15 Fun Things to Do in Jacksonville with Kids — Family-Friendly Activities!

Jacksonville is one of Florida’s biggest cities, and it’s home to many great family attractions.

Whether you want to take the kiddos to see some sea creatures in the zoo or let them run around on the beaches, Jacksonville has plenty to offer.

Here are 15 fun things to do in Jacksonville with kids.

  1. Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is home to over 2,500 animals representing 250 species.

There are many exhibits, including the Gorilla Forest, the Jaguar Kingdom, the Reptile House, the Butterfly Garden, and the Wild Africa Trek exhibit.

The zoo offers educational programs for children, youth groups, adults, families, and school field trips.

Why Your Family Should Go

With over 2,000 animals who live here, you’re likely to find something amazing.

From monkeys to elephants, giraffes to hippos, you’ll be able to see plenty of exotic creatures up close.

What to Do with Kids

There are lots of activities for children, including animal encounters, live entertainment, crafts, storytelling, and much more.

Recommended Ages

The Jacksonville Zoo is perfect for everyone. From toddlers to teenagers, you can bring the whole family to the zoo.

  1. Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary

Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jacksonville, Florida, is home to exotic animals, including tigers, lions, leopards, bears, cougars, bobcats, jaguars, and servals.

This wildlife sanctuary provides care to wild animals that are injured or orphaned, and it also offers educational programs while educating children about animal conservation and wellness.

Why Your Family Should Go

If your family loves animals, Catty Shack Ranch offers up some of the most exotic animals encounters around.

From lions to tigers, there’s no shortage of animals here.

What to Do with Kids

Meet the residents at the zoo, and watch them eat their fill during feeding times.

You’ll also be able to see arctic foxes, coatimundis, and raccoons.

Recommended Ages

Catty Shack Ranch offers fun activities for children ages three and up.

  1. The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opened in 1961. Its mission is to collect, preserve and exhibit art and artifacts related to Florida history.

It holds over 6,000 pieces of artwork, including paintings, sculpture, photography, prints, drawings, and decorative arts.

Why Your Family Should Go

Go visit and explore the largest art gallery in this part of Florida at the Miami Art Center.

What to Do with Kids

After having enjoyed yourself at the museum, take advantage of the surrounding parkland.

Recommended Ages

Both children and adults enjoy visiting the museums and gardens at the palace.

  1. Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is a 180-hectare beach and park located just north of Jacksonville Beach in North Carolina.

The park covers approximately three miles of shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean.

Why Your Family Should Go

There are plenty of amenities to take advantage of, and you won’t regret it.

You can swim together, build sand castles, play games, ride rides, and much more.

Even better, you can utilize playground equipment during the day and head over to the beach at night to watch fireworks.

What to Do with Kids

You can take kids and teens for outdoor activities ranging from biking and walking on the trail to kayaking and surfing at the beach.

Recommended Ages

Hanna Park is a wonderful place for everyone in the entire community to enjoy.

Children will enjoy playing in the pool or hiking through the woods, while your older children will be able to participate in more strenuous activities.

  1. Atlantic Beach

Atlantic Beach is located along Florida’s east coast, just south of Jacksonville.

This beach town offers visitors plenty of things to do. It is home to several parks where you can enjoy the outdoors and take a dip in the ocean.

Why Your Family Should Go

Atlantic Beach is a great family vacation spot because there are plenty of activities for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach day, a fun water park, or a thrilling theme park, Atlantic Beach has something for everyone.

What to Do with Kids

If you’re looking for fun activities in Jacksonville, Atlantic Beach is a great option.

There are plenty of places where kids can play, including beaches, parks, playgrounds, museums, aquariums, and even zoos.

Plus, there are tons of family-oriented restaurants, bars, and shops around town.

If you want something different, check out the historic district. A lot of local businesses offer tours of the area, including the City Market Museum.

Recommended Ages

Little kids to teenagers will be able to have fun at this beach.

  1. Little Talbot Island State Park

Little Talbot State Park is located in Jacksonville, Florida.

This beautiful island offers families a chance to enjoy some great outdoor activities.

