Category Archives: Free

Check Out Our Public Transportation – Part 1, The Skyway

The JTA Skyway has been one of the biggest points of contention in Jacksonville.  First opened in 1989, with a final extension in 2000, it has won awards for its design and is regarded as state-of-the-art.  Critics refer to it as the “$200 million ride to nowhere”.

The 2.5 mile elevated monorail is one of the nation’s 3 downtown fully automated people moving systems; the other 2 systems are in Miami and Detroit.  Terminals are located at Kings Avenue on the Southside,  the Convention Center on the West, and Florida State College of Jacksonville to the North.  Each train can have 2 – 6 cars and travels up to 35 miles per hour.

Have you ever ridden the Skyway?  It is now FREE!  Just park your car near a station, hop on and ride!

My conclusion after a first trip:  If there were ever a commuter transit system to Union Station, then the Skyway Express could serve as a link for people traveling downtown.  For today, it was a pleasant ride to nowhere with an opportunity to see Hemming Park from above.

Visit the Olde Mandarin Corner Market

Olde Mandarin Store & Post Office

Open on alternating Sundays from noon until 4:00 pm, the Olde Mandarin Corner Market is located on the grounds of the Mandarin Community Club at 12447 Mandarin Road (corner of Mandarin Rd and Brady Rd).  There, you will find free admission and parking, local artisans, the Book Exchange, great food, and fresh produce.

While you are strolling the grounds, just as Harriet Beecher Stowe and other residents of yesteryear, be sure to visit the Old Mandarin Store  and Post Office.  The original proprietor was Walter Jones, and the store and post office were the hub of village social life from 1911 until it closed in 1964.

There are 3 more dates to enjoy this free Mandarin event before it closes for the summer: May 20th, June 3rd, and June 17th.  For more information, visit their website at Olde Mandarin Corner Market.

See you there!

Shop at the Riverside Arts Market

Situated under the canopy of the Fuller Warren Bridge is Jacksonville’s premier arts market.  You can find anything here – handmade soaps, farm fresh organic produce, exotic plants, street performers, great food, and more!

Best of all, admission is free, with plenty of parking within walking distance.  A great way to enjoy a beautiful Jacksonville Saturday!

The Riverside Arts Market is open every Saturday March to December from 10:00am to 4:00pm.  For more information and to see who will be performing this Saturday, visit their website at

Take a Sally Tour in Jacksonville

Remember the dark rides and haunted houses at the county fair?  Well, did you know that many of those rides are made right here in Jacksonville, Florida?  Since 1977, Sally Corporation’s dark rides, haunted house, musical shows, and life-like human and animal animatronics have delighted guests at parks and attractions all around the world.
The main production facility employs about 40 artists, designers, technicians and managers.  Everything is under one roof.  Sally customers are located from Orlando, Florida, to Bangkok, Thailand.
Public tours are offered each Tuesday and Thursday, except July and August, to both groups and individuals.  Tours are free, but a reservation is required, and there is a minimum age of 7.  I attended a tour with a class of elementary students, who were enthralled throughout the tour.

What a fun place to work! I enthusiastically recommend this tour for all ages.
Sally Corporation is the colorful building located at 74 W. Forsyth Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32204 (near the Convention Center).  You may call them at 904.355.7100 or visit their website at for more information.