Downtown Jacksonville
Photo: Ryan Ketterman for Visit Jacksonville
Photo: Ryan Ketterman for Visit Jacksonville

4 places for families to explore in Jacksonville, Florida

From the 22 miles of beaches to the largest urban park system in the country, Jacksonville, Florida, offers families an affordable and fun vacation.

Here's a look at some fun spots around Northeast Florida to explore with your family.

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

Located along the St. Johns River, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens features Art Connections, a thriving children's center allowing children to explore and create their own art. The Gallery Under 5 allows children to touch and feel the miniature replicas of the artwork found in the museum galleries. With nearly 5,000 works of art on display ranging from the 21st century to 2100 B.C., guests can also explore the museum's lavish, Italian and English gardens along the waterfront including the Cummer Oak - one of Jacksonville's oldest trees with a canopy spanning more than 150 feet. Plan accordingly as the first Saturday of each month offers free admission for all, along with free admission every Tuesday evening. Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. Adults $10; students $5; ages 5 and under free. 829 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville. 904-356-6857, www.cummer.org.

Jacksonville Armada FC

Making waves with soccer fans in Northeast Florida, the Jacksonville Armada FC is part of the North American Soccer League and quickly becoming "the" place to be this soccer season. The team's pregame "Match Experience" outside the stadium features hands-on activities for children, food vendors and live entertainment. As the game begins, fans can make their way into the stadium as part of the "March to the Match" – a parade-like crowd chanting and cheering while preparing for the matchup. The 2016 season begins April 15 at Community First Park. Single-game tickets $14 to $60. 301 A Philip Randolph Blvd., Jacksonville. 844-2-ARMADA, www.armadafc.com.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

With over 2,000 animals and over 1,000 types of plants, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens offers unique ways to see the animals at the park. From the Range of the Jaguar exhibit to the new Land of the Tiger exhibit, families can get an up-close look and feed the giraffes at the Giraffe overlook. Take a ride on the animal-themed carousel and climb aboard the zoo train that loops through the park. The 2,000-acre splash ground and play park offers little ones a fun way to cool off after a day of exploring, so don't forget to bring their swimsuits. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Adults $17.95; Seniors $15,95; children 3 to 12 $12.95. 370 Zoo Parkway, Jacksonville. 904-757-4463, www.jacksonvillezoo.org.

Riverside Arts Market

The arts come alive each Saturday from March through December at the Riverside Arts Market. Featuring live entertainment and local artisans, the market offers great views of the Jacksonville skyline and also includes boat parking. The on-site Farmer's Row offers visitors the opportunity to buy and eat local, too. Morning yoga classes, a children's craft area and an ever-changing lineup of vendors make the market a new experience on every visit. Riverside Arts Market. Free. 715 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville. 904-389-2449, www.riversideartsmarket.com.

For more information on the Jacksonville area, go to www.VisitJacksonville.com.

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