In fact, there are plenty of things to do here, including hiking, fishing, biking, swimming, picnicking, canoeing, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and much more.

Why Your Family Should Go

This is one of the few best spots to go for bird watching due to the wide variety of species.

For example, there are more than 300 different species of shorebirds found here, including terns, gulls, sandpipers, wading birds, ducks, geese, swans, and many more.

What to Do with Kids

Kids get an opportunity to explore nature.

Children can participate in the Hike and Seek Program, where they learn about different plants and animals while exploring the forest trails.

Recommended Ages

The state parks offer many activities for people of all ages.

  1. Big Talbot Island State Park

Big Talbot Island State Park offers visitors a chance to enjoy the island’s natural beauty, including hiking trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, and swimming beaches.

There are several different ways to reach the park, including boat rentals, ferry rides, and kayak tours.

Visitors can also take advantage of fishing opportunities, such as fishing off the pier, crabbing, or spearfishing.

Why Your Family Should Go

There are plenty of places to view the ocean from the beach itself. The best views are found off the coast.

From the water, your family can watch boats pass by, dolphins swim around, and birds fly overhead.

What to Do with Kids

Big Talbot Island offers plenty of activities for kids of all ages.

Whether it’s swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, or just relaxing, there’s something for everyone here.

Recommended Ages

Children, adults, and even older children will enjoy climbing on the bones of white oaks and black rocks.

  1. Kingsley Plantation

Kingsley Plantation was a plantation home located in Jacksonville, Florida.

It was constructed around 1894 and was originally named “Palmetto.”

It was later renamed “Kingsley Plantation,” and it became a part of the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.

Why Your Family Should Go

This historic site features exhibits, gardens, a gift shop, and even a restaurant where visitors can enjoy authentic Southern cuisine.

There are plenty of activities to keep everyone happy, including horseback riding, hayrides, fishing, hiking, and much more.

What to Do with Kids

You could spend half your time exploring the grounds with your kids while the other half is spent learning about slavery.

Or maybe you’d like to see how the slaves lived, so you head over to the kitchen house where you can learn about cooking.

Recommended Ages

It’s worth visiting Kingsley Plantation for its history and beauty.

You can decide whether to bring young kids, but children aged eight years and above are likely to handle the activities better.

  1. St. Johns Town Center

St. Johns Town Center is an outdoor shopping center located in Jacksonville, Florida.

Opened in March 2005, it features 167 stores and restaurants.

Why Your Family Should Go

There are plenty of restaurants and food courts, too. Plus, St. Johns Town Center offers free parking and easy access via bus lines.

What to Do with Kids

St. John’s Center offers something for everyone, from young children to teens who are just starting out.

Recommended Ages

The St. John’s Center offers something for every age group.

From exciting activities for kids to fun things for teens, there’s always something going on.

Whether you want to play games, dance, do crafts, or just hang out with friends, there’s plenty to keep you busy.

  1. Tree Hill Nature Center

Tree Hill Nature Center is a nonprofit organization that helps preserve the natural environment in Jacksonville.

It was established in 1971 and provided educational programs and activities for children, families, schools, and individuals.

Why Your Family Should Go

If you want to make sure your children enjoy their vacation while avoiding the typical tourist traps, Tree Hill Zoo & Aquarium might just be the place for you.

This zoo features a wide array of animals, including birds, reptiles, mammals, fish, amphibians, insects, and even arachnids.

They offer guided tours, animal encounters, feeding sessions, and much more.

What to Do with Kids

Tree Hill Zoo & Aquarium offers a variety of activities for children, including animal encounters, hands-on experiences, art classes, nature walks, and much more.

Recommended Ages

Children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old will enjoy exploring the park.

  1. Jacksonville Riverwalk

The Jacksonville Riverwalk is a one-and-a-half-mile-long paved waterfront walk along the Saint John’s River.

It features a variety of art installations, sculptures, fountains, and scenic views.

There are over 200 restaurants, shops, bars, and cafes located within walking distance of the Riverwalk. The Riverwalk is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Why Your Family Should Go

Jacksonville offers spectacular views of the city as it winds around the banks of the San Diego River.

