Since 2003, the Jacksonville Film Festival has annually served as one of the city's most anticipated cultural events, screening international and independent films and hosting some of Hollywood's most accomplished names. The first deal plunks cinephiles squarely on the red carpet with access to Saturday's special event, a screening of The Six Wives of Henry Lefay, starring Tim Allen, Elisha Cuthbert, and Andie MacDowell. Young film critics that already possess Roger Ebert's critical eye and Gene Shalit's bushy mustache can attend the kids' red-carpet event, which will screen the zany kid-friendly comedy Finn on the Fly. The third options gets you into the world premiere of Thespians, which documents the theater programs at two Duval County high schools as they prepare for the Florida State Thespians theater festival. Afterward, stay for a Q&A with the filmmakers and special guests.
Named after its 2003 42-foot Manta catamaran, Now and Zen Charters whisks its guests on day cruises and sailing vacations at several scenic Florida sites. While cruising the waters around Miami and Biscayne Bay, clients take advantage of luxurious onboard amenities both inside and in the open air. Be they seated on the trampolines, bow seats, in the salon, or in the sling seat, they enjoy an easy ride thanks to a sturdy 21-foot beam while listening to tunes on a four-speaker stereo system.
Fitness Pursuits shapes malleable muscles into fully formed physiques through comprehensive one-hour training sessions. The four-week group training classes pair up to six workout warriors with a certified coach capable of helping them tap into their can-crushing potential. During the introductory classes, trainers acquaint themselves with each student’s eating habits and improvable areas through online and on-hand fitness and nutrition assessments. Participants set and work toward goals in subsequent sessions, improving overall fitness and making muscles burn with satisfaction, like an insult uttered from the lips of a sarcastic fire swallower. The classes meet once weekly for four consecutive weeks, helping exercisers establish regular routines.
When the Jacksonville Zoo first opened in 1914, it had only one attraction––a red fawn. Today, nearly a century later, it’s home to more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 plant species, and welcomes an ever-changing lineup of visiting exhibits. Guests stroll along the boardwalk in a large, open environment called the Plains of East Africa, where cheetah, antelope, and warthogs roam in environs that simulate their native habitat. The African loop also includes Elephant Plaza, where elephants stir up tidal waves playing marco polo in a 275,000-gallon pool. Visitors can also pet and feed stingrays, stand eye-to-eye with a giraffe, and head to the award-winning Range of the Jaguar exhibit to roam a replica of an abandoned Mayan temple. During summer months, kids get wet at the Play Park and Splash Ground, where they can climb into a treehouse or peer through an underwater window to see penguins swimming overhead.
After guests explore the wildlife, rest and relaxation await within botanical gardens such as the Asian Bamboo garden, where patrons cross a traditional moon gate to see a tranquil waterfall, komodo dragons, and an interactive bamboo mist forest. The zoo also features a carousel, train rides, and several restaurants where humans can tap into their own wild instincts by hunting their natural prey—the sandwich.
At Jaxtoberfest, it's easy to eat bratwurst and drink beer casually—or competitively. The German-themed festival's brat-eating contest tests participants' stomach capacity, whereas the 5K Beer Run challengs runners to down brews at "chug stations" lining the race course. Revelers can also test their wits in games of oversize beer pong, beer barrel racing, and stein hoisting. Classic Bavarian music complements the games and food, providing an ideal backdrop for chicken dancing and polka. The family-friendly event also hosts fall-themed activities for kids, such as pumpkin bowling and pumpkin painting.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.