“I’ve got to get out of this house.” I say this at least once, if not several times a week. Here are some ideas for you to get out of house, explore Jacksonville, and have some fun with your little ones:
- Hit up the Park! There are some really great parks here in Jax. My personal favorite is South Beach Park, located in Jacksonville Beach. Sunshine Playgound has so much to explore and a splash pad as well for those hot summer days. Hannah Park in Atlantic Beach has two playgrounds and a splash park. Other fun parks include: The Clarke House and Park in Orange Park, Riverside Park in Riverside, Ed Austin in Arlington, and Boone Park in Avondale. Grab some sunscreen and head to one this week.
- Go to the Library. The Jacksonville Public Library system offers story times almost every day of the week at different libraries across the city. These are FREE events and they always have something fun going on. St. Johns County Public Library also has story time programs.
- Take a kids chocolate class at Sweet Pete’s Candy in They have many different classes for children and adults of all ages. Plus, there is a special “Toddler Time,” which is described as “a sweet outing for little ones!” Each toddler will dip an all-natural cookie lollipop into chocolate and decorate the cookie. After making the sweet treat, the toddlers will enjoy a candy themed story time. *Updated
- Toddler climbing the walls at home? Open Gym at TNT Gymnastics is the spot for you. I have a very active little boy and gymnastics is the perfect place for him to run in a large padded play area, jump on trampolines, and play in their huge foam pit. TNT Gymnastics is located off St. Johns Bluff and has open gym for toddlers Wednesdays at 10-11am in the summer. When school starts in August, the open gym hours are normally Wednesdays 11a-12p and Friday 9a-10a. Admission is $5 admission per child. Call ahead to verify times.
- Gyminators Gymnastics in Orange Park has a toddler area called “Play Time-Kids Fitness and Fun Center” which is open during business hours with rates of $7 first child/$5 second child or a monthly membership of $20 per month first child/$15 per month second child.
- Hungry? Go grab lunch and play at Chick-Fil- A. They have this mommy thing down. They even have a service where you can order your food at the drive-through and tell them you’re coming in at the window and they’ll have your food and high chair all ready for you. It’s awesome and another great place for the kiddos to play.
- Is it Saturday? Go check out the Riverside Arts Market. It’s a fun place to stroll around with the little ones, grab some fruit and veggies from the farmers market and delicious freshly squeezed lemonade. Then, go hang out by the river and listen to one of the many entertainers they have on Saturday. The kids can dance around, and the balloon animal artist is always a hit. Is it the first Saturday of the month? Even better, after RAM head over to the Cummer Museum where it’s always free the first Saturday of the month, thanks to the generous support of the Weaver family.
- Cummer Museum & Gardens is one of my favorite spots. They have an interactive play area called “Arts Connections,” with many fun activities for toddlers such as paint your own painting on a digital canvas, dance to music while watching your body move in rainbow colors on a large screen, and make a garden collage with crayons. Pack a lunch so when you’re done inside you can head out to the gardens area. The gorgeous gardens overlook the picturesque St. Johns River. It’s the perfect spot to sit or run around! The best part, the Cummer is a participant in the Blue Star Museum program, so it’s free all summer for military (until Labor Day). Or, as I mentioned above, go on the first Saturday of the month, as it’s free all day then, too.
- Sunny? Go to the Beach. During the week, there are many open parking lots in Jacksonville Beach and you can always access the Mayport base beach as well.
- Bay & Bee is a modern indoor play space designed specifically for parents to enjoy play with their young children (birth to 5 years). They are membership based and they offer a 10% military discount on membership. Your first time here is free and they often have classes such as “Om with Mom Yoga” available for non-members.
- The Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens is always a solid choice. Toddlers love feeding the giraffes and the Play Park and Splash Ground is a hit. The Zoo offers a 10% military discount with Active Duty ID.
- Get in shape with Jax Stroller Strength! Workout with your little one and connect with other moms. Classes available at Sunshine Park, Ed Austin Park, Chuck Rogers Park and Jack Russell Park. The first class is free.
