COVID-19: Things To Do, Virtual Classes, and Resources to Stay Safe and Informed
Happy fall! What a great time of year! There is an abundance of wonderful fall events and festivals to enjoy all month long. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Town of Orange Park’s Fall Festival. Join the celebration October 15th and 16th from 10am until 5pm and enjoy over 150 artists and makers, food trucks and vendors, a pumpkin patch, a kids’ zone, live music and more! On September 17th, MOSH opened its newest exhibit, Voyage to the Deep – Underwater Adventure. Based on the novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the exhibit is an immersive oceanic experience. Learn more about the underwater world and adventures of Captain Nemo on page 16. Fun fact: From 1971 through 1994, guests at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom could take an underwater submarine voyage based on the same timeless classic, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea!
If you didn’t get a chance to see the Dinosaur Explorer exhibit at MOSH this summer, it’s not too late. The exhibit is open through September 5th. Jax4Kids was happy to have sponsored this exhibition that explores the wildest, wackiest and most wondrous dinosaurs! We’re excited for the opening of the Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience opening on September 16th! Tickets are on sale now. Learn more by visiting vangoghjacksonville.com. For a list of other events happening this month, turn to page 15, and you can visit us online at Jax4Kids.com for an always-updated list of events.
On June 11th, Jacksonville will celebrate its Bicentennial! A full day of activities is planned. Turn to page 4 for a lineup of the day’s activities and join the celebration! Our nation is also celebrating its 246th birthday. For a list of Fourth of July events, turn to page 5. If you have a dog who is frightened by the sound of fireworks, turn to page 22 to learn what you can do to help them. Governor DeSantis recently signed into law a few tax holidays that we want to make sure you are aware of. There will be a sales tax exemption period on diapers and baby and toddler clothing, apparel, and shoes from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023. See page 9 for more information. The 2022 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday runs from now through June 10th. During the sales tax holiday period, tax is not due on the retail sale of eligible items related to disaster preparedness.
MOSH’s new exhibit, Dinosaur Explorer, opens on May 19th, which Jax4Kids is delighted to sponsor. Dinosaur Explorer journeys through the wildest, wackiest, and most wonderous dinosaurs and examines human physiology through the lens of these magnificent creatures. Dinosaurs thrived on planet earth, and this exhibit asks the question: “Where do we see similarities in our world today between dinosaurs and we humans and the world we live in today?” See it through September 5th at MOSH. Speaking of summer camps, our online summer camps guide is available 24/7 to help you plan summer camps for your kids. Visit us online at www.jax4kids.com/summer-camps to easily find the perfect match for your children. Camps are organized by area of interest.
Happy Spring! The Clay County Fair is open now through April 10th, and Jax4Kids is proud to once again be a sponsor of this great North Florida tradition of quality family entertainment. Enjoy midway rides and games, fair food, live entertainment, livestock shows, a Kids Ag-tivia area, and visit the Early Florida Village to experience what life was like in Clay County dating back to the 20s, 40s, and beyond! The Early Florida Village is open each day of the fair until 7pm. If you didn’t purchase tickets in advance, visit claycountyfair.org for daily specials on admission and ride armbands.
Last month, the CDC and American Association of Pediatrics released updated Developmental Milestone Guidelines. The new guidelines strongly support the importance of early intervention for children with developmental delays. Checklists have been added for ages 15 months and 30 months, as well as for every well-child visit for ages 2 through 5. New social and emotional milestones have also been added. The CDC also has a milestone tracker app to help you reference where your child should be based on their age. Read more about the new guidelines and the app on page 8.
Spring Break is next month and we have been gathering together all of the information on Spring Break Camps that will be offered this year. You’ll find a good variety of camps by interest and area of town on page 13 and visit us online at www.jax4kids.com for a complete and always updated list of Spring Camps. Burn Awareness Week, observed the first full week in February, is a window of opportunity to talk about burn prevention. On page 7 you can learn tips to prevent your children from being burned or scalded. If you have a young tween, there is a resource available that we thought you might like to know about. The book, Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen by Michelle Icard, can provide a helpful communication guide. Turn to page 12 and read more about what the book offers.
