Category Archives: Things To Do

Public Transportation – Part 3, the Water Taxi

The Jacksonville Water Taxi offers a fun and scenic ride across the St Johns River, stopping at 5 points of interest along the North bank and South bank Riverwalk – Jacksonville Landing,  Friendship Park, the Crowne Plaza, the Wyndham and Municipal Marina.

Catch a Planetarium show at the MOSH Museum, then ride across the river for a smoothie at An Apple a Day in the Landing!

Cost: Adults – $3.00, Children and Seniors – $2:00  Info at jaxwatertaxi.com 

Join Fight for Air Climb Jacksonville

At 617 feet, 42 stories and 838 steps, the Bank of America Tower is the tallest skyscraper in downtown Jacksonville.  Now you can get in shape by climbing these stairs while helping the American Lung Society fight for healthy lungs and clean air.

The Fight for Air Climb will be February 2, 2013.  Registration is $25 and all climbers are asked to raise at least $100.  After registering, you will be allowed to practice at the Tower.  Practices are held most Tuesday & Thursday evenings (5:00-6:30) and Saturday mornings (9-10:30).

The climb is a professionally timed and ranked event for the serious, and a ton of fun for amateurs like myself.  There will be bands, free food and festivities.

I hope you’ll join me and register.  All the information is at FightforAirClimbJacksonville.org.

Take a FREE Cooking Class

Are dinners getting blah and boring?  Tired of cooking the same old things?

Attend a 1-hour Technique Class at Williams-Sonoma and you will enjoy a fun demonstration, sample great recipes, and leave with fresh, new ideas.   Last Sunday’s class,  Hearty & Healthy Vegetarian Dishes, was one of the best ever!  Culinary Specialist Evan Fowler prepared Butternut Squash Risotto, Spaghetti Squash, and Roasted Acorn Squash.  Everyone had a great time, and I left with 3 new favorite recipes, free handouts loaded with more ideas, and even a few purchases!  Coming back next  Sunday, October 18th for Fall Baking.

Evan Fowler prepares Butternut Squash Risotto at Williams-Sonoma in Jacksonville, Florida

If you go:  Cooking Technique classes are usually at 11:00 am on Sundays, and reservations are needed.  I attended at the Avenues Mall in Jacksonville, Florida.  Check with your local store for dates and information.

Public Transportation – Part 2, the Ferry

The St. Johns River Ferry is a daily ferry service  between Fort George Island and Mayport Village.  If you are driving along A1A, taking the ferry across the St. Johns River will save you 24 miles over driving across the Dames Point Bridge.

Did you know the ferry has been operating since 1874?  There are not too many ferries left in the USA, and we are fortunate to have one right here.  Taking the ferry is a great way to begin an outing to one of the Talbot Island State Parks or to the  town of Fernandina.

Not only are there awesome views, but if you are fortunate, you may have the opportunity to meet BJ, one of the ferry’s most popular employees.  After loading all the cars on board, BJ personally greats the passengers, posing for pictures and brightening everyone’s day with his joy and humor.  When the couple near me asked him to take their picture and then kissed, he exclaimed loudly: “Hey, wait a minute, this isn’t the love boat, you know”!  Then, as we approached Mayport, BJ ran to tie up the ferry and direct  cars off before loading a new group on.

If you go: The ferry operates approximately every half hour.  Fares at the time of this writing are $5 for cars, $3 for cyclists, and $1 for pedestrians.  More information at the St Johns River Ferry website.

 

Bike the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail

The Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail, extending 14.5 miles from Imeson Road in Jacksonville to the town of Baldwin,  was  created on an old CSX railroad bed.   There is a 12 ft wide multi-use asphalt trail for biking, hiking, and skating; and adjacent trails for off road bikes and horses.

Much of the trail is tree-shaded, and it is amazingly serene for being located so close to major highways.  You’ll see abundant wildlife as you pass through pine flatwoods and uplands, swamps and wetlands, farms and cornfields.  Several rest areas with benches are provided along the way.

The 29 mile round trip makes a great workout.  Afterwards, stop by Everybody’s Restaurant in Baldwin for some down home country cooking!

Here is a link to a map and more information about the rail trail.

Get Active at Jacksonville Ice & Sportsplex

Activities abound at Jacksonville Ice and Sportsflex.  What a happening place!  I arrived around 6:30 on a Saturday evening to a busy parking lot.

Inside, there was an indoor adult soccer game in progress, a ladies roller derby team warming up, a huge ice rink ready to open for teen night, and people of all ages everywhere!

