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Top Ways to Cool Down in Jacksonville this Summer


With average summertime temperatures well into the 90s, Jacksonville knows how to cool things off. We've got options for all ages and budgets. Here are a few local favorites.

Jacksonville's Public Pools

Photo © City of Jacksonville
Jacksonville boasts 34 public pools located throughout the River City. One, an olympic-size, indoor pool at Cecil Aquatics Center, 13611 Normandy Blvd. on the Westside, is open year-round. Others are open seasonally, seven days a week from June 7-August 15. While public schools are in session, pools are open weekends only May 24-June 1 and August 16-31. Selected neighborhood pools offer recreational swim team activities for boys and girls ages 5-14, free of charge. Competitions include a district swim meet and a city-wide competition. For more information, please contact our Aquatics Office at 745-9630.

Adventure Landing / Shipwreck Island Water Park

Adventure Landing's and Ship Wreck Island Water Park in Jacksonville Beach is a summertime favorite. Features include the Pirate's Play Village, a three-story interactive water play area with 12 slides and squirters; the Rage, an uphill water coaster that propels riders up to 18 mph; the Hydro Halfpipe; 500,000-gallon wave pool; and Kiddie Cove, tailored for toddlers with two small slides. New for the 2008 season is the Undertow, a $500,000 slide that takes two riders at a time through wet twists and turns on a double raft. Entry fees for the water park are $26.99 plus tax for guests 42" and taller, $22.99 plus tax for guests under 42" tall, and free for tots age 3 and under. Hours vary.

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

Photo © City of Jacksonville
Jacksonville's 450-acre beachfront getaway at 500 Wonderwood Drive offers 1.5 miles of sandy beaches and a 60-acre freshwater lake, as well as a quarter-acre water playground with colorful fountains and playful water-squirting devices. Want to make a multi-day trip of it? Tent and RV camp sites are available $20.34-$33.90. Cozy Cabins are $33.90 per day, two-day minimum. All campsites have water and sewer hookups. General store, laundry, restroom and shower facilities and 24-hour security are provided. Hanna Park, as it's informally known, is open daily 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., April-October and 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., November-March. Admission is $1 per person 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., then $3 per car 10:00 a.m. to close.

Jacksonville Zoo's Splash Ground and Play Park

Kids are going ape over the $6.7 million, 2.5-acre park smack in the center of the Jacksonville Zoo at 370 Zoo Parkway. Features include two mazes, tree house and rock climbing and swinging on monkey vines. The Otter Exhibit includes a viewing tunnel and kids can help groom pygmy goats in the Animal Care Area. Ice cream and cold drinks are available at the Play Park Cafe. Babies must wear swimmies or plastic diaper covers. Splash Ground and Play Park admission is included in your regular Jacksonville Zoo admission: $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens and $7.50 for chidren ages 3-12. Chilren age 2 and under are admitted free. Ten-percent military and AAA discounts.

Jacksonville's Beaches

Photo © Visit Jacksonville
Jacksonville's East Coast offers over 20 miles of sandy, breezy beaches stretching from historic Amelia Island to ritzy Ponte Vedra Beach. Between are the quaint fishing village of Mayport, trendy Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach, and Jacksonville Beach, the largest of Jacksonville's oceanfront communities. Visit www.RentBeachStuff.com for bikes, surfboards, boogie boards, lounge chairs, umbrellas, towels, coolers, fishing poles and other beach necessities. After a day on the sand and in the water, you'll find dozens of oceanfront restaurants and nightclubs to cap hot days in cool ways.

Kids Kampus

Photo © Visit Jacksonville
Kids Campus at Metropolitan Park (1410 Gator Blvd.) in Downtown Jacksonville makes learning cool in more ways than one. Fun, interactive features let visitors experience solar power or become a drop of water. But in the summer months, it's the Kids Kampus water park that's all the rage. The water park's two main areas are "Three Friends," a large boat-themd play structure with a warer slide and water cannons; and "Bayou, Bogs & Frogs," a non-skid, sculptured rug depicting Florida's wetlands and tailored for little tikes through age six. Admission is free. Groups must reserve spots up to 60 days in advance and arrive at least 30 minutes prior to their reserved time. Babies must wear disposable swimming diapers.

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