We are blessed to have Wolfson Children’s Hospital here to care for our children when the need arises. I think we can all agree that supporting Wolfson Children’s Hospital benefits us all as a community. This month, you can support Wolfson Children’s Hospital by participating in the Wolfson Children’s Challenge. The challenge returns as an in-person event on January 29th at 121 Financial Ballpark, 301 A. Phillip Randolph Blvd., Jacksonville, FL, 32202. Read more in our Community Profile on page 4. The PBS Kids Writers Contest, created to promote children’s literacy skills, is open to kids in grades K through 3. See page 15 for contest details. Deadline to enter is March 15th.
Happy Holidays! In this issue, you will find some great gift ideas, resources, and things to do this holiday season. If you have gifts to send out-of-town this holiday season, turn to page 12 for ship- ping deadline dates. On page 6, you’ll find a handy chart that you can cut out and save to reference in the future for how to safely store food – including those leftovers. Turn to page 8 for book gifts for toddlers and page 21 for 15 gifts that will impress the teen in your life.
The Jacksonville Fair is back, and you can order advance admission tickets and advance mega passes and save money through midnight on Wednesday, November 3rd - the day before the Fair opens. Visit jacksonvillefair. com to order discounted advance tickets. The Fair runs from November 4th through November 12th and features live music, animal encounnters, Disc-Connected K-9’s dog shows, Scott’s World of Magic Show, Robinson’s Racing Pigs, Pretty Bird Paradise, Play with Giants, and of course rides and fair food! The Fair will be followed by Thanksgiving and as we gear up for the holiday season, you will find a list of Winter Break Camps for your kids during the holidays (page 11) and Holiday events (pages 12 and 13). You’ll find an always updated list of Winter Break Camps and Holiday events online at jax4kids.com.
With the beginning of school comes the beginning of enrichment programs for kids. Here are a few that may be of interest to you. The Jacksonville Children’s Chorus is now auditioning for Grades 2 through 12. Visit jaxchildrenschorus.org or call (904) 353-1636 for more information. The Theatreworks children’s theatre schedule and registration information are on page 15. Fall art classes are registering now at Orange Park Art Classes and Children’s Art Classes in Baymeadows and Ponte Vedra. Theatre Jacksonville’s Theatre for Kids classes begin September 13th; turn to page 14 for more information. Find more enrichment programs including sports leagues registering now online at jax4kids.com.
There’s still a lot to enjoy this summer before kids go back to school! In this issue, you’ll find a roundup of the places to go and things to do this month. On the cover, the Harlem Globetrotters are back! Tickets are available for the show on July 22nd at the Arena. With a Magic Pass (available for purchase when you order your tickets), kids can go on the court before the show begins to meet and shoot hoops with the stars of the show, get autographs, and take photographs. And, if you purchase your tickets between July 1 and July 7, tickets are exempt from sales tax during the state of Florida Freedom Week Sales Tax Holiday. Read more on page 14.
Our Summer Guide is here! Turn to pages 12 - 15 to find this summer’s free and discounted movies, sporting events, hands on activities, deals, discounts, summer camps, family-friendly concerts and kid-friendly theatre including Seussical the Musical, playing June 17th through August 1st at The Alhambra Theatre and Dining. Don’t wait to order tickets for this popular summer event. You’ll also find Summer Reading lists on pages 16 and 17 and summer activities for Teens on page 10. The House of Leaf and Bean is hosting a Healthy Cooking Contest for Kids. See contest details on page 6. Deadline for entries is July 22nd. Check out the healthy Easy Quinoa Salad on page 6. It’s delicious!
The Jumbo Shrimp are back and it’s a welcome return to a pre-COVID normal! You’ll find a list of home games and special themed nights, events, and activities you can enjoy at the ballpark on page 23. Some upcoming themes include Youth Sports Day on May 9th, Military Appreciation Day on May 27th – tickets for all active duty, veterans, and former military members and their dependents are free (subject to availability). Enjoy fireworks at Friday night games, and on Sundays, kids can run the bases after the game; there will also be free face painting and balloon animals.