- The Town Center: In between perusing Anthropologie’s latest sales and grabbing a Starbucks for myself, I take the kiddo to the outdoor play area. Warning for those with adventure seeking toddlers: It’s not fenced in. We usually only last about 15 minutes there before I toss him in the stroller and head over to Barnes & Noble for some play time with their train table and kids book section. Barnes & Noble also has a story time, check out their schedule here. Pottery Barn Kids has story time on Tuesdays from 11am-11:30am. Still not naptime yet? All Aboard the Choo Choo train that runs around the mall.
- Let’s go swimming! There are many swim programs available in Jacksonville designed to help your child feel more comfortable with the water and learn how to swim. We did the Swimming Safari Splish Splash babies class and had a great time.
- Museum of Science and History. MOSH has an area for children 5 and under called “kidSpace” which features a tree house inspired by Jacksonville’s historic treaty oak and other hands-on activities to get the little ones excited about educational exploration. Admission: Children 3 and under are free. Ages 3-12 $6, Adults $10, and Military $8. They also have a program called “$5 Fridays” where it’s only $5 per person and they are open late until 8pm.
- Raining? Check out the mall indoor playgrounds and take a ride on the Choo Choo at The Avenues Mall, Regency Mall, or Orange Park Mall.
- MyGym is a children’s fitness center that offers classes for kids beginning at 6 months. There are two locations in Jacksonville, one on Beach Blvd. and the other off San Jose in Mandarin. Your first class is free and they offer a military discount for a monthly membership.
- The Little Gym in Fleming Island also has classes to get your little ones moving. This gym is also membership based but your first class is free and they offer military discounts off their membership programs.
- Try Music Class with Jax Music Together for infants, babies and children ages 0-5 & 5-7 years. They offer a free demo class to try it out.
- Go Jump on the gigantic inflatables at Pump It Up off Beach Blvd. This place is great for those hot summer days. Admission is $4 ages 12 months-23 months and $8 ages 2-7 years. Be sure to bring socks and check open jump times on their calendar as the times tend to change daily.
- Need some fresh air? Check out Tree Hill Nature Center located in the center of Jacksonville. This hidden gem has Nature trails, goat petting, turtle watching, a butterfly house and lots of shade. Admission: $4 for adults, $3 for military, $2 Kids 3-17 and FREE for kids under 3.
- Rebounderz Jacksonville is an indoor trampoline facility with over 12,000 square feet to jump! They also have laser tag, archery tag and lanez bowling. Jumping prices begin at $10 per person ages 2 and older. Under 2 are free with paying adult. There is a military discount on weekends only and it is $2 off your total family purchase. Update: Rebounderz recently launched “Toddler Tuesdays” every Tuesday from 9:30a-11:30, children 5 and under can jump for $8. An adult jumps free with the child. Parents are required to wear their special jump socks that cost $2 each but toddlers can wear their sneakers.
- Feeling Artsy? The Museum of Contemporary Art features the “ArtExplorium Loft” with 16 fun and interactive stations for children. Children under 2 are Free, $5 anytime for active duty and retired military, Free Wednesday evenings for Artwalk (5-9p.m), Free first Saturday and Sunday of the month for Bank of America card holders and Free all Sundays for Regions Bank card holders. MOCA is also participating in the Blue Star Museums program so from Memorial Day through Labor Day admission is FREE to active duty families, Reserves and National Guard.
- O2BKidz is a 25,000 square foot learning playground in Fleming Island. Their play center includes a building things area, costume corner, play kitchen and children 0 to 3 years can explore their special Toddler Play Zone. They also have many programs and classes for children from 6 months and older including the “Morning Magic” play group for ages 0-5. General Admission is $10 for children 6 months to 13 years old, grown-ups that accompany them are free. They also have a membership program that is $17 per week with no contracts or length of time commitment. The $25 enrollment fee for membership is waived for military.
- Slinkee’s Jax is an indoor play area with inflatables, trampolines, light space floors, and arcade located off San Jose Blvd. Admission is $7 per child over 2.
Have fun exploring! If you’d like to stay up-to-date on future posts, play-dates, military discounts, and things to do in Jacksonville, enter your email here:
Please note that admission prices, membership pricing and military discounts can change at any time. Make sure to call any of the above places and double check before counting on the discount.
Looking for more ideas? Check out The Jacksonville Bucket List-40 Activities to do in Jacksonville before your next PCS