The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens#10 in Best Things To Do in Jacksonville
The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens makes an excellent addition to the historic Riverside neighborhood, sitting just southwest of downtown Jacksonville. Established in 1958, this beautiful art museum has made a mission out of art education and community enhancement. In addition to housing impressive exhibits, the museum offers seminars and lecture series while working with Duval County Schools on additional programs for kids. But back to the art: This institution houses more than 5,000 works from various artists, including Mildred Thompson and Norman Rockwell. And while you're here, make some time for a stroll through the gardens, which feature fountains, reflecting pools and a canopy created by towering old oak trees.
Past visitors were blown away not only by the art housed here, but also by the beauty of the facility. If you can, visit at different times throughout the year to see the gardens decked out with different lighting and flora for transitioning seasons.
The Cummer Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. On Tuesdays, the facility opens its doors from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with free entry between 4 p.m. and closing; Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, the Cummer welcomes visitors from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; on Fridays it's open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Sundays, the museum is open from noon to 4 p.m. Admission costs $10 for adults, $6 for seniors and college students; children ages 5 and younger can enter for free. To learn more, visit The Cummer Museum's 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 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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