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Jacksonville – Top attractions for children

Back in 1990, Money magazine placed Jacksonville on its list of 50 Fabulous Places to Raise a Family. The town is very family oriented and there are a lot of wonderful ways to spend meaningful time with your children.

With its excellent weather, the beaches at Jacksonville are always a great place to spend an excellent, low-cost day outside. While at the beach, one can also fly a kite, ride bicycles, hunt for sea shells, and have a picnic.

Besides the beach, here is a list of things to consider doing with your child in Jacksonville:

 

Animal Attractions:

Beaks
12084 Houston Ave
Phone: (904)251-2473

Beaks are a bird sanctuary located on Big Talbot Island which is en route to Fernandina Beach. Children love walking the nature trails and stopping to look at the various cages and exhibits showing injured birds in the process of being nursed back to full health. The sanctuary treats around 2,000 injured birds annually.

Marineland
9600 Ocean Shore Blvd.
Phone: (904)460-1275
www.marineland.net

Built in 1938, Marineland was the first oceanarium built in the US. It is very focused on Dolphins. Not only can you view the dolphins, but thanks to such interactive programs such as The Quest, The Immersions, Discover Dolphins, Touch & Feed, Twilight Adventure, and Trainer for the day, your kids can get up close and personal. Imagine your child standing on an elevated trainer’s platform, feeding a jumping dolphin a fish by hand.

St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park
999 Anastasia Blvd.
(904)824-3337

Children with any interest in Alligators will thoroughly enjoy this park. The zoological park houses over 1,000 alligators. Guests walk on a wooden boardwalk to get a close up look at the alligators lying in pools below. Viewing here at feeding time will make a lasting impression. There is also a large collection of rare birds and snakes on site.

 

Camping

Huguenot Memorial Park
10980 Heckscher Drive
(804)251-3335
www.coj.net (search recreation)

This park is located on a sand spit bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the St. John’s River. The park offers 71 camp sites and excellent fishing.

Kathryn Abby Hanna Park
500 Wonderwood Drive
(904)249-4700
www.coj.net (search recreation)

Only 25 minutes from downtown Jacksonville, this park offers 450 acres of pristine North Florida woodland for you and the kids to explore. The park offers a over a mile of beach, hiking trails, 15 miles of biking trails, and 60 acres of stocked freshwater fishing. There are over 300 camp sites but they do fill up fast.

 

Parks, Water Parks, and Playgrounds

Kids Kampus
1410 Gator Bowl Blvd.
(904)630-5437
www.coj.net (search “Kids Kampus”)

This park is an amazing resource for children located in Metropolitan Park on the St. Johns River close to Downtown. At Safe City, the little ones can ride tricycles through a simulated downtown area. Children a little older can learn about solar power. There is a ton of playground equipment. There is also an amazing water park here with squirt guns, sprinklers, jungle gyms, and a small water slide. The water park is only open during the summer months. Admission is free.

South Beach Park and Sunshine Playground
Corner of South Beach Parkway and Osceola Street, Jacksonville Beach
(904)247-6100

The community park used two moms hard work and over 2,100 volunteers to come to fruition in a very short period of time. The park offers an amazing array of play structures for climbing, crawling, and swinging. The park offers restrooms, basketball courts, tennis courts, picnic shelters, fitness trail, bbq grills, and 3 volleyball courts. Admission is free.

 

Sports Adventures

Adventure Landing
1944 Beach Blvd
(904)246-4386
4825 Blanding Blvd.
(904)771-2804
www.adventurelanding.com

There are two of these popular parks in Jacksonville. They feature Go-Karts, “Adventure” Golf (18 hole miniature golf), laser tag played in multi-level areas, video and gaming arcade, a roller coaster, flight simulator, batting cages, and plenty of food.

Shipwreck Island is fun for the whole gang. It offers multiple water slides, water cannons, and waterfalls to cool off in. The water park portion is only open during the summer months.

The First Tee at the Brentwood Golf Course
1157 Golfair Blvd.
(904)924-0401
www.thefirstteejacksonville.org

This 9 hole golf course was built to teach golf to economically disadvantaged children, but anyone can play here. There are plenty of pros available to help kids 7 to 17 with their swing.

Sawgrass Stables & 3 Rivers Adventures
4185 Corbin Road
(904)940-0200

Nice place to take your children for a horseback ride on the beach. They also offer kayaking adventures.