Summer Fun On Any Budget

by Kellie Abrahamson
Embrace Nature
Jacksonville is home to the largest urban parks system in the United States, boasting more than 337 local parks throughout the city. Our parks department also offers environmental education activities for all ages, so your child can play and learn something new at the same time. To find a park in your area, check out
Admission to national parks around the country will be free on September 29 in celebration of National Public Lands Day. Take advantage by visiting one of the area’s many national parks. Go to for more info.
Taking a hike on one of the many trails at the Jacksonville Arboretum is a great way for families to experience the great outdoors. The 120-acre property is home to numerous walking trails, boardwalks and picnic tables. Head over to to map out your next visit.

Nestled amid the hustle and bustle of Arlington is Tree Hill Nature Center, a wonderful natural oasis complete with 50 acres of trails, a Florida Natural History Museum, butterfly and hummingbird gardens and native animals. Admission is $4/adults; $3/students, seniors and military; and $2/children. Visit for directions and more information.
Though we’ve already discussed parks above, Hanna Park is something special. With over a mile of pristine beaches, fishing holes, a splash park for the kids, camping facilities and much more, this beloved Jax landmark is a must-visit for many residents during the hot summer months. Admission is $1 per person from 8-10 am, $3 per car from 10 am-close. Go to for all things Hanna Park.

Learn Something New
Did you know that the First Coast has over a dozen museums? You can immerse yourself in great works of art or pick up interesting facts about the history of the area or try your hand at some weird science. Here’s the skinny on just a handful of local museums.

Black Heritage Museum (Middleburg), open by appointment only,
Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park (Starke), open Tuesday-Sunday from noon-4pm,
Clay County Historic Museum & Triangle (Green Cove Springs), open Sunday from 2-5 pm, www.claycountyhistoricalsociety….
Jacksonville Fire Museum (Downtown), open Monday-Friday from 9 am-4 pm,
Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum (Downtown), open Tuesday-Friday from 10 am-3 pm, Saturday from noon-4 pm,…
Kingsley Plantation (Northside), open seven days a week from 9 am-5 pm,
Mandarin Museum & Historical Society (Mandarin), open Saturday from 9 am-4 pm,
Middleburg Historical Museum (Middleburg), open Sunday from 2-4 pm,
Military Museum of North Florida (Green Cove Springs), open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am-3 pm, www.militarymuseumofnorthflorida…

Beaches Museum & History Center (Jacksonville Beach), open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am-4:30 pm. Admission: $5/adults, $4/seniors, $3/children ages 6-17, free/children 5 and under.
Jacksonville Maritime Heritage Center (Downtown), open Tuesday-Friday from 11 am-5 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 pm. Admission donation: $5/adults, $1/children. www.jacksonvillemaritimeheritage…

Colonial Spanish Quarter Museum (St. Augustine), open daily from 9 am-5:30 pm. Admission: $7/adults, $4/children ages 6-17.…
Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens (Riverside), open Tuesday from 10 am-9 pm, Wednesday-Friday from 10 am-4 pm, Saturday from 10 am-5 pm and Sunday from noon-5 pm. Admission: $10/adults; $6/students, seniors, and military; free/children under 5. Admission is free for all on Tuesdays from 4-9 pm.
Fort Menendez (St. Augustine), open daily from 9:30 am-4 pm. Admission: $11/adults, $8/children ages 3-18, free/children 2 and under.
Lightner Museum (St. Augustine), open daily from 9 am-5 pm. Admission: $10/adults, $6/active military, $5/students and children ages 12-18, free/children 12 and under.
MOCA Jacksonville (Downtown), open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 am-4 pm; Thursday from 10 am-8 pm; and Sunday from noon-4 pm. Admission: $8/adults; $5/students, seniors and military; free/children under 2, UNF students, and members. Sundays are free for families.
Museum of Science & History (Downtown), open Monday-Thursday from 10 am-5 pm, Friday from 10 am-8 pm, Saturday from 10 am-6 pm and Sunday from noon-5 pm. Admission: $10/adults; $8/children ages 3-12, seniors, and military. Admission is $5 for all ages on Fridays.
Pirate & Treasure Museum (St. Augustine), open daily from 9 am-8 pm. Admission: $12.99/adults, $11.99/seniors, $9.25/military-adult, $6.99/children ages 5-12, $5.50/military-child.
Potter’s Wax Museum (St. Augustine), open Sunday-Thursday from 10 am-5 pm, Friday and Saturday from 10 am-8 pm. Admission: $10/adults, $9/seniors, $7/children ages 6-12, free/children 5 and under.
Ritz Theatre & Museum (Downtown), open Tuesday-Friday from 10 am-5 pm, Saturday from 10 am-2 pm and Sunday by appointment only. Admission: $8/adults, $5/children ages 4-17 and seniors, free/children 3 and under.