You’ll find great restaurants, shops, cafes, bars, and even a children’s playground.

Plus, there are plenty of places to rest your feet, including benches, planters, and even a few tables.

What to Do with Kids

Plenty of options are available to play with kids.

You might consider taking a boat ride on the St. John’s River, where you can see beautiful scenery while enjoying the cool breeze off the water.

Or maybe you would like to take advantage of the many parks located throughout the city.

There are several places to enjoy nature walks, playgrounds, and even golf courses.

Recommended Ages

The Jacksonville Riverwalk is a great place for families.

There are plenty of activities for kids and adults alike.

You can enjoy the river views while walking around the park, or you can take advantage of the many restaurants and bars along the banks of the river.

  1. Beaches Museum & History Park

The Beaches Museum and History Park tell the story of Jacksonville Beach and how it became one of Florida’s most popular vacation destinations.

Visitors learn about the area’s rich natural resources, including saltwater marshes, mangrove forests, and barrier islands, and see how those resources shaped the development of the city.

Why Your Family Should Go

When you visit the Historical Buildings at History Park, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back to the past. You’ll also visit a historic church while you’re there.

What to Do with Kids

One thing the kids will probably enjoy most at this museum and amusement center is its old steam trains.

Get on board and take plenty of photos of your kids pretending to drive trains.

Recommended Ages

Kids will enjoy the more interactive parts of these museums and parks.

Older kids will enjoy the information more than younger ones.

  1. Timucuan Ecological & Nature Reserve

The Timucua people lived along Florida’s Atlantic coast for thousands of years.

They called the land “Timucua,” meaning “people of the river.” Today, it’s known as Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.

Why Your Family Should Go

Timucuan National Historical Park is located about 20 miles west of downtown Jacksonville, Florida.

It features over 40 historic sites, including Fort Matanzas, Fort San Marcos, the Spanish mission church, and the Old Village Museum.

Visitors can see how life was lived during the colonial period, learn about Native American culture, and explore the history of slavery in North America.

What to Do with Kids

Spend quality time bird-watching, camping, and enjoying water activities.

Recommended Ages

Older teenagers will enjoy exploring the parks’ many hiking and off-roading trails.

  1. MOSH! Museum of Science & History

Museum of Science and History opened in 1941, making it one of Florida’s oldest museums and the second-oldest operating museum in the state.

It is located at 1401 Riverside Avenue in downtown Jacksonville.

Why Your Family Should Go

From theme parks to waterparks, there’s plenty to do here.

And one of the best ways to explore the city is to take advantage of the many educational opportunities it offers.

One of those places is the Museum of Science & History (MOSH).

This museum is filled with dozens of interactive exhibits that allow visitors to learn about everything from dinosaurs to space travel.

What to Do with Kids

Kids under six years get to enjoy the Kidzone features with toddler-sized activities like a sand table and building blocks.

Toddlers can play and explore their space when entering the ultra-fun Kidspace.

Recommended Ages

The museum is geared towards kids ages six and up

Parents can enjoy some adult-only events such as movie screenings, live music performances, art workshops, and more.

  1. Fort Clinch State Park

Fort Clinch State Park is located just south of Fernandina Beach. This park features a fort built during the Civil War era. In 1864, Union soldiers under General William T.

Sherman invaded Florida and captured Fernandina Beach. However, the Union Army soon left the area.

Why Your Family Should Go

The museum features exhibits that highlight the region’s role in Florida history as well as the lives of local residents.

You can even take part in hands-on activities like making shell jewelry and creating pottery.

There are plenty of trails throughout the property where families can hike or bike around the grounds.

What to Do with Kids

You can take them hiking, canoeing, fishing, swimming, camping, etc., and each activity offers different benefits.

However, some activities are better suited for certain ages.

For example, younger children enjoy playing games like tag and hide and seek, while older ones might prefer hunting and fishing.

Recommended Ages

This state park offers a wide variety of activities and amenities for visitors of all ages.

Kids under 10 are welcome to play in the sand, explore the tide pools, ride bikes along the boardwalk, fish off the pier, and picnic at one of the pavilions.