On the cover this month is the Clay County Fair! The return of the Fair, an event so many of us in North Florida look forward to, has been much anticipated this year. The Fair opens April 1st and runs through April 11th. Visit claycountyfair.org for Fair hours and schedules, entertainment, and important dates. Also this month is National Park Week April 17 – 25 – see page 5 for a list of daily celebrations and plan to visit one of North Florida National Parks! If you’ve got a writer in the house, there are two contests whose deadlines to enter are April 15th - the PBS Kids Writer’s contest (for grades K-3) and Jax Poetry Fest contest (for High School students). See page 15 for details about both contests.
W e are happy to be talking about Spring and Summer Break Camps! It’s a welcome sign of life returning to a more pre-COVID normal for children, parents and camp providers. On pages 10 through 14, you’ll find Spring and Summer Break Camp information. March is National Reading Month and that is something worth celebrating! On pages 15 and 16 you’ll find a Read Across America booklist for kids and a booklist for infants and toddlers on page 8 that will help instill a love of reading in your child early in life.
If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us it is how valuable it is to be resilient. We can do our children a service by teaching them from an early age how to be resilient. Turn to page 12 to learn how to build resilience in infants and toddlers. Also for parents of infants and toddlers, if you are looking for quality childcare, The Learning Experience Flagler and River City locations are offering Jax4Kids readers a $25 discount on registration now through March 31. See page 13 for details, locations and contact information. The Learning Experience offers military and sibling discounts and accepts ELC School Readiness vouchers and is an approved provider for Child Care Aware, the Coast Guard and NACCRRA military subsidy programs.
This year’s Duval County Public Schools’ Choice Expo will be held virtually on January 9th. Read more about the virtual event and the application process on page 16. Another event that will be held virtually this year is the Wolfson Children’s Challenge fundraiser. We are blessed to have Wolfson Children’s Hospital, recognized as one of the best Children’s hospitals in the nation, here in our community. No child is ever turned away for inability to pay. This fundraiser supports the services they provide for our children so, walk, run bike or swim for Wolfson Children’s Hospital this January! Learn more at wolfsonchildrenschallenge.com.
Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and/or Happy Kwanza! While we may be unable to have the traditional family gatherings this year, there is joy in celebrating all we do have and all we can look forward to. I hope this issue lifts you up and helps you celebrate this holiday season. There are still many holiday events that have been reimagined to comply with social distancing recommendations that you can enjoy with your family this year. Find them throughout pages 12 – 14.
We hope the beginning of this holiday season finds you healthy and happy as we usher in a season of good cheer and gratitude! Harvard Health asked their doctor’s to offer advice on holiday gatherings in the age of COVID-19. If you are struggling with how to celebrate the holidays, this interesting article may help you with the decision-making process. Turn to page 13 to read advice from the experts in the field of medicine.
I love our happy, colorful cover this month introducing MOSH’s new exhibit TOYTO- PIA! It opens on October 17th and Jax4Kids is delighted to sponsor the exhibit. Learn more about TOYTOPIA on page 5. I also love the Diaper Bank for Northeast Florida – they are our community profile this month. Turn to page 4 to learn about this wonderful and much needed new non-profit that is helping parents.
So begins the new school year under circumstances none of us could have imagined a year ago! The amount of thought, effort, and care that has gone into planning for this school year by those whose lives are dedicated to educating our children deserves a thunderous applause. And, every parent with a child in school deserves a hearty pat on the back. I hope this issue of Jax4Kids’ newspaper provides content that lifts you up, useful information, and a reminder that there is still much to enjoy and look forward to.
We are overjoyed to be able to restart publication of Jax4Kids’ newspaper after the COVID-19 pandemic altered so many aspects of our lives. As of publication time, the Governor has given the green light to proceed with summer camps and youth sports, the Mayor has announced the reopening of pools (see page 15) and city-run summer camps, and Walt Disney World has announced plans to begin reopening on July 11th. It is with optimism about the days ahead that we bring you this abbreviated version of Jax4Kids’ newspaper!
This month, we cover everything from Random Acts of Kindness to Building a Bone Bank Account. Interest piqued? Read on. Random Acts of Kindness Day is February 17th. Science has proven that being kind has a host of health benefits. For a read that will make you feel good and want to make committing Random Acts of Kindness your mission this year, turn to page 16.
