Jacksonville boasts activities and attractions for kids of all ages. Consult this age-by-age guide to find exceptional experiences for the entire family.
Jacksonville Activities for Ages 0-3:
The littlest family members are exploring and learning every day. Here are some fun activities tots are sure to love, along with the rest of the family.
Family members of all ages will love exploring Jacksonville's Beaches, but what makes them most appealing for families with small children are the car-free, wide, white sandy beaches - perfect for running between waves lapping on the shore, hunting for seashells and shoreline creatures and bicycling, as well as relaxing in Florida's beautiful sunshine.
The largest public library in Florida is found in Downtown at the Jacksonville Main Library on historic Hemming Plaza. Kids will have a great time exploring the Children's Library, complete with a larger-than-life grassy entrance with the sounds of bugs chirping all around. Daily programming is offered, including story times and preschool art activities. Families traveling with older kids will also find a teen room with programming they will equally enjoy.
There are so many public parks in Jacksonville, you're sure to find one near your hotel. A local favorite is the South Beach Park and Sunshine Playground. With its close proximity to the beach it's a family favorite. The tot play station is perfect for the little ones and there is a massive playground for older kids. Additional activities for older kids include basketball hoops, tennis courts and trails.
Jacksonville Activities for Ages 4-9:
Keep these little explorers busy with hands-on activities. Here are solutions to keep little minds busy while in Jacksonville.
The Bryan Gooding Planetarium at the Museum of Science & History (MOSH) is the next-generation in planetarium technology with a visual display that is four times better than the best available HDTV. Programming reaches beyond astronomy to include history and natural science, blockbuster films and documentaries. MOSH also features hands-on exhibits exploring nature, history and science with small animal exhibits and aquariums to view and special exhibits featured seasonally.
Sweet Pete's is a confectionary emporium of roughly 23,000 sq. ft., making it one of the largest candy shops in the United States. The Jacksonville location boasts a fully functioning factory with an interactive gallery, two large retail areas, a full restaurant called MLG, rooftop patio and dessert bar. Sweet Pete’s features an event center that offers space for children’s field trips, catered events and parties, hands-on interactive candy making sessions and birthday parties. It’s no wonder they’re called the Sweetest Destination on Earth!
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens' newest exhibit features Magellanic penguins at Tuxedo Coast. The exhibit, situated in the zoo's Play Park, features a splash ground, playground and other kids' activities. The Asia Bamboo Gardens is home to beautiful botanical gardens and most important to the kids' -the largest lizard in the world, the Komodo Dragon. The zoo also boasts a Giraffe Overlook with giraffe feeding station and the Range of the Jaguars.
Jacksonville Activities for Ages 10-13:
You'll find smiles on your hard-to-please tweens' faces with these awesome activities.
There are new kayak adventures perfect for families with guided eco-tour company, Kayak Amelia. Family-friendly excursions are light on the paddling and heavy on the exploring. On the Shell Hunter and Island Hopper tours discover what the tide leaves behind on sand bars - sharks teeth, shells, crabs and more. Or head out to sea on the Dutton Island Dolphin Adventure. You'll not only catch glimpses of dolphin, but also Florida's birds and occasionally a manatee.
Head to Adventure Landing, with three locations in the area, for a little friendly competition. Engage in a game of laser tag, mini golf or race go-karts. Don't forget check-out the massive arcade and batting cages. At the Jacksonville Beach location, during the summer, cool off at Shipwreck Island Waterpark with four major water slides daring you to test your adventurous side.
Jacksonville Activities for Ages 14-18:
While teens may think they're practically adults, these activities will give families some of that time they've been looking to spend together.
There are seven islands that make up the Talbot Island State Parks; however the Big Talbot and Little Talbot Islands are the largest and most well-known of the set of islands. Big Talbot Island is primarily a natural preserve, where visitors can study nature, bird watch, hike and picnic. The unique beach is famous for the salt-washed skeletons of live oak and cedar trees that once grew near the shore. There are also plenty of options for teens on Little Talbot Island with great surfing along the five miles of beaches, fishing, beachcombing, hiking and camping.
Take your young adult to the best place for shopping with Hollister, Betsey Johnson, Aerie and more at Jacksonville's newest shopping experience, St. Johns Town Center. After a little retail therapy, stop for lunch at one of the eateries, including M Shack, Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails, California Pizza Kitchen, P.F. Chang's, Maggiano's Little Italy or Kilwin's for a sweet treat.