Family

boating to the Zoo

The Trout River flows past the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens just before joining the  on its way to the . Being located on the river’s edge provides unique opportunities for educational river experiences not found at most zoos. Visitors can arrive via water and enjoy exhibits, educational displays, and events along the river; soon the zoo will feature a manatee rescue center. Here are some more of the great things about having a riverfront zoo.Paddle to the Zoo  Did you know that you can access the Jacksonville Zoo from the water? Arrive in style to the Jacksonville Zoo via the …

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100 Years at the Zoo

The  celebrates their 100th anniversary this year. They’ve come a long way since their small beginnings. When the Jacksonville Zoo opened, it was in the midst of Springfield, and it was a very different zoo than the one we know today. We spoke with , The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Biological Programs Registrar and unofficial Jacksonville Zoo historian about the progress our Zoo has made over the last 100 years. “When the zoo first opened, the vast majority of the animals were domesticated animals,” says Rost. The exotic species that they did have were mostly donated to the zoo from …

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Garden Walks at the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

You may have heard that the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. What you may not know is that the “and Gardens” part of the Jacksonville Zoo’s name was added in 2004. This represents a mini-milestone for Jacksonville’s own botanical gardens – a 10th birthday within the grander centennial celebration. In recent years I have gone on quite a few Saturday Garden Walks at the zoo. These botanical adventures are led by knowledgeable horticulture department employees who talk about plants and other points of interest based on the theme of that day’s walk. Some of …

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its all happening at the Zoo

Lucy tentatively taps the water’s surface, seemingly mesmerized by the far reaching ripples. Before she can contemplate the movement in her own reflection, Lucy’s attention is drawn away like any other three year old by a large, round ball floating by with the tattered remnants of birthday wrapping paper still clinging to the wet plastic. She gives it a playful nudge before wandering off in search of new adventures, indifferent to the watchful eyes surrounding her. Typical childish behavior, for sure, but Lucy is not your average toddler. She is a Sumatran tiger and is one of five new arrivals …

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Jacksonville Jazz Festival – Sweet Sounds & Smooth Moves

John Coltrane once said that you’ve got to look back at the old things and see them in a new light. The  has a long and storied past from its humble beginnings in the  fishing village to a sprawling, three-day celebration of the many genres of jazz that are important elements to our nation’s musical history. After more 30 years, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival is hitting all the right notes. From May 22nd-25th, the heart of downtown Jacksonville will be transformed into a vibrant festival setting as local, regional, and national jazz artists gather on multiple stages to showcase their …

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Florida Folk Festival

The American Folk singer conjures up images of some long-haired, bearded dude wearing homemade clothing and closing his eyes as he plucks away at his banjo and passionately sings about peace and love at a hemp rally. The reason for this stereotype is simple: it’s basically true. Folk music, on the other hand, has so many different definitions, fusions, and permutations that it’s hardly worth trying to define. It can be heard everywhere from classic Dylan albums to present day Geico commercials, and you’ve probably even overheard a few what is and isn’t folk debates within your own particular music …

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Downtown On The Rise

If our homes and workplaces are our first two social environments, a third place is anywhere else we go to socialize. Coined by urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg, third places are everyday gathering places that are the anchors of community life. They are easily accessible – often walkable, are welcoming and comfortable with a set of “regulars,” and usually include food or drinks as a key part of the experience. These are the places where we go to make our own entertainment. Great Downtowns have great third places. Urban living means trading in backyards for a variety of walkable hangouts. From …

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Downtown, In Focus

In the immortal words of former Jacksonville Mayor , “As your Downtown goes, so goes your city.” So then, how are things Downtown going today? The number of Downtown residents is the highest it’s been in decades, and residential properties are more than 90% occupied. Downtown office vacancy rates continue to drop each year. Crime in Downtown accounts for only 2% of serious crime in the entire City of Jacksonville. And, Downtown has more parking than , not including . Downtown champions are hard at work. The  has created a Spark Grant program for Downtown revitalization through the arts. , …

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One Spark Creator – GASTROFEST 2015

Have you heard about  2015? It’s a  project with the hefty aspiration of creating a food and beer festival that will bring national attention and (over)due respect to our evolving food and craft beer scene.  (EU Jacksonville’s Food Editor) is the creative mastermind behind this project. While still early in its genesis, the mission is to create a very inclusive festival that celebrates our local talent, from fine dining to farmers, and everything in between. For the inaugural year, the festival will be a single day event, but will eventually grow into a multi-day experience. The core of the festival …

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George’s Music Springing The Blues

Ready for a weekend of sun, sun and great music? All for free! The  is April 4-6 at the . In 1990,  and a handful of friends held the first Springing the Blues Festival in a small pergola near the old Jacksonville Beach Flag Pavilion. The event featured six acts and lasted one day. Twenty-four years later, Springing the Blues Festival is one of the most highly anticipated music events in Florida. Held at the beautiful Seawalk Pavilion, today Springing the Blues features three days of performances by national, regional and local blues artists and attracts more than 150,000 fans …

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