Staycation in the River City: Part 2

By Crystal Moyer, Morning assignment desk, backup traffic reporter, cmoyer@wjxt.com
Published On: May 09 2014 09:46:08 AM EDT
Updated On: May 09 2014 11:36:56 AM EDT

We are visiting some of Jacksonville's most popular attractions. They combine hands-on education with a little fun and none of these stops will break the bank.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Want to getaway? You don't have to go far. It's National Travel and Tourism week and we are focusing on what the River City has to offer.

In Become a tourist in your own city with a "Stay-cation,” Channel 4's Crystal Moyer took us on air boat tour at Old Florida and even got a little pampered at One Ocean Resort and Spa in Staycation in the River City: Part 1 , but there’s plenty more to see.

If you want to experience what life is like from the eyes of a tiger, you can check out the new Land of the Tiger exhibit at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

Trails created around the exhibit allow visitors get up close and personal with the big cats.

“Those are experiences that will stay with the kids for the rest of their lives,” said Tony Vecchio, Executive Director of the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

What’s really unique about the Jacksonville Zoo is that visitors have the chance to interact with the wildlife there, some of them you can pet and even feed, like the giraffes and Sting Rays.

“We’re not just another zoo in another city, we value innovation and being on the cutting edge so we do things that no one else has done,” said Vecchio.

With 93 acres of land, 2,000 animals and 1,000 exotic plant species, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens does just that.

This is also a special year for the Zoo, celebrating it's 100-year anniversary.

“We’re packing in a lot more than we usually do, we always have fantastic events and always have a lot more, this is a really big celebration,” said Yaira Osborne who works at the zoo.

If you're into the arts with a twist, the River City has the largest fine arts museum in Northeast Florida: The Cummer Museum of Arts and Gardens.

“A lot of people think of a museum where it’s just something on the wall and you have to be quiet and there’s nothing to do but look at paintings but that’s not what the Cummer is all about,” said Holly Keris who works at the Cummer Museum.

The museum has an interactive learning center where kids can create their own art.

Many of the galleries have a hands-on aspect offering a different experience for everyone in the family.

“We have nearly 5,000 pieces here at the museum so there’s definitely something for everyone,” said Keris.

The museum also features 2.5 acres of historic gardens with many of the trees and plants dating back over 100 years.

If you want to hang 10, Jacksonville wouldn't be the perfect staycation destination without it's 22 miles of beautiful beaches.

“Sticking my toes in the sand and waking up and hearing the waves it’s so therapeutic,” said Mary Jury.

Jury said she got all of her friends together for a day at the beach and can’t wait to get back.

If you're still looking for ideas for your next stay-cation, Visit Jacksonville has you covered with four locations throughout Jacksonville.

There you can find plenty of brochures and staff that can help you plan your next adventure.

“If they wanted to get out on the water, for example we can probably have them on a kayak on Timiquan in about 30 minutes,” said Ron Whittington, Corporate Communications Manager for Visit Jacksonville.

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