Make Something
Children can try their hands at carpentry during workshops hosted by home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s. Home Depot offers their Kids Workshops on the first Saturday of the month from 9 am to noon. To check out the project of the month, visit Lowe’s hosts their Build and Grow clinics every other Saturday at 10 am. You can register at
MOCA Jacksonville hosts ArtFusion on most Sunday afternoons as part of their Family Free Days. The program offers hands-on projects for children to explore with their parents. ArtFusion takes place from noon to 4 pm. Visit for more details.

Kids can flex their creative muscles at the Cummer’s weekly Drop-In Art classes. Each Tuesday, children ages 4 to 10 can explore the museum and experiment with a different art process. Classes are from 5-6 pm and fill quickly, so arrive early! The cost is just $5. Visit for more info.

Michaels craft stores offer kids’ classes through their program The Knack. Prices, projects and dates vary from store to store. Visit for events happening at a store near you.
You may also consider pottery painting at one of the many studios on the First Coast. Locations like Planet Pottery, Doing Dishes and Arts Ignited offer kids a chance to let their imaginations run wild and walk away with a beautiful, functional piece of art. Prices vary depending upon which piece of bisque you choose (pottery can range from $8 to $80). Some studios do charge a studio fee, so call ahead to get a good idea of what you’ll be paying.

Yes You Canvas! offers all-ages children’s art classes on Saturday mornings at 11 am. The hour-long sessions cost $20 plus tax and include an 11-by-14-inch artist’s canvas and all supplies. Check out for the scoop.
Kids get a chance to make a meal during cooking classes at Publix Apron’s Cooking School. Each month during one of their kid-friendly classes, youngsters learn how to whip up a delectable meal. The cost for these classes can range from $35 to $70 depending upon the session. For more information, visit….

Get Moving
Taking a family stroll along one of our famed Riverwalks is a great way to get the blood pumping and see our fair city in a whole new way. The Southbank Riverwalk is a 1 ¼-mile trek that offers beautiful views of Jacksonville’s skyline and access to MOSH, Friendship Fountain and great restaurants. The Northbank Riverwalk extends from Berkman Plaza to I-95 in Riverside and features locations like the Landing and RAM (on Saturday mornings), in addition to numerous art installations like the Tillie K. Fowler Memorial and the Jacksonville Fire Memorial.
For your little skater dudes, the First Coast has several free skateparks you can patronize this summer. Ed Austin in East Arlington, Cuba Hunter on Emerson, Russell Park in Atlantic Beach, Dolphin Cove in Ponte Vedra and Robert-Laryn in St. Augustine are all great options. Younger skaters may want to head to the Orange Park Skatepark, which requires helmets and is supervised to ensure the safety of all participants. Check out the Skate Park Guide at for the scoop on all of the skate spots in and around the Jax area.

Kids of all ages get a kick out of strapping on skates and zipping around the rink. Roller skating, mini golf, a soft play area and more can be found at Skate Station in Mandarin and Orange Park. Pricing is $8.50 for one attraction, $12.50 for two and $16.50 for unlimited. Check out for details on each of the location’s offerings.
If your kids would rather do something cooler, Jacksonville Ice & Sportsplex is home to the First Coast’s only year-round ice rink. There are public skate times seven days a week, with admission ranging from $9-$10. For a complete look at times and other events, visit
Keep kids from bouncing off the walls at your house by taking a trip to indoor playgrounds full of inflatables like Pump It Up and Jump! Zone. These facilities are packed with bounce houses, slides and obstacle courses that are a blast for children of all ages. Pump It Up, near the intracoastal, offers family jump time throughout the month for $8/children ages 2 and up, $4/children 2 and under. Check out for exact dates and times. Over in Orange park, Jump! Zone has open play for kids ages 1-12 each day for $9 per person. Visit for details.
If your kid wants to skate at a historic landmark, a trip to Kona is in order. The Arlington institution has been featured in countless magazines, books and videos since it opened in 1977 and was one of the levels in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 video game. Admission is $10, and board, pad and helmet rentals are available. Check out for daily specials, membership info and more.

