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Elephant at the Jacksonville Zoo picture in Jacksonville
Kara Jade Quan-Montgomery / Shutterstock

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  • Zoos and Aquariums Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.3
Overall
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  • Value
    3.5
  • Facilities
    4.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

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Sitting on the edge of the Trout River, about 7 miles north of downtown Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is a must if you're visiting the city with kids. This facility is the only walking safari in northeast Florida; you are invited to wander the grounds, where you'll find opportunities to get up close and personal with animals like giraffes, great apes, big cats and elephants. The sprawling grounds also house Stingray Bay (where you can try your hand at feeding stingrays) and the ever-popular Play Park and Splash Ground (where you can cool off after a day in the Florida heat).

While you're here, take a spin on the Zoo Train — recent visitors say that kids are bound to love it. "The train gives a great behind the scenes view of some of the facilities and the new Asian Bamboo Garden is breathtaking," according to one TripAdvisor user.

The Jacksonville Zoo is open every day (except for Christmas day) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission costs $16 for adults and $11 for children, although children ages 2 and younger can enter for free. If you'd like to take advantage of all the zoo's facilities, you can purchase a value ticket ($24 for adults and $17 for children) that covers the cost of Stingray Bay, unlimited train rides, movies at the  4-D theater and more. To learn more about the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, check out the official website.

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#1 Amelia Island About 30 miles northeast of downtown Jacksonville, the relaxed community of Amelia Island draws families in droves with its 13 miles of beaches, historic attractions and relaxed atmosphere. While here ... Read more » Brit Reints / Flickr

#2 Atlantic Beach Jacksonville isn't located right on the beach, but it won't take you long to get to the coast. Head 16 miles due east along Route 10 and you ... Read more » Courtesy Visit Jacksonville

#3 Ponte Vedra Beach The southernmost of the Jacksonville Beaches, Ponte Vedra Beach draws leisure travelers in search of sprawling sands and, of course, golf. This fairly small community on the Atlantic coast (about ... Read more » photogolfer / Shutterstock

#4 Riverside Arts Market Every Saturday in downtown Jacksonville (about a block from The Cummer Museum), hundreds of craftspeople and vendors gather at the Riverside Arts Market. Adorning the different booths, you'll notice ... Read more » Dr. Wayne Wood / Visit Jacksonville

#5 Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary Lions and tigers and … well, there are no bears, but you'll certainly find lions and tigers at the Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary, as well as leopards, cougars and ... Read more » Jearu / Shutterstock

#6 The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens makes an excellent addition to the historic Brooklyn neighborhood, sitting just southwest of downtown Jacksonville. Established in 1958, this beautiful art museum has ... Read more » Courtesy Visit Jacksonville

#7 Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Sitting on the edge of the Trout River, about 7 miles north of downtown Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is a must if you're visiting the city with ... Read more » Kara Jade Quan-Montgomery / Shutterstock

#8 Little Talbot Island State Park If you've come to northwest Florida to take advantage of the warm weather and Atlantic coast, consider a visit to Little Talbot Island State Park. Catching the ocean waves ... Read more » Sabart / Flickr

#9 Kingsley Plantation Set in Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve — one of the last bits of unspoiled wetlands along the Atlantic Coast — Kingsley Plantation is the former home of Zephaniah Kingsley. His story ... Read more » Rob Bixby / Flickr

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#11 Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville Art aficionados won't want to miss the chance to visit MOCA, the Museum of Contemporary Art, in downtown Jacksonville. This facility showcases nearly 1,000 individual works from artists ... Read more » Courtesy Visit Jacksonville

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