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Discover the finest activities to do with your kids in Jacksonville, Florida – a family-friendly haven that seamlessly blends sunny beaches, enriching cultural experiences, and thrilling outdoor adventures. Boasting a plethora of attractions that cater to both adults and kids, Jacksonville is renowned for its warm hospitality and vibrant attractions.
From wildlife encounters to interactive museums and exhilarating outdoor escapades, Jacksonville has got you covered. Whether you’re a native or a tourist, make sure to check out the must-see things to do in Jacksonville with your kids for a memorable family activity.
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens offers families an immersive wildlife experience. With over 2,000 animals from around the world, including elephants, giraffes, and lions, visitors are sure to be captivated. The gardens are beautifully landscaped, providing a serene backdrop for exploration.
General admission prices range from $14.95 to $26.95 depending on the age of the visitor, with discounts available for children and seniors. For an additional cost, guests can participate in experiences such as giraffe feedings, train rides, and behind-the-scenes tours. The zoo also offers dining options, picnic areas, and interactive exhibits, ensuring a full day of family fun.
Jacksonville Beach is located on the Atlantic coast and is a great spot for families to enjoy the sun, sand, and various recreational activities. The beach spans over 20 miles and provides ample space for activities such as building sandcastles, swimming, and playing beach volleyball. Lifeguards are present to ensure the safety of children.
The beach is easy to access and provides free parking in specific areas. Families can choose to have picnics on the sand or dine in nearby beachside restaurants. It’s worth noting that some areas of the beach have both restroom facilities and outdoor showers for convenience.
MOSH – Museum of Science and History
MOSH, also known as the Museum of Science and History, is located in Jacksonville and is an excellent educational venue for families. The museum boasts interactive exhibits on a vast range of subjects, from prehistoric dinosaurs to space exploration and local history. MOSH offers an array of indoor and outdoor experiences, including hands-on activities, live shows, and interactive displays.
Admission prices vary depending on age, ranging from $8 to $15, with discounts available for military personnel and seniors. Additionally, MOSH provides special programs, workshops, and planetarium shows at an added expense. The museum features a café for families to grab a bite and a gift shop that sells unique educational toys and souvenirs.
Adventure Landing is a family entertainment center filled with exciting activities for children of all ages. The center’s attractions include mini-golf courses, go-karts, laser tag arenas, and a large arcade with a diverse selection of games.
To accommodate various budgets and interests, Adventure Landing offers a range of pricing options, including individual attraction tickets and combo packages. Additionally, the center provides party rooms for special celebrations and a snack bar for refreshments.
Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary
The Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary presents a distinctive opportunity for families to safely observe and gain knowledge about big cats in an educational setting. The sanctuary houses rescued exotic animals such as tigers, lions, leopards, cougars, and more.
Guided tours are available for visitors to experience the grandeur of these animals up close, learn about their histories, and understand the conservation efforts being undertaken. Admission prices range from $15 to $20, and children are eligible for discounts. It’s worth noting that the Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary operates on specific days and hours, so it’s recommended that you check their website or call ahead to ensure availability.
St. Johns River Ferry
The St. Johns River Ferry is a distinctive and picturesque transportation option for families, linking Mayport Village and Fort George Island. While crossing from one side to the other, passengers can relish breathtaking views of the St. Johns River. The ferry operates on a consistent schedule, and fares are age-dependent, with children under six years old typically riding for free.
The ferry ride presents an exceptional opportunity to spot dolphins, seabirds, and other aquatic life. Families can carry their snacks or buy refreshments on board. It’s recommended to arrive early during busy periods, particularly on weekends and holidays, to secure a place on the ferry.
Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail
The Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail presents an ideal outdoor adventure for families. This family-friendly and scenic trail spans 14.5 miles and is paved, perfect for biking, walking, or rollerblading. The trail meanders through lush greenery and offers picturesque views of natural landscapes.
Along the way, families can find ample parking, restrooms, and picnic areas. They can either bring their bikes or rent them from nearby bike shops. Bringing sunscreen, water, and insect repellent is advisable to ensure added comfort during the excursion.
Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Jacksonville provides an engaging and dynamic experience for families interested in modern art and culture. The exhibitions on display feature thought-provoking works by contemporary artists from around the globe.
Children of all ages can participate in interactive displays, hands-on activities, and workshops that encourage creativity and artistic exploration. Students and children receive discounts on admission, and kids under 2 can enter for free. The museum also has a café for light refreshments and a gift shop offering unique art-inspired merchandise.
Friendship Fountain is located on the Southbank Riverwalk in Jacksonville and is a popular attraction for families. It features stunning water shows synchronized to music that create a mesmerizing visual experience. Families can gather around the fountain’s perimeter and enjoy nearby seating areas for picnics or relaxation.
The Southbank Riverwalk also offers breathtaking views of the St. Johns River and easy access to adjacent parks, restaurants, and shopping areas. It’s important to note that the fountain has a schedule, and the shows typically occur multiple times throughout the day.
Hands-On Children’s Museum
The Hands-On Children’s Museum is a sanctuary for young learners who seek interactive and educational experiences. The museum features a variety of exhibits and activities that focus on science, art, culture, and imaginative play. Children can enjoy exploring a miniature town, engaging in science experiments, creating artwork, and participating in hands-on learning.
Admission prices vary for the museum depending on age, with the option of discounted prices for military families and seniors. Additionally, the Hands-On Children’s Museum hosts various special events, workshops, and educational programs throughout the year, ensuring a diverse and enriching experience for families.
Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park
Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is an excellent destination for families seeking outdoor adventures. The park offers numerous recreational opportunities, including swimming and sunbathing at the beach, fishing in the freshwater lake, and hiking through the lush forests on the park’s trails.
Additionally, the park features playgrounds, picnic areas, and campsites for overnight stays. Bike and kayak rentals are also available for further exploration. Admission prices vary depending on the vehicle and number of occupants, with discounted rates for Jacksonville residents.
Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra
Attending a performance by the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra is the perfect way to immerse your family in the world of classical music. The orchestra offers curated concerts and programs designed for young audiences, introducing children to the magic of orchestral music. Ticket prices vary depending on the performance and seating section, with discounted rates available for children and students.
Additionally, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra hosts family-friendly events and educational programs that are tailored to ignite a passion for music in young minds. It’s recommended that you check the orchestra’s schedule and book tickets in advance to secure the best seats for your family.
Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve
Experience the wonders of the Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve with your family. The preserve spans over 46,000 acres in Jacksonville, and boasts a diverse ecosystem of marshes, forests, and waterways, all brimming with wildlife and plant life. There are hiking trails to explore that lead to scenic viewpoints, as well as historic sites like the Fort Caroline National Memorial, where you can learn about the area’s rich cultural and natural heritage.
Admission to the preserve is free, and it’s recommended that families bring water, sunscreen, and insect repellent for a comfortable and enjoyable experience. To ensure you don’t miss out on any guided tours or ranger-led activities that may be available during your visit, it’s advisable to check the preserve’s visitor center for additional information.
St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, located a short drive from Jacksonville, provides an exciting and informative experience for families. This park has been captivating guests since 1893, and it boasts a wide range of animals, with a particular emphasis on alligators and crocodiles. Families can witness captivating wildlife shows, get up close to these incredible reptiles, and even participate in exhilarating zip line courses that soar over the exhibits.
The park also has other animal exhibits, including birds, monkeys, and lemurs. Admission prices range from $11.95 to $27.95, depending on age, with discounted rates available for children. The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park offers educational presentations in addition to animal encounters, allowing visitors to learn about conservation efforts to protect these incredible creatures.