Your family can get their “om” on at one of Down Diggity Dog Yoga’s workshops or family nights. The first Friday of summer months at DDDY is a PJ Yoga Party, where kids can enjoy yoga games, art and stories while their parents get a night out. Admission is $35 for the first child, $15 for siblings. On the second Friday of the month, DDDY will have family night, where parents and their kids can stretch their blues away for $30. Beginning July 29, Down Diggity will have four Back to School Workshops on Sunday afternoons to help kids and their parents start the school year right. The cost for each workshop is $35 or you can attend them all for $120. Learn more about DDDY’s different offerings at their Facebook page:

Get Wet
Jacksonville is home to 21 miles of wonderful beaches perfect for sunbathing, swimming and shell hunting. There are also a few seaside parks and playgrounds to explore. Just be sure to slather on the sunscreen!
A visit to the splash park at the St. Augustine Pier Park is the perfect way to cool off after a stroll through the Oldest City. The playground and sandbox are a big draw, but kids can’t get enough of the park’s water feature, which consists of a few simple jets of water springing from a concrete base. A farmers market is hosted in the pier’s parking lot on Wednesdays, making it an ideal day to visit the park and do a little shopping at the same time.

In addition to our fabulous beaches, we also have 33 public pools including Cecil Aquatic Center, an indoor facility open year round. The outdoor pools are open seven days a week from June 14 to August 13 and weekends only from August 17 to September 6. For hours of operation, pool locations and admission costs, head over to
Green Cove Springs is named as such for a reason: Spring Park, which is located right on the St. Johns River, has big oak trees, a fun playground for the kids and a municipal swimming pool fed by a natural spring. The water surges up from below at a rate that has at times exceeded 3,000 gallons per minute and is a constant 78 degrees. The pool is open seven days a week from June 7 to August 12 and on weekends from August 18 to Labor Day. Entrance fees are just $1 for children ages 2-17 and $2 for adults. For a complete look at all Spring Park has to offer, visit

Adventure Landing in Jax Beach is home to Shipwreck Island, a summer hot spot that’s been giving families a place to get wet since 1995. The park features over a dozen different slides and thrill rides. Admission is $27.99 plus tax for guests 42 inches and taller, $22.99 plus tax for guests under 42 inches tall, and free for kids ages 3 and under. There are numerous opportunities for discounted admission on their website,
Add some adventure to your days this summer! Adventure Landing has three locations on the First Coast, and a visit to any of them would make for a fun-filled afternoon for kids of all ages.

Adventure Landing – St. Augustine
The St. Augustine location (, 827-9400) was once known as the Family Fun Factory, but was purchased by Adventure Landing in 2008. Situated right next to the Outlet Mall, the site is home to a huge arcade, batting cages, Adventure Speedway Go-Carts and an 18-hole mini golf course. The St. Augustine location has daily specials, including “Fellowship Sunday,” where you can get one activity, 10 tokens, a slice of pizza and soda for just $10. Every week they also have Friday Family Fun Night, which allows a family of four to receive unlimited mini-golf, four sodas, a large pepperoni pizza and 100 game tokens for just $21.99.

Upcoming Events
July 4 Military Appreciation Day All active and retired military receive a free three-attraction Quest Pass and all military families receive $5 off each Quest Pass.
July 6 Spider-Man Appearance Enjoy a free meet & great from 4 pm to 8 pm.

Adventure Landing – Jacksonville
Jacksonville’s Adventure Landing location (, 771-2804) is on Blanding Boulevard, seven miles north of Orange Park. It’s home to four attractions: an arcade, two 18-hole mini-golf courses, the Adventure Speedway go-kart track and Pirate’s Quest Laser Tag. Daily specials include “Speedway Sunday,” where go-kart fans can enjoy discounted track time from 10 am to 1 pm, and the location’s own version of Friday Family Fun Night, which includes unlimited mini-golf, unlimited laser tag and a large pepperoni pizza for $24.99.

Upcoming Events
July 4 Military Appreciation Day All active and retired military receive a free three-attraction Quest Pass and all military families receive $5 off each Quest Pass.
July 7 Spider-Man Appearance Enjoy a free meet & great from 3 pm to 6 pm.

