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The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is among the most famous contemporary art museums in the country. This huge Jacksonville complex is home to many temporary as well as permanent exhibits featuring renowned American as well as international artists. Apart from this, the museum hosts a variety of cultural activities and events. It offers an in-house eatery, Cafe Nola, that serves continental delicacies to ensure you don't let hunger pangs keep you from appreciating some of the finest contemporary art Florida has to offer.
Nicknamed MOSH, this museum overlooks the St. Johns River and is near Downtown Jacksonville. Great fun and an educational experience for the whole family, it comes with its own planetarium. Exhibits include marine life, native Florida wildlife, local history, and the Holozone, full of interactive games and simulator rides. In addition, classroom activities and planetarium programs allow for hands-on, interactive fun.
This charming riverside dining and entertainment boardwalk is a popular riverfront meeting place for locals and visitors alike. You will find a variety of restaurants, bars, shops, museums and a marina. Riverwalk is linked to area hotels, including the Wyndham Riverwalk and the Hampton Inn Jacksonville Central, making it easy for visitors to take a relaxing stroll while enjoying scenic views of the downtown skyline. Owing to its vibrant atmosphere which is at once serene and exhilarating, this spot is a popular attraction visited by many.
Located off Main Street in Downtown Jacksonville, Karpeles Manuscript Library is billed as the world's largest holding of historical documents on literature, medicine, science, music and anthropology. Rare books and documents, some a century old, are on display here for the public to survey. This library has several locations throughout the country, so it frequently rotates its historical exhibits before returning them to the archive. You can visit again and again without seeing the same documents twice.
Opened in 1961, this museum and art education center has handsome gardens with fragrant blooms, and peaceful, winding walkways. The permanent collection at Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens focuses on the history of art with exhibits spanning the eras from ancient times to the 21st century. Temporary exhibits are also presented throughout the year. The museum is located approximately five minutes away from downtown Jacksonville.
Touted as the longest continuously running community theater in the United States, Theatre Jacksonville brightens the historic San Marco District with its funky, art-deco facade of cool purples and neon lights. Since 1919, Jacksonville Theatre has been engaging audiences with live plays and musicals. Today's current troupe, consisting primarily of volunteer talent, has recently performed such plays as "Once Upon a Mattress" and "Spinning into Butter."
Although Riverside and Avondale are two separate areas of Jacksonville, their proximity has led to their being considered one single entity. With a history that goes back to the late 19th Century, the neighborhoods comprise of of the oldest landscapes in the city. Mostly residential, the neighborhood comprises some commercial areas like the King Street District and Five Points. Take in the historic charm as you stroll the lanes at a leisurely pace, checking out the numerous shopping and dining options on offer. The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Memorial Park and Riverside Park are located here.
This small but informative 25-year old museum celebrates both the history and culture of daily life in the South during the 19th century. At the Museum of Southern History there are artifacts and memorabilia from the Civil War, and from everyday Southern life, politics and fashion. Friendly staff can assist visitors who are interested in tracing the genealogy of Southern families, leading you through the extensive research library that features more than 6,000 volumes.
Visit white rhinos, crocodiles, lions and more as you survey the African exhibits among others at the Jacksonville Zoo. A boardwalk allows visitors to observe elephants and giraffes. Native Florida wildlife can also be seen, including jaguars, endangered Florida panthers and the American alligator. There is so much to see here that you should allow yourself an entire day to absorb it all. Refreshments are available throughout the park.
In 1564 French explorers founded the first Protestant colony in the United States along what is today the St. Johns River. Fort Caroline National Memorial is a reconstructed fort commemorating its probable location. The Spanish seized the original colony, leading to the demise of its residents in 1565, so not much is known about these early pioneers. The site stretches across 130 acres overlooking the river and features a museum with French and Indian artifacts from the 16th century. Fort Caroline was established as a national memorial in 1950 and is 14 miles from Downtown Jacksonville.
This monument is on the north side of the city and is located on a high bluff overlooking the St. Johns River. A wheelchair accessible terrace offers visitors a scenic view of the river and wetlands. Ribault and his crew landed on the First Coast in 1562 and erected the original stone monument to commemorate the first ever landing of Protestants on this foreign soil. Admission to the monument is free.
Located at the southern tip of Jacksonville, this museum is dedicated to promoting Mandarin's history. Housed inside the historic Walter Jones general store it is an example of a one-story, crossroads country store. On display are artifacts detailing the life of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, who lived in Mandarin, as well as artifacts and memorabilia recovered from the Maple Leaf, a Union naval ship sunk off Mandarin Point in 1884. Admission is free.