30/2009
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens $2.00 OFF ZOO ADMISSION - ESCAPE TO JACKSONVILLE 10/15/2008 - 06/30/2009
Opus 39 Restaurant & Food Gallery $20 OFF YOUR FIRST $100 PURCHASE - Escape to Jacksonville 01/07/2009 - 06/30/2009
Budweiser Brewery Tour $25 OFF A PURCHASE OF $100 OR MORE - Escape to Jacksonville 10/24/2008 - 06/30/2009
Bistro Aix Restaurant and Lounge $29 3-COURSE PRIX FIXE MENU - Escape to Jacksonville 01/06/2009 - 06/30/2009
Budweiser Brewery Tour $5 OFF A PURCHASE OF $25 OR MORE - Escape to Jacksonville 10/24/2008 - 06/30/2009
Alhambra Dinner Theatre $5 OFF YOUR RESERVATION - Escape to Jacksonville 01/21/2009 - 06/30/2009
European Motorsport Park & Rally School 10% OFF ANY RALLY RACING PROGRAM - Escape to Jacksonville 10/29/2008 - 06/30/2009
St. Augustine Premium Outlets 50 Plus Shopper Perks - EVERY TUESDAY 01/01/2009 - 12/31/2009
Tree Hill Nature Center 50% OFF ADMISSION - Escape to Jacksonville 01/07/2009 - 06/30/2009
Adventure Landing 60 TOKENS FOR $10 - Escape to Jacksonville 10/15/2008 - 06/30/2009
St. Augustine Premium Outlets AAA Show Your Card & Save 01/01/2009 - 12/31/2009
Irene Parfums & Cosmetiques Lab, Inc. BUY 2, GET 1 FREE - Escape to Jacksonville 01/21/2009 - 06/30/2009
Ripley's Believe It or Not! BUY ONE ADULT ADMISSION GET ONE CHILD ADMISSION FREE - Escape to Jacksonville 12/31/2008 - 06/30/2009
Ripley's Sightseeing Trains of St. Augustine BUY ONE ADULT ADMISSION GET ONE CHILD ADMISSION FREE - Escape to Jacksonville 10/24/2008 - 06/30/2009
Old Town Trolley Tours BUY ONE GET ONE FREE - Ghost and Gravestones "Frightseeing" Tour 10/20/2008 - 06/30/2009
Museum of Science & History (MOSH) BUY ONE, GET ONE - ADMISSION TICKET 10/15/2008 - 06/30/2009
Kayak Amelia at Long Island Outfitters BUY ONE, GET ONE 1/2 PRICE KAYAK ADVENTURE TOUR - ESCAPE TO JACKSONVILLE 01/20/2009 - 06/30/2009
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World Golf Hall of Fame & IMAX Theater at World Golf Village BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE HALL OF FAME & IMAX COMBO TICKET - Escape to Jacksonville 01/21/2009 - 06/30/2009
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St. Augustine Premium Outlets FREE VIP COUPON BOOK - Escape to Jacksonville 10/28/2008 - 06/30/2009
St. Augustine Premium Outlets Military Appreciation 01/01/2009 - 12/31/2009
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park One FREE child admission with the purchase of an ADULT admission 07/16/2008 - 06/30/2009
St. Augustine Premium Outlets Shop & Stay Packages 01/01/2009 - 12/31/2009
Tour Time, Inc. St. Augustine Night Of Lights 07/07/2008 - 01/30/2010
The Tasting Room, Contemporary Spanish Restaurant Two for ONE - Escape to Jacksonville 01/07/2009 - 06/30/2009