Adventure Landing – Jacksonville Beach
The Jacksonville Beach location (, 246-4386) is a summer favorite. The largest of the Adventure Landing parks in our area, the site offers two mini-golf courses, the Teddy Bear Factory, the Area 51 Laser Tag arena, batting cages, the Wacky Worm family roller coaster, an arcade, the Adventure Speedway go-kart track, the Frog Hopper, the MaxFlight Coaster Simulator and, the big draw when temperatures soar, the Shipwreck Island Waterpark. With its numerous water slides, thrill rides and kid’s zones, Shipwreck Island is 4.5 acres of splish-splashing fun for the whole family. Daily specials include “Teddy Bear Thursdays,” which allows kids to make their own fluffy friend at the Teddy Bear Factory for $9.99 and Weekend Swim Nights, which gives unlimited access to Shipwreck Island every Friday and Saturday night from 7:30 pm to 11 pm for just 14.99.

Upcoming Events
July 4 Military Appreciation Day All active and retired military receive a free three-attraction Quest Pass and all military families receive $5 off each Quest Pass.
July 7 Spider-Man Appearance Enjoy a free meet & great from 10 am to noon.
July 28 Pirates Plunge Guests can enjoy music, prizes, giveaways, a scavenger hunt and can plunge for tokens in the wave pool. Photo opps, a Buccaneer lunch and loot bags are all included in the price of admission.
Each of the three Adventure Landing locations have daily specials, promotions and coupons on their websites. They also have Facebook pages, where they regularly give their fans access to special offers not found anywhere else.

catch a wave
Free Surf Events for Children
The Florida Surfing Association will host two free surf events for children this summer in Jacksonville Beach. Registration is under way at for the 4th annual Super Grom Surf Fest to be held July 14 and August 11 on the south side of the Jacksonville Beach Pier.
FSA Director Paul West says the event was created to help expose young children to the sport of surfing. Each child is partnered with a professional surfer who provides instruction in the water. Kids are divided into “heats” and take to the waves on a custom soft board designed for beginners. “The point is to introduce the sport for the first time to those who may be low on funds and can’t afford a surf camp or they’re not sure little Johnny will stick with it or even like it. They may not be that comfortable taking their kid out there or know what waves they should ride or what kind of board to use,” he says. “We go out there with the right equipment and experienced instructors who are there to make sure that they have a good first experience.”
The average age of the participants is five to six years old, and approximately 65 percent of them are girls. With the help of the volunteers, children learn the basic principles of surfing as well as self-esteem and self-confidence. Every child also receives a T-shirt and a medal, and refreshments are provided by local businesses.
“We are so fortunate to have this beautiful resource, this gorgeous amenity here in Jacksonville with the Beaches. We are very lucky, and a lot of us take it for granted. A lot of areas don’t have the access to the beach that we have here where you can go surfing or fishing any time,” West says. “For kids to get outside and get away from those video games, out of the house and doing some physical activity outdoors in the sunshine is good stuff.”
Nearly 150 kids ages 10 and under participated in this year’s first event held June 16, despite heavy winds and rough seas. “Even though it was big and windy, they took these kids out only 20 or 30 feet off the beach and got them into the white water, and these kids had the time of their lives and caught all kinds of waves,” West says. “They had big, huge smiles. I was blown away. There must have been 30 kids by the end of the day that came up and wanted to shake my hand and say thank you. That really meant a lot.”
West says the registration is now limited to one event per child to minimize the impact on other summer camp programs that operate at the Beaches. In past years, many parents signed their kids up for all three events. “The purpose was to have something free. It didn’t cost anything; the parents have to be with the child,” he says.
FSA has also partnered with the Beaches Hospitality Network to help ensure that the cost of T-shirts, medals and other materials would be covered, allowing West to focus on his surf outreach programs including the Wounded Warrior project the last two years and the Special Olympics for three years. “I’m a firm believer in businesses helping each other, especially in these rough economic times. The Beaches Hospitality Network allows us to go out and do what we do well and lets them network among local businesses,” West says. “The surf community that we have here are absolutely amazing people. They have such great hearts and they give so much. The community really loves this event. There’s nothing like it.”

Enjoy the Journey
Sometimes it’s not about where you’re going, it’s about how you get there. Check out these cool, kid-approved modes of transportation.
Gliding above the St. Johns River and city streets, the JTA Skyway is a pretty nifty way to travel from the Southbank to Downtown. The train ride runs for 2.5 miles through Downtown and San Marco and stops at eight stations. It’s currently free to ride the Skyway. Refer to for station locations and hours of operation.

The St. Johns River Ferry has taken vehicles and pedestrians from the historic village of Mayport to Fort George Island and back again all day long for over 60 years. Because the future of the ferry’s operations is still in question, this summer could prove to be one of the last for the old girl. Fares are $1/pedestrians and bicycles, $3/motorcycles, $5/two-axle vehicles with $1 for each additional axle. Visit for the boat’s schedule and more info on its history.
The Jacksonville Water Taxi is another great way to get from one side of the St. Johns to the other. With five stops along the South- and Northbanks, the boat provides passengers with terrific views of Downtown Jacksonville. One-way fares are $3/adults and $2/children over 3 and seniors. Head over to for hours, stops and more.