Happy New Year! To help you get 2020 off to a positive start, turn to page 4 and read Jon Gordon’s words of wisdom – 20 Tips for a Positive New Year. For a healthy start to the new year, read Aurea Thompson’s Choose a Healthy 2020 on page 6. Karate America is offering Fitness for Families at 4 weeks for $49. See page 6 for more. You’ll also find health and fitness events you can participate in this month. Visit us online at jax4kids.com any time for an always updated list of family-friendly health and fitness events.
In addition to all of the wonderful holiday events you can enjoy this month – all of which you will find within the pages of this issue and online at Jax4Kids.com – there are some outstanding, non-holiday events we think your kids will love. Movies at The Jacksonville Symphony are a big hit, and this month you can see Disney and Pixar’s UP with its score played live by your Jacksonville Symphony. The movie is playing December 1st at 3pm.
Jax4Kids is making your holiday event planning easy! Turn to pages 14 through 20 to find the season’s favorite family-friendly holiday events. If you’re looking for gift ideas for the kids in your life, check out the Toy Award Winners for 2019 on page 20. If you’d like to help a family in need this holiday season, Toys for Tots will be collecting toys through December 11th. If your family needs gifts, you can register at jacksonville-fl.toysfortots.org. Turn to page 19 for more details about registering to receive or collect toys, volunteer, or host a Toys For Tots event.
It’s Fall Festival time and there are a LOT of great activities for you to enjoy this month. Turn to page 29 and let the planning begin! Space wouldn’t allow us to list every event so I encourage you to visit our always updated online events calendar at www.Jax4Kids.com to find all of the Fall Festivals, Events and Pumpkin Patches.
We hope that you had a wonderful and memorable summer. For many parents, the beginning of the school year feels like the beginning of a new year. It’s certainly a big shift and we’re here to help so, Back to School we go! On page 3 you’ll find a list of Back to School events including school supply giveaways. Students can get free sports physicals at Jefferson Davis Middle School on August 3rd from 9am until 12noon. Turn to page 7 for details. Take your kids and their family pet to Earthwise Pets for free Back to School photos on August 24th. Details are on page 23. For more back to school events, visit us online at jax4kids.com. Our Board Certified Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition, Aurea Thompson offers nutritious back to school lunch ideas on page 7. You’ll find back to school tips for teens on page 28 and those with special needs on page 26.
In the words of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, “Summer means happy times and good sunshine!” We hope you’re enjoying lots of both this summer. To help you make the most of the summer, we have compiled a list of events, places to go, things to do, deals, discounts, indoor and outdoor activities, sporting events and much more.
In this issue, you’ll find SO many great activities to experience this summer! On May 25th, “Expedition: Dinosaur” will open at MOSH and Jax4Kids is proud to sponsor this exciting new summer exhibition. You’ll travel back in time and walk among the dinosaurs! Life-size, lifelike animatronic dinosaurs with realistic movements and sounds, along with a wide range of hands-on interactive experiences throughout three floors of the Museum, celebrate and explore the fascinating world of dinosaurs. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram – we’ll have an opportunity for you to win tickets to see “Expedition: Dinosaur!”
It’s spring time and that’s a great time to enjoy the outdoors! The Clay County Fair starts on April 4th; the Jumbo Shrimp season opens on April 4th; the Jacksonville In-Water Boat Show is April 5 - 7 and Jax4Kids will be there to bring you lots of activities for the kids to enjoy in the Kids Zone. It’s blueberry season! See page 7 for a list of pick-your-own farms. There are so many Easter Egg Hunts and Spring festivals to enjoy. We’ve listed as many as space allowed on page 29; you’ll find a complete list online at www.jax4kids.com. Turn to page 6 for a list of events to enjoy in April including Earth Day celebrations and on page 8, health events including kid-friendly runs.
The summer camp season kicks off now! It’s time to explore camps and get your kids enrolled, and we are here to help you find the perfect camps for your kids. Beginning on page 14, you’ll find many summer camp options and some things that you might want to think about as you begin planning. If you have a child with special needs, you’ll find a list of special needs summer camps on page 10.
