Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville#14 in Best Things To Do in Jacksonville
Art aficionados won't want to miss the chance to visit MOCA, the Museum of Contemporary Art, in downtown Jacksonville. This facility – which is affiliated with the University of North Florida – showcases nearly 1,000 individual works in the mediums of painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, works on paper and new media. Its focus is on modern and contemporary art, with particular emphasis on works created from 1960 to the present.
For many museum lovers, it's MOCA's special events that are the main draw. The museum sponsors a variety of educational programs like guest lectures and youth activities. Recent visitors said the museum is small and you'll likely be able to see everything you want in less than 90 minutes. Travelers who visited with kids said the museum does a good job entertaining little ones with interactive programs as well.
MOCA is open to visitors Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (until 9 p.m. on Thursday) and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. And the first Wednesday of every month, MOCA hosts an Art Walk from 5 to 9 p.m., allowing visitors to explore temporary exhibitions after hours for free. General admission to the museum is $8 for adults and $5 for children, seniors and students. To learn more, visit the MOCA Jacksonville 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 laid-back atmosphere. In the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, Amelia Island also provided a safe vacation haven for Jacksonville's Black residents. Florida's first Black millionaire, Abraham Lincoln Lewis, purchased 200 acres of beachfront on Amelia Island and called it American Beach. Here, Black vacationers could enjoy the island without the threat of racial discrimination or violence. In 2002, the beach was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. To learn more about the beach's culture, stories and heritage, consider a visit to the American Beach Museum.
While on the island, you can also learn about pirate lore at the Amelia Island Museum of History, look for alligators and wild horses while on a waterway cruise, hike through Fort George Island Cultural State Park or simply lounge on the sand. Recent visitors particularly recommended laying your towel along the shores of Fernandina Beach, a small community that stretches along the northern part of the barrier island.
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