Have an Animal Adventure
Grab some bread and head over to one of our area’s duck ponds for relaxing afternoon with every child’s favorite feathered friends. Colonial Manor Lake Park in San Marco is a great spot to feed the fowl, and Riverside Park in 5 Points is just ducky now that last summer’s dredging is over.

The Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary rescues big cats from dangerous situations and gives them a place to stay until the organization finds them a suitable forever home. To raise awareness in our community, the Catty Shack offers daytime tours ($10/adults, $5/kids 3-11, free/ages 2 and under) of the facility and special strolls through the grounds during night feedings ($15/adults, $10/kids 3-11, free/ages 2 and under). These tours are the primary way the ranch raises funds for the care and feeding of their residents. For more information and a list of upcoming tours, visit
The Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens is home to more than 2,000 animals and 1,000 varieties of plants. It’s also the site of one of the best kids’ zones in town—4,000 square feet of soaking wet fun known as the Splash Ground. General admission is $14.95/adults, $12.95/seniors, $9.95/children ages 3-12, and free/children 2 and under. Find out more at

Guests of the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine will get a whole new appreciation for the toothy creatures after one visit. Impressive exhibits featuring albino alligators, crocodiles, komodo dragons, red-ruffed lemurs, exotic birds and more can be found behind this unique zoo’s gates, along with wildlife shows, educational exhibits and even a zip line and challenge course. Admission to the Alligator Farm is $21.95 for adults, $10.95 for children ages 3 to 11. Tickets for the zip line attraction range in price from $25 to $65. For complete details, visit

New at the Zoo
Our world-class zoo boasts more than 2000 animals, 1000 plant species and a growing number of special attractions. Here’s a look at what you can see and do this summer.

Stingray Bay
Get up close and personal with the strangely beautiful, often misunderstood stingray. These graceful creatures are both docile and curious, allowing visitors to touch them as they glide around the pool at Stingray Bay, the Jacksonville Zoo’s amazing summertime exhibit. Admission to this special attraction is $2 for non-members, $1 for members. Take your encounter to the next level by purchasing food for the stingrays for just $1 (when available).

Butterfly Hollow
Hundreds of colorful butterflies make their home at Butterfly Hollow, a beautiful, flora-filled new exhibit. The hollow is decorated with fanciful little houses (for fairies, of course), amazing garden art, water features and a visual representation of the lifecycle of the butterfly. The whimsical new attraction is not without an educational factor: butterfly pupae are on display and animal ambassadors are on hand to answer questions. Admission to Butterfly Hollow is $2 for non-members, $1.50 for members.
Happy Feet 4-D Experience
The Zoo’s amazing new 4-D ride theatre should be on every visitor’s to-do list. This summer you can strap in and enjoy a hilarious penguin adventure with Mumbles from Happy Feet. The thrill ride takes you down frozen cliffs, under icy seas and puts you face to face with a fearsome leopard seal. The ride is $4 for non-members and $3 for members. You must be 42” tall to ride.
Zoo Tots Education Program
Preschoolers get to learn all about animals through stories, crafts and interaction with one of the zoo’s animal ambassadors. Class size is limited to 12 children and pre-registration is required. Topics include “F is for…” (July 10 or 12), “It’s a Triangular World” (July 17 or 19), “G is for…” (July 24 or 26), “Long, Longer, Longest” July 31 or August 2), “H is for…” (August 7 or 9) and “Tall, Taller, Tallest” (August 14 or 16). The cost is $7 for members and $7.50 for non-members.
Don’t forget to take advantage of the Jacksonville Zoo’s 92 at the Zoo summer promotion: when the temperature is predicted to be 92 degrees or higher, admission is half-off with a coupon from the Zoo’s official site.
Upcoming Zoo Events
July 4 4th of July Special Admission Offer Buy one, get one free admission with coupon from
July 9 Story Safari: Snappy Little Jungle Little animal lovers will hear an animal-themed book and hear more about the real-life critter through interaction with one of the zoo’s animal ambassadors. $3/members, $3.50/non-members.
July 14 Save the Rhinos Learn all about rhino conservation at this third annual event. There will be information booths, animal encounters, prize drawings and more.
July 21 Winter in July The Great lawn will be covered in SNOW for this very special event featuring sledding, music, games, prize drawings and more.
July 23 Story Safari: Philly Joe Giraffe’s Jungle Jazz Little animal lovers will hear an animal-themed book and hear more about the real-life critter through interaction with one of the zoo’s animal ambassadors. $3/members, $3.50/non-members.
August 18 Jazoo’s Birthday and Back to School Summer Bash Beloved zoo mascot Jazoo celebrates his birthday and the upcoming school year with yummy treats, games, music, prize drawings and more. Receive $2 off regular admission with a coupon from
Catch a Flick
Several of our local library branches host free movie nights during the summer months. Some of these events are geared specifically for teens, while others are for kids of all ages. Visit for a look at the movies screening at a branch near you.