The Sportsplex offers North Florida’s only indoor ice facility, roller skating,  indoor turf for soccer, lacrosse and football, multipurpose class facilities, a pro shop, and concession stand.  There’s youth and adult leagues, “learn to” classes, fencing, $5 family ice skating (Tuesdays), $7 matinee skating and more.  Bring the family, choose an activity and “Just Do It”.

Jacksonville Ice & Sports Complex is located in the Metro Square Office Complex at 3605 Phillips Highway, near Emerson and 95.  See a schedule of events at www.JaxIceandSportsflex.com.

Climb the Lighthouse Stairs in St. Augustine

The St. Augustine Lighthouse, located off A1A across the Bridge of Lions, is not only a lighthouse and museum, but a working archaeological site, full of history. 219 steps lead to the top of the lighthouse, where you are rewarded with a refreshing breeze and panoramic views of St. Augustine and the intercoastal waterway.

If you are training for an adventure involving hills or steps, this is your place to get into shape!  I brought my backpack and made multiple trips up and down while getting ready for a trek across the Grand Canyon.

If you go: Admission fee at this writing is $9.50 for adults and $7.5o for children and seniors, and includes a self-guided audio tour.  Allow at least an hour to climb the stairs and tour the museum.  Children must be at least 44 inches tall in order to climb.  More information is available at www.StAugustineLighthouse.com.

 

Take the Dolphin Limousine at Crazy Fish

A sign in front of Crazy Fish restaurant in Jacksonville Beach reads “Food, Fishing, Fun, Water sports and more“.  Today, I decided to start the weekend a few hours early and take a pontoon boat tour to see the dolphin.

 

Mike was a great guide.  We all learned a lot while enjoying the comfortable boat and Intracoastal breeze.  I never realized that dolphin lived in the Intracoastal Waterway.  And did you know that dolphin see with x-ray vision?

We observed about a dozen dolphin right by the Atlantic Boulevard Bridge, as well as  great blue heron, egrets and sea gulls.  But taking their picture is easier said than done!

Crazy Fish also offers airboat rides, river boat eco-tours, charter fishing trips, and kayak rentals.  And before you leave, be sure to enjoy some Florida fresh seafood at their Key West themed restaurant, open for lunch and dinner.  More information may be found at CrazyFishJax.com.

Little Talbot Island State Park

Little Talbot Island is one of Northeast Florida’s few remaining barrier islands free of commercial development; the entire island is a state park.  It is located North of where the St. Johns River flows into the Atlantic Ocean, and is connected to the mainland by Route A1A.  A great way to get there is by taking the St. Johns River Ferry.

Little Talbot Island offers 1872 acres, 5 miles of beach, and 2 trails totaling 4.2 miles.  Facilities include 3 bathhouses, boardwalks, boat ramp, a campground (40 sites, all with electricity),  picnic tables and pavilions, a playground and ranger station.  There’s lots to see and do!

A 3.2 mile hiking trail that loops around the northern end leads through a coastal hammock, rambles over dunes, and finally reaches the beach where crowds of gulls and terns provide most of the shoreline activity.

Little Talbot Island is a great place to enjoy our beach without most of the crowds.  If you stay late in the day, be sure to pull West off A1A for beautiful sunset views overlooking Fort George Sound.

If you go:  Pets are not allowed on the beach in any Florida State Park, but leashed dogs are allowed elsewhere in the park.   Nesting sea turtles come up from the beach to lay their eggs; please respect these endangered creatures and avoid disturbing their nests.

Visit the State Park Website for fee schedule.

 

Find Your New Furry Best Friend at Jacksonville’s Mega Adoption Event

This weekend, First Coast No More Homeless Pets and its coalition partners  are hosting the largest ever adoption event in Jacksonville.  Our goal is to find lifelong, loving homes for 600+ dogs, cats, kittens and puppies.

Here are the details:

  • Dates:     July 13, 14, 15
  • Time:     10:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Place:     Jacksonville Fairgrounds and Expo Center

Adoption fee is just $25, and includes spay/neuter, vaccines, micro-chip, and city license.  In honor of those who serve or have served, all active duty and retired military will be given totally FREE adoptions.

I have volunteered at several adoption events and will be there Saturday.  It is heart-warming to see so many beautiful pets walk out with their new families!  This weekend’s adoption event will be a huge step towards reaching our goal of becoming a no-kill community.

Thank you for helping Jacksonville’s dogs and cats!