- The Adventurous Alfords
A night in Jacksonville Florida
Many people only think of the world famous zoo when considering Jacksonville Florida for a getaway, but I’m here to tell you, there is so much more about this fun city! Top Golf, outstanding dining, shopping (SO MUCH SHOPPING), and more.
Where to stay:
When you find a wonderful hotel in one area, you tend to be drawn to the same name in other areas. Hotel Indigo in Savannah Georgia is fantastic in presence and in location so choosing Hotel Indigo in Jacksonville was an easy choice. Hotel Indigo offers a boutique-style feel at an affordable cost. The first thing that you must do after check in is to visit 98 Forty East Bar for a cocktail, mocktail, or bite. Request your drink in a plastic cup and then head to the pool. The pool is quite small but beautifully maintained and just the right size for lounging. The rooms are very stylish and comfortable.
The hotel is located in a cul de sac of eateries and shopping, all within walking distance. But if all that is within walking distance is not to your liking, many other restaurants, shops, and attractions are just a short drive away. Like the world famous, Top Golf.
Jacksonville's Top Golf location is an exceptionally fun attraction for just about anyone in your group. I do highly recommend reservations and I also suggest requesting the first floor for smaller kiddos. Also be sure to keep a close eye on those younger kids, in my opinion. You do not want one of them swinging a club and letting go, yikes! If you do have a younger child, there is indoor seating at this location next to a fun shuffle board and billiards table. You can sit inside and let littles have some space while others in your group take a few swings outside. Another amazing addition to this specific location is mini golf! That's right. Grab a seat inside, order delicious food and beverages, then head outside, at ground level, and give put put course a go! We had an absolute blast on this recent visit to Top Golf. The staff really took it over the top by treating us like family. This Top Golf location is by far my new favorite.
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. I will not delve into the many ways that this renowned zoo contributes to the conservation and preservation of wildlife. I will encourage you to visit their website for such info because there is so much that this zoo does for our planet, along with our precious wildlife.
I am firm in my belief that the Jacksonville Zoo is most enjoyed during the cooler months of the year. This could be the reason that the zoo offers such a unique experience to those who do choose to brave the heat and visit during the summer. From June 4th to August 27th, on Friday evenings only, you can enter the park for a special ticketed event from 6pm to 10pm and experience the Zoo like never before. For $25 a person, guests will be able to experience this after hours, summer spectacle. Upon arrival, you can visit as many animals as you are able to, from 6pm to sunset. It will still be daylight during these hours but be aware that the animals retire at 8pm so they may be winding down at this time. Though we were only able to see a couple of animals from 6 to 8, we were excited to see a tiger, pretty up close, in its habitat. After the animals turn in for the evening and the sun begins to go down, the park will begin to light up. You then have until 10pm to observe the illuminations throughout the park. From glowing light projections to interactive light up screens, kids and adults alike will be completely enchanted by all that there is to see. Please note that the train, 4D theater, and giraffe feedings are not available during this event. My biggest tips are to go straight to the back and order your dinner at the Trout River Grill first. My fave on the menu is definitely the falafel with fries. Once you have your food, grab a seat outside for some extra special live music. Once you are done, walk over to the Palm Plaza for face paint and maybe even get a hot churro or some Dip-N-Dots as well. Then try to visit any animals that you want to see before 8pm. My recommendation is to only visit your most favorite. At this point, lines will be getting long for food, activities, and drinks. At the area of the 4D theater, there are fun activities for the kids and some event-special food offerings for purchase. If the animals are your number one priority, you should see your favorites first, but again, they are not quite as active during this time and you may be rushing all over to not see much. One place that never disappoints is Sting Ray Bay just inside the entrance.
Just as the sun begins to set, head to the playground area to see fog-filled bubbles that have a slight glow. This was pretty cool and entertained us for a good half hour. The Jacksonville Zoo also has a splash pad, so be sure to bring a change of clothes in case anyone in your group plays in the water. Head to the Asia location next and color a white paper lantern that you can send off into the coy pond. At dark, beautiful projections are displayed on the pavilion roof.
There are many things that could take this event up a notch, but can not be accomplished for sake of the resident animals and their safety. So keep that in mind with high expectations. Though this event was definitely fun and totally worth the cost, I missed the best part of the zoo, the animals. Thankfully we were still able to see a couple of our favorites during our visit.
Don't forget that the Jacksonville beaches are nearby for a fun day at the beach, so keep that in mind when planning your stay.
Overall, our one night in Jacksonville was jam-packed with fun. We met so many incredible people who are trying to navigate through these crazy times and are just happy to be working again, face to face with people. So grab some of your favorite people and have a great time in Jacksonville Florida!
The Adventurous Alfords