My Gym children's fitness center, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 25 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. With a dedication to imparting the benefits and fun of fitness, the affable, energetic crew of teachers and supervisors at the Jacksonville branch employs their expertise in music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while simultaneously stimulating their giggleplexes. Classes are organized according to age level—starting as young as 6 weeks—and are designed to incorporate the latest physiological, psychological, and meteorological research. My Gym’s curriculum includes structured classes for all developmental degrees, from Tiny Tykes, a class for parents and babies that focuses on movement, to Whiz Kids and Champions, classes designed for elementary-aged kids to master motor, sports, and gymnastics skills. One-hour free-play sessions enable children to engage in unstructured, parent-supervised frolics on the activity-filled premises.
Mardi Gras Jax celebrates Mardi Gras with a themed pub crawl across eight bars and restaurants, recreating the Bourbon Street experience without the hassle of cramming an entire parade float into an overhead compartment. A ticket earns proto-revelers a wristband for admission that yields discount drink specials, automatic entry into numerous prize drawings, and a handy way to differentiate between right and left. A souvenir drink glass and beads decorate participants like a belt over a boxer's shoulder, and scavenger-hunt maps and cards give clues that will lead an industrious partier to the mysterious grand prize. The after-party, hosted by Bo's Coral Reef, serves drinks until 2 a.m. and features the crowning of a king and queen of Mardi Gras Jax—fledgling potentates gain a hefty reward for their newfound royalty and an ethanol-fueled crowning ceremony to make it official––and the costume contest rewards eccentrically outfitted participants. The grand prize of the evening is a cruise for two from Budweiser, perfect for a happy couple, bonding siblings, or a probation officer and ward.
Dick’s quickly silences grumbling bellies with a menu of tasty grilled edibles and a tongue-tingling variety of spicy twists. Fried pickles ($4.29), buffalo shrimp ($7.49), or wings in 365 available flavors ($8.99/10) engage mouths as guests wait for the main attraction—half-pound burgers, whose meatslabs are hand-pressed and grilled to order over the heat of omnipresent flame decals. Bacon, swiss, and lettuce enrobe the Squealin' Cheeser burger ($7.59), whereas sautéed mushrooms sit proudly atop the Shroomer burger ($7.59) and a trio of cheddar, american, and jack adorn the Three Cheeser ($7.59). All burgers come with a choice of steak fries or waffle fries and can be sharpened with any of Dick’s 365 sauce blends ($0.59 additional). Before strolling over to the nearby beach to squash sandcastles, diners can clog their molars with chunks of deep-fried Oreos ($3.99), a chocolate tribute to the hamburger and a smooth ending to a spicy ride.
The water-adventure lovers at Crazy Fish have expanded their waterfront activity arsenal with an airboat, taking six-to-eight gleeful guests on a one-hour guided tour with the captivating Captain Hurricane Dave. After pushing off in a bright red boat propelled by Paul Bunyan's desk fan, Captain Dave takes groups of up to eight airboat adorers on a trek through the waters, pointing out alligators, porpoises, manatees, and alligator-impersonating marsh birds along the way. Scenic views of the vibrant intracoastal waterway and the occasional eagle sighting thrill turf-dwellers and seafarers alike on this air-powered voyage.
Landshark Café synthesizes savory stomach set pieces to the sound of live music four nights a week. Its dining-room stage serves up a smorgasbord of sonic flavors—jazz on Friday, mellow reggae on Sunday, and spacey theremin solos on the secret eighth day of the week. Meanwhile, the café's kitchen beauticians slather the winter-pale chunks of chicken or shrimp on luau skewers ($12) with teriyaki sauce before tanning them to a crispy golden brown on the grill. Alternatively, beefy bites such as the mushroom- and onion-laced flat-iron steak ($15) and the pineapple-topped Hawaiian burger ($8.25) restore jaded meat prophets’ faith in the healing power of protein. With beers on tap and a laid-back wait staff, Landshark Café hosts garrulous groups for quick victuals or marathon meals to celebrate the end of a Capri Sun–based detox regimen.
The spectrum of silliness is contained within three Adventure Landing attractions: race on go-karts in front of NASCAR-scout audiences, make a mark on frenemies in laser tag, or saunter and swing on the mini-golf course. (Laser tag is not available at the St. Augustine location.) Attempt each feat before going back for one last round of your two favorites, or use them all on a five-act go-kart play. The freedom of choice applies to how you use your five attractions; however, you must expunge the fun out of this factory's frenetic free-for-all in a single visit, making it a convenient way to happily exhaust over-energized tweens and tots.