My 4 Favorite Places to Explore in Jacksonville, Florida

by Carrie McLaren with no comments

Thanks to soccer season, we’ve been staying close to home on the weekends. And while I miss squeezing in a quick road trip, the good news is that we’ve had more time to discover the places around love here in Jacksonville, Florida.

And while I’ve expected quiet weekends, we’ve ended up being a busy weekend filled with fun! Here’s a look at some of the places we’ve explored recently and more of my favorite spots around town –

My 4 Favorite Places to Explore in Jacksonville, Florida - blog

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Sunday morning, we cashed in a coupon (yay for saving money!) and visited the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

Right now through May 7, the zoo is hosting the Nature Connects exhibit featuring art displays of animals made of LEGO bricks. We loved spotting the LEGO displays throughout the zoo as we made our way around to the different exhibits.

Nature Connects Exhibit - Jacksonville Zoo

Our ‘must see’ areas include the Range of the Jaguar exhibit and the Giraffe Overlook. They are both incredible ways to see the animals up close where they have a lot of area to roam on their own – making every visit unique.

At the Giraffe Overlook, for an additional fee, you can even feed the giraffes. My girls are still too timi to try it, but we love watching over families feed these beautiful creatures. PRO TIP: If you have little ones, bring swimsuits and cool off at the Play Park and Splash Ground.

Range of the Jaguar exhibit - Jacksonville Zoo

Friendship Fountain 

Not only is Friendship Fountain and Park where my husband and I were married way back in 2007, but it is a fantastic place for a picnic. When Friendship Fountain opened in 1965, it was billed as the world’s largest and tallest fountain.

The views of the Downtown Jacksonville skyline are just magnificent and the park is adjacent to the Museum of Science and History (MOSH) and also the River City Brewing Company. We usually visit the museum and enjoy our picnic in the park.

Friendship Fountain in Jacksonville Florida

image courtesy of Visit Jacksonville / Ryan Ketterman

Intuition Ale Works

As I told someone over the weekend, breweries aren’t just for men. Moms like craft beer and exploring breweries too. Intuition Ale Works has been brewing fantastic beer for years and just moved into a brand, new facility featuring a fantastic taproom — and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite spots in town.

Intuition Ale Works Glass - Carrie McLaren

This past weekend, my husband and I visited the taproom and grabbed dinner at the on-site Black Sheep Restaurant food counter. Casual eats and delicious – I had a huge grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and tomato. My husband opted for the Hot Dog of the Week. (We were so hungry, I forgot to take pictures. Next time!)

PRO TIP: On the second Friday of every month, the brewery hosts Family Night – bounce houses, face painting, games and free juice boxes for kids. We went last month and had a great time and met some new friends too. Don’t have kids? Don’t worry, the area is separated so everyone else can enjoy a more mellow night – without kids!

Riverside Arts Market 

Another of our usual weekend spots (after soccer practice) is the Riverside Arts Market. We usually grab some fresh produce for our groceries for the week – fresh and reasonably priced too.

Riverside Arts Market - Farmer's Row

Open every Saturday from March through mid-December, we love exploring the arts/crafts, photographers, clothes and more from local Northeast Florida vendors. Be sure to check out the weekly calendar as they have great themed events – I’m a big fan of the ‘Arf Barket’ – complete with a dog costume contest and parade. So fun.

PRO TIP: Ride your bike to the market and take advantage of their Bike Valet service – safe and free!

Riverside Arts Market - Entertainment Stage

While I love traveling, it is fun to slow down and spend time at home too. We are rediscovering new places and enjoying our favorite places again too.

Have You Been to Jacksonville?

Where Are Your Favorite Places? 

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