There are some REALLY cool events coming up in February! Heard of the Spartan Races? They’re the hugely popular obstacle course races held worldwide and they’re coming to Jacksonville February 23 - 24. There are over 200 races in 42 countries for everyone from the most elite athletes to novice adventure seekers. Kids will run, climb, jump and get muddy as they run the Spartan Kids Race obstacle course. The Kids Race is for ages 4 – 13. See page 13 for more information and register online at www. spartan.com/en/kids-obstacle-course. Note: There is a Special Spartans race for kids with intellectual, and/or developmental disabilities, and those with cognitive, learning and/or vocational delays December 7-8 in Mulberry, Florida (near Lakeland). Visit www.spartan.com for more information.
Happy 2019! With the holidays now memories to cherish, we turn our attention back to weightier topics such as the education of our children. This month, our focus is on just that. In this issue is the Spring 2019 Parent Academy Course Schedule. These courses, offered free of charge to students and parents, are available to everyone in the community, not just to students and parents of Duval County Public Schools. There is an array of excellent courses on student achievement, personal and individual growth, and parenting and advocacy. You’ll find the complete list of courses available beginning this month on pages 11 through 22.
During the month of November, we gave away 60 prizes including a trip to the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando and a family ski vacation to Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. If you were not one of the lucky winners, take heart – we’renot finished gifting you, our valued readers and visitors to Jax4Kids.com and our social media sites. Log on to Jax4Kids.com between December 1 – 12 for details on how to win a family ski vacation to Cataloochee Ski Area. We are also giving you the chanceto take your family to see an advance screening of the new movie SPIDER-MAN Into the Spider-Verse on December 8th. The movie opens in theaters nationwide on December 14th. To find out how you can see it before it opens in theaters and maybe a little movieswag to go with it, log on to Jax4Kids.com before December 5th. Drawing will be held Thursday morning, December 6th. There’s more! We’ll celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas from December 13 through December 24 with 12 more days of giveaways.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and we are helping you get ready to make holiday memories with your kids. In this, our Holiday Guide, you will find holiday events on pages 16 – 18, with more online at www.jax4kids.com, books to help your kids give thanks, be thankful and develop an attitude of gratitude. Looking for gift ideas for the children in your lives? The top toys and games for 2018 (page 15) and Smart Toys for Infants and Toddlers (page 11) will help.
With each issue we strive to bring you valuable information you can put to use in raising your children. This month, our focus is on Education – perhaps the second most important topics of interest to parents next to health and safety. On pages 15 – 23 you’ll find articles about available scholarships, study skills, vocabulary strategies, books to teach and help children and much more.
We hope you had a great summer! Did you get a chance to visit the new Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Cool off at Adventure Landing Water Park? Take in a Jumbo Shrimp game or see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at The Alhambra? There was so much great entertainment for families to enjoy this summer! Jax4Kids is proud to sponsor the National Geographic Earth Explorers exhibit at MOSH and if you haven’t been yet, it’s not too late. The exhibit is open through September 9th. You and your kids can become a National Geographic explorer in this highly interactive, hands-on exhibition. The exhibition features six themed and immersive environments: Base Camp, Polar Regions, Oceans, Rain Forests, Mountains & Caves and African Savannas.
This is your guide to a great summer! If you’re looking for something to do around town with your kids this summer, you’ll find plenty of ideas within the pages of this issue and online at jax4kids.com. Theatre events, sporting events, Hands-On activities, Father’s Day events, 4th of July events plus things to do with Infants and Toddlers, children with Special Needs, Teens, your Pets and more.
