Surviving the Summer: Things to Do with Littles in Jacksonville

summer activities for littlesAs a mom to two littles ages 1 and 3, summer means a lot of fun in the sun and cooling off indoors. We love to stay busy which means sometimes you need to get a little creative to keep things exciting, engaging and somewhat educational. Jacksonville has a ton of activities for toddlers and little kids!

My kids love a great park day — especially splash pads! — so hitting up our amazing local parks is something we always look forward to. We also enjoy participating in the summer reading programs at our local library — we look forward to spinning the wheel each week as we complete our reading logs. Read on for a few of our other favorite local summer activities for littles that go beyond a fun-filled day at the beach!

Fun at Sunshine Play + Learn in St. Augