Affordable Family Fun
Top Ten Family Attractions Under $10
Jacksonville’s 21 miles of uncrowded beaches, affordable lodging and activities for less than $10 makes this “River City by the Sea” an ideal family getaway.
Immerse yourself in Jacksonville without breaking the bank with these inexpensive and entertaining activities:
1. Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier – Take in a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean and Jacksonville’s expansive shoreline from the pier, rocketing nearly a quarter mile into the ocean. Pedestrians, $1; children six and under, free; fishermen, $4.
2. The Ritz Theatre and Museum – Begin your discovery of Jacksonville’s African-American heritage with an animatronics story of native sons James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson who composed the Negro national hymn, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” Stroll along recreated streets depicting the daily lives of African Americans in Jacksonville during recent history. Adults, $6.00; children and seniors, $3.00.
3. Tree Hill Nature Center – Minutes from Downtown, discover Florida’s ecosystems at Tree Hill’s interactive, natural experience. Explore 50 acres of trails, a Florida natural history museum, butterfly and hummingbird gardens and live animal displays. Adults, $4; seniors/students/military, $3; children $2.
4. Championship Sporting Events – Every spring, the Jacksonville Suns, the double-A affiliate of the Florida Marlins. Games are played at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, with tickets starting at $6.50. In the summer, tackle a new sport – rugby - with the National Champions, the Jacksonville Axemen. All games are played at UNF’s Hodges Field and tickets are just $5. New to Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Giants, an American Basketball Association team, play in the fall/winter at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Tickets start at $8. Or the 2011 Arena Bowl Champion Jacksonville Sharks, who play from March-August.
5. National, State and City Parks – With the largest urban parks system in the country, Jacksonville offers outdoor experiences for every level of adventure. From bird watching on the Great Florida Birding Trail at Huguenot Memorial Park to kayaking the creeks and tributaries winding through the Talbot Island State Parks and hiking the trails of the 46,000-acre Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve. Most parks offer free admission. Some entrance fees required, but are less than $5.
6. Renowned Museums – Arts and culture is accessible in Jacksonville. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Jacksonville, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens and the Museum of Science & History (MOSH) all offer daily adult admission for $10 or less and offer special free admission days. Visitors will find exhibits to delight every age.
7. The Riverwalk – Stroll along the St. Johns River while taking in views of the Downtown skyline, boats and favorite attractions. Stop by The Jacksonville Landing for a family-friendly festival, concert or meal. Or continue along the Riverwalk on the Northbank to the Riverside Arts Market, Florida’ largest weekly, free arts festival. The market is held Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., from March to December, under the Fuller Warren Bridge and offers fresh produces, local art vendors, live entertainment and more.
8. Kingsley Plantation – Tucked away in the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve is Florida’s oldest, still-standing plantation house. A living history exhibit includes the barn, plantation gardens, plantation house, kitchen and 20 remarkably preserved tabby slave cabins. Admission is free. Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve has unveiled a new audio tour entitled, “The Lion’s Storyteller”. The tour will give visitors a chance to hear the entire story of Kingsley Plantation, not just the owners’ perspectives.The audio tour captures their story in an immersive, multi-media experience, drawing on some first-hand accounts, documents from the time, and stories from the historic record.
Visitors can request the audio tour at the visitor center at Kingsley Plantation. After a quick tutorial by park staff, visitors start their immersive journey into the past of this remarkable historic site. Audio described as well as subtitled versions are available for visitors needing assistance. The tour is available at the park during the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Please allow one hour to fully enjoy the experience.
9. Beaches Museum & History Center – Relive the days when Jacksonville’s beaches first became a tourist destination with the expansion of the railroad. Walk along a replica boardwalk, while soaking in historical tales, including the story of devastating Hurricane Dora. Other exhibits outside the museum at Pablo Historical Park include the Mayport Railway Depot and a once-working Old #7 Locomotive. Adults, $5; Senior Citizens (65+), $4; Children (6-17), $3; Children 5 and under, free.
10. Quirky Museums – Explore Jacksonville’s colorful seafaring past at the Jacksonville Maritime Museum, now located at The Jacksonville Landing. Or take in historical documents at one of only seven national Karpeles Museum located in historic Springfield. And don’t forget Jacksonville’s Fire Museum, which displays an Ahrens Fox steam pumper used in Jacksonville’s Great Fire of 1901.