It’s time to get ready for Summer! If you’re packing your bags to hit the road this summer, check out our Travel Tips on page 17. Disney has two exciting new attractions to enjoy this summer. Toy Story Land opens on June 30th and H2O Glow Nights are coming to Typhoon Lagoon beginning June 21st. Read more about H2O Glow Nights on page 15. If taking the kids to the beach is among your plans for this summer, get kids excited with the books on page 16 and, before you head to the beach, find out what the best-rated sunscreens are for kids on page 14. If you’re still trying to decide on summer camps for your kids, turn to pages 18-21 for ideas and, visit our online summer camps guide at www.Jax4Kids.com.
entrepreneurship skills including developing a brand, creating a product or service, building a marketing plan and opening for business. Additional details are on page 23. The Jumbo Shrimp season kicks off on April 11th and the games are great family entertainment! Kids can explore trucks, emergency vehicles, military vehicles and more at Feel the Wheels on April 28th at the St. Augustine Outlet Mall. The event benefits the Children’s Museum of St. Augustine. The opening of the beaches parade is April 29th and of course the family-friendly Clay County Fair is open through April 7th. Look for more events on pages 9 (Health Events), 12 (Infant and Toddler Events), 13 (Special Needs Events), 23 (Education Events), 27 (Teen Events), 28 (Pet Events), 29 and 30 (Events for everyone).
With spring comes some our community’s favorite annual family-friendly events. Here are just a few that you can enjoy this month. Jax4Kids is proud to sponsor many exciting family-friendly events including the 6th Annual Jacksonville Science Festival, March 1 – 3. Enjoy STEAM interactive booths, hands-on art, science activities, performances plus a rock wall, bungee jump, human-sized hamster balls and more! See page 30 or visit us online at Jax4Kids.com for more details.
We hope 2018 has gotten off to a healthy and happy start! In this, our annual Health & Safety issue, we are bringing you valuable information to help keep your family safe and healthy. Do you have a First-Aid Kit? If so and you haven’t checked the contents to make sure medicines haven’t expired, the new year is a good time to do that. If you don’t have a kit, turn to page 13 for a list of what to stock. If you have pets, turn to page 29 and program the after hours emergency vet center near you into your phone.
Happy New Year! We hope the peace and joy of the holiday season is yours throughout 2018. There is so much family entertainment to look forward to this winter! Marvel Universe Live will be on stage at the Veterans Memorial Arena January 19th through the 21st. Turn to page 4 for details on how you can save $5 on tickets.
Happy Holidays! To help you get prepared and make the most of the holiday season, we’ve assembled gift ideas for the kids in your life (page 11), where to find a Christmas Tree Farm (page 13), Holiday Events (pages 19 and 20), Hanukkah Events (page 16), Ways to Give During the Holidays (page 10), Winter Camps (page 15) and much more throughout this issue.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and in this issue you will find a Holiday Guide to help you plan for the season! On the cover, our friends with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra have some great family-friendly programs for you to enjoy! One of our family’s favorite traditions is the Holiday Pops concert. The movies have become really popular. They are shown on a giant High Definition screen and the orchestra plays the score live with the film. This holiday season, they’ll be showing Home Alone on November 25th and It’s A Wonderful Life on December 22nd. For a complete and always updated list of holiday events, visit us online and Jax4Kids.com.
We hope this summer will be filled with great family time together and we are here with the resources to help you do just that! In this Guide to Summer you’ll find places to go, things to do, deals and much more. We begin with Summer Deals on page 12 including coupons to Adventure Landing, Kids Bowl Free, free admission to the Cummer, free donuts, ice cream, and smoothies.
Spring is a wonderful time of year - summer is just around the corner, there are lots of spring time events happening around our city, Easter is April 16th and we celebrate Earth Day this month. This issue of Jax4Kids’ newspaper is filled with useful information on these and many other topics.
The countdown to summer has begun and it’s time to start planning. If you’re considering a Summer Camp for your kids, from this issue through the June issue, we will bring you articles and resources to help you find a camp that’s best suited to your child. In this issue, we’re covering the benefits of camp for both parent and child (page 15), what to look for and ask about to ensure the camp you send your child to is safe (page 6), tips for helping anxious kids enjoy summer camp (page 18) and summer camp tips and tricks (page 16). You’ll also find ads throughout this issue with information about many area camps.
This is our “Best” issue of the year – it’s the issue where we present your picks for the Best businesses in North Florida for Families. Turn to page 16 to find out who this year’s Winners are. Congratulations to all of the winners on the high honor of earning the praise and recognition from you, the parents of the children they serve.