Regal Cinemas’ Summer Movie Express is a nine-week festival of G- and PG-rated movies on select weekday mornings. Admission is just $1, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Will Rogers Institute. Check out… for more details. The schedule for Jacksonville locations is as follows:

Avenues Stadium 20

July 3-5 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore and Hugo

July 10-12 Adventures of Tin Tin and Puss in Boots

July 17-19 Kung Fu Panda 2 and Rango

July 24-26 Rio and Spy Kids: All the Time in the World

July 31-August 2 Chimpanzee and Hoodwinked Too

August 7-9 Arthur Christmas and Smurfs

Beach Boulevard Stadium 18

July 3-4 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore and Hugo

July 10-11 Adventures of Tin Tin and Puss in Boots

July 17-18 Kung Fu Panda 2 and Rango

July 24-25 Rio and Spy Kids: All the Time in the World

July 31-August 1 Chimpanzee and Hoodwinked Too

August 7-8 Arthur Christmas and Smurfs

Movie fans on Fleming Island can enjoy the 2012 Summer Kid Series at the Carmike 12. A family-friendly film will be shown every Thursday morning for 10 weeks. Tickets are just $2, which includes admission, popcorn and a drink. For complete details, head over to Here’s this year’s lineup:

July 5 Shark Tale

July 12 How to Train Your Dragon

July 19 Madagascar 2

July 26 Bee Movie

August 2 Monsters vs. Aliens

August 9 Megamind

Cinemark Tinseltown’s Summer Movie Clubhouse features kids’ flicks for just $1 per show at the door or 10 shows for $5 if purchased in advance. Head over to… to buy your passes today. The schedule is as follows:

July 3 Despicable Me

July 10 Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2

July 17 Dolphin Tale

July 24 Puss in Boots

July 31 Winnie the Pooh

August 7 Yogi Bear

AMC Regency 24 is now offering Sensory-Friendly Films for families affected by autism spectrum disorders. The auditoriums dedicated to the program have their lights up, the sound turned down and audience members are invited to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing. All showings are at 10 am and are $5 a ticket. Visit… for more details on this unique program. This summer’s offerings are:

July 21 Ice Age: Continental Drift

August 11 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days


The Summer Kids Program at Sun-Ray Cinema in 5 Points has a particularly awesome lineup. Each film will be played at 10 am on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Tickets are $5.50 for kids and $6.50 for adults and can be purchased at

July 4 & 7 The Neverending Story

July 11 & 14 Fantastic Mr. Fox

July 18 & 21 How to Train Your Dragon

July 25 & 23 Wallace and Gromit- Curse of the Wererabbit

The Florida Theatre is once again hosting their Summer Movie Classics series on Sundays. Parents wanting to expose their progeny to old-school cinema should plan on attending these screenings. Tickets are $7.50 for single admission, $45 for a movie card of 10 admissions. Visit to buy passes and for more info. This year’s schedule is as follows:

July 1 Guys & Dolls

July 8 To Kill a Mockingbird

July 22 Mutiny on the Bounty

July 29 The Philadelphia Story

August 5 From Here to Eternity

August 19 Carousel

More Free Stuff

The Jacksonville Library is a great resource for parents during the summer months. With kid-focused events happening every day at nearly every branch, the library is the perfect go-to option for those itching to get out of the house. Go to to see what’s happening at a branch near you.

Who doesn’t love the Riverside Arts Market? With cool vendors, delectable eats and unique entertainment, RAM delivers non-stop fun each and every Saturday. Check out for more info.

Monthly Art Walks in Downtown Jacksonville (the first Wednesday of the month), St. Augustine (first Friday of the month), 5 Points (also the first Friday) and in Atlantic Beach (third Thursday) are a great opportunity to treat children to a little bit of culture and a whole lot of fun.