As one of the world’s largest beer brewers, this Jacksonville outpost of Anheuser Busch is surprisingly open about its process. The looming facility offers free tours on how they brew and package Budweiser, with guests catching glimpses of the state-of-the-art technology, giant tanks, carefully controlled temperature rooms and bottling and packaging facilities, all of which can be seen through glass viewing windows. There’s also information on the recycling program, energy recovery and conservation of wildlife in the surrounding Jacksonville wetlands. After the tour, stop in the hospitality room and sample some beer. For the truly curious, the more in-depth Beermaster Tour is for true connoisseurs and a one-off Beer School class introduces patrons to different beer styles, proper pouring and a variety of craft beer and food pairings. There’s also a gift shop on hand, and occasional events take place on the property.
A lantern glows softly up ahead, clenched in the undead hand of a ghost—or rather, an actor embodying a local ghost. A cluster of tour-goers follows the "ghost" and his lantern through streets, and alleyways as he reveals the tragedies that unfolded in them. This is the River City Haunts Ghost Tour, one of 65 historically based tours put on by AdLib Luxury Tours & Transportation. The walking and driving tours weave through different parts of Northeast Florida, focusing on cultural aspects. In addition to the tours, AdLib provides transportation for visitors in luxury coaches.
With a portion of the proceeds benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The Great City Race challenges city dwellers' problem-solving skills and knowledge of their hometown in a race that's both mentally and physically challenging. Crowds of colorfully dressed teams gather on the date of the race armed with a digital camera or cell phone to document each task that they perform. Using nothing but their feet, public transportation, and knowledge of the city, teams must solve 11 out of 12 clues and return to the starting line. The teams with the best times are rewarded for their efforts with prizes, and all participants go home with a T-shirt and swag bag to stow excess confidence.
When Gerald Bennett began work as head chef at the InterContinental Hotel in Cleveland, he was accustomed to whipping up dishes for celebrity clientele. But when the royal family of Dubai came to visit and he served them in their opulent suite, he never thought they'd ask him to leave with them as their personal chef. Since returning to the states and stepping into his role as the president of the Private Chef Association, Gerald has worked to bring his gastronomic prowess to the masses through Food Fun Adventure’s classes and tours. He passes along a visible passion for culinary fusion, which shines through in dishes blending French and Thai or American and German influences.
Culinary tours take participants to local sushi houses, steak houses, and bistros, each highlighting specialty dishes. When head chefs come out to greet their visitors, they often divulge culinary secrets and answer questions about curfew hours for free-range ingredients while doling out tapas and other small plates.
In a more hands-on culinary experience, customers gather in classes and learn to refine dishes based on a chosen theme. Using mostly local and organic ingredients in two kitchen classrooms, chefs show students how to craft delicacies such as scallion waffles with orange-zest chicken and tagine-roasted rack of lamb. In one kitchen, which doubles as an art gallery, knives flick through ingredients, and pots clatter at island stations and small burners. The company’s event center, Heaven, fills with chatter as up to 40 pairs of students filter in. Beneath projectors for screening chef demonstrations and documentaries about the life of a paring knife, separate kitchens equipped with ovens and burners fill with the bustle of creation, which gives way to reverent exhalations as patrons finally sample the fruits of their labor.
E2ride Bike Tour in the Riverside/Avondale section of Jacksonville rents bicycles for a 10-mile guided tour with stops at interesting spots in the Riverside and Avondale neighborhoods. Bikes are ideal for riding along the back roads and sidewalks with ease, and the pace never reaches strenuous levels, making the whole day a breeze. With large Southern-style homes on well-coiffed and tree-lined streets, riders can take in historic points and view and learn about Prairie, Colonial Revival, Victorian and Bungalow-style architecture. Friendly guides keep the tours light and fun, and snacks, water and safety equipment are provided for all riders. For warm spring days, there are few better ways to experience the bounty of Jacksonville history that exists in this neighborhood.
This eclectic drink spot in the heart of historic San Marco offers coffees, smoothies, fresh juices and frozen yogurt, making Pulp an all-around space for relaxing with friends or picking up a quick beverage to go. Pick off the menu or have the juice barista custom blend a special, often involving wheat grass, carrots, beets or apples, with touches of lemon and ginger thrown in for flavor. Locally roasted, ground-to-order coffees are served French press, hand drip or Turkish style alongside organic teas, while beer and wine make for more adult offerings. Even the frozen yogurt is organic at Pulp, and comes in a variety of bright, citrusy flavors. With its orange logo and bright yellow walls, Pulp is equally as vibrant, sporting an oak bar and long ceiling beams, hanging lantern lights, an extensive chalkboard menu and a few scant tables both inside and on the patio.