Jacksonville has been hosting an annual Spring film event, known as Movies in the Park, for several years. The popular event was featured on our list of the top free things to do in Jacksonville.
Movies in the Park, produced and organized by Downtown Vision, Inc., has largely been a success, and features family friendly films. The even was previously held in Treaty Oak Park, but is now held at the Wyndham Riverwalk on the river's Southbank, between Downtown Jacksonville and San Marco. Street parking is free in Downtown Jacksonville after 6 p.m. on weekdays and all weekend. Wyndham lot parking is also free for Movies in the Park.
Each film is free to attend. Guests, however, are encouraged to bring portable chairs and/or blankets as no seating is provided. Picnic baskets are also recommended, although there are usually several on-site food vendors for visitors who want to purchase food and drinks. There are also a number of restaurants in Downtown Jacksonville and San Marco, for guests who'd prefer to have dinner first.
The films shown are family friendly. Past examples include Disney Pixar's Cars, The Neverending Story, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, The Wizard of Oz and the Back to the Future trilogy.
The four-week long series shows one film per week. Here is the schedule for 2012:
- April 13 - Despicable Me
A 2010 computer-animated comedy staring Steve Carell. Rated PG.
- April 20 - The Muppet Movie
1979 Jim Henson musical, not be confused with The Muppets, released in 2011. Rated G.
- April 27 - Grease
1978 classic musical, rated PG-13.
- May 4 - Jurassic Park
1993 Sci-Fi blockbuster, rated PG-13.
The films generally start around 8 p.m. and are over by 10 p.m., with a few exceptions for longer films.
Tip: IMDB is a great resource for film ratings and running times.
Alcohol is not allowed on site, but the Wyndham's Current Lobby Bar is open to adults 21 and older. There are also a number of bars and clubs open late in Downtown Jacksonville for those attending the film without children.
The Wyndham Riverwalk is located at 1515 Prudential Dr. Guests coming from North Jacksonville can take I-95's San Marco exit, while guests coming from South Jacksonville should take the Prudential Drive exit.
Pets are welcome at Movies in the Park, as long as they are well-behaved. In accordance with city ordinances, they must be kept on a leash.
All in all, Jacksonville's Movies in the Park event is loads of fun for families, particularly those on a limited entertainment budget, and provides an opportunity to connect with others and perhaps make a few new friends. As the turnout can be quite high, early arrival is recommended for optimal seating and parking.