NS Mayport, FL


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NS Mayport, FL NS Mayport, FL Housing
            PARKS & BEACHES & ZOOS          RELOCATION
Parks & Beaches & Zoos

Hemming Plaza covers a full downtown block and is the first, and oldest, park in the city. in 1960, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon gave campaigning speeches here, and later in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson also presented a speech. Currently the park hosts a year-round farmer's market, and is the center of a monthly Art Walk with entertainment and art on display.

Tree Hill Nature Center is 50 acres of wetlands, swamp, and forest turned into a nature center in 1975 to protect native flora and fauna from the increasing development downtown. There are interactive exhibits, insect and animal encounters, and tours of wooded trails. In 2003 the Flight of Fancy butterfly house was added and in addition to the Butterfly and Hummingbird Gardens, there is a Butterfly Festival held annually.

Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens - Opened to the public in 2008, this 120-acre woodland area consists of several trails, boardwalks, and benches all built by volunteers for local residents and visitors to enjoy and encourage learning about the environment. Students and faculty use the diverse plant population for research as well. Many exotic looking wildflowers can be seen along a walk here, including a red Firespike or purple Passionflower. The trails even let you know how many steps you've walked so enjoying your surroundings can be the top priority here.

Veterans Memorial Wall - Located near the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, this 65-ft long, black granite wall was dedicated in 1995 and was the only of its kind to honor all 6 branches of military (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine.) The wall contains more than 1500 names from World War I up to Operation Desert Storm, with new panels having been added for the current war. Every Memorial Day there is a ceremony for honoring new names being added from the previous year.

Treaty Oak - This 250 year old Southern Live Oak predates the founding of the city and stands at 70 ft tall and 25 ft around. It is located in Jesse Bell DuPont Park, which is named after the garden club member who requested the land around Treaty Oak be donated to the city and used only as a park in 1964. The seedlings of this mighty oak are collected and planted all over the city.

Friendship Fountain was the largest and tallest self-contained fountain when it opened downtown in 1965. There are 3 pumps that can push 17,000 gallons of water as high as a 10-story building and over 250 lights of various colors. The center nozzle can even limit the height of the water if the wind is too strong to avoid drenching nearby visitors. This landmark of Jacksonville was given a much-needed $3.2 million renovation in 2011 and now is better than ever.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens was opened in 1914 with one red deer fawn. in 1926 local school children raised enough money for the zoo to buy an Asian elephant and by the 1960s, it was the largest zoo in the Southeast. Today it is more than 100 acres and houses over 2,000 animals. The zoo underwent major redevelopment in 1991 with $22.5 million donated to the project and the "Wild Florida" exhibit was the last to complete the renovations in 1992. In 2004, the Range of the Jaguar exhibit opened featuring "Zorro" the black jaguar. As an extremely rare animal, Zorro was used in many breedings to further his species and is thought to be the father of most captive-born jaguars in zoos across the country.

The Marineland Dolphin Adventure offers an exciting and unique chance to swim with dolphins, have a picture painted by a dolphin as you watch, or even be a "trainer for a day". Since 1938, when it opened mostly to provide filming locations for movie scenes, Marineland has been allowing people to interact with these wonderful creatures.

The Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve is a 46,000 acre park established in 1988, named for the Timucua Indians who lived in the area until the 16th century. On the preserve grounds is the Kingsley Plantation, Florida's oldest plantation house, which visitors can tour. The park offers hiking, biking, boating, fishing, wildlife and some of the last undisturbed salt marsh on the Atlantic coast.
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