From warthogs and jaguars at the zoo to the barley and malt at the Budweiser brewery, these spots will demand your attention.
Located 15 minutes from Downtown Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is home to more than 1,000 animals, including zebras, warthogs, rhinos and, of course, jaguars. The zoo also features a 4,000-squarefoot splash ground perfect for cooling off on hot summer days. Recent additions to the zoo include Butterfly Hollow and the Happy Feet 4D Experience. 370 Zoo Pkwy., Jacksonville, 904.757.4463
Jacksonville Budweiser Brewery
Find out how the King of Beers is made. The brewery has been offering tours for more than 35 years. True Budweiser aficionados (21 and up) will want to take the Beermaster tour: Not only can they sample directly from the finishing tank, they also go to never-before-seen-by-the-public areas, such as the brewhouse, the lager cellar, the packaging facility and the finishing cellar. 111 Busch Dr., Jacksonville, 904.696.8373
Opened in 1927 as downtown’s 15th—and largest—movie theater, the Mediterranean Renaissance-inspired building is on the National Register of Historic Places. By 1980, however, the theater had lost much of its luster, as moviegoers opted for multiplexes. Fortunately, the 1,900-seat venue was beautifully restored and reopened in 1983 as a show venue. Acts such as Kathy Griffin, Elvis Costello and “The King” himself—Elvis Presley—have taken the stage here. Today, the theater serves as not only a permanent home for many Jacksonville institutions but also as a community center. 128 E. Forsyth St., Jacksonville, 904.355.2787
Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
This beautiful museum and tranquil setting plays home to more than 6,000 masterworks dating from 2100 B.C. to the 21st century. Outside, along the St. Johns River, lie two-and -a half acres of Italian and English gardens, as well as majestic Cummer live oak, which boasts a 175-foot canopy. Noted landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman designed the Italian garden in 1931; it is one of only a handful of her projects that is still intact. 829 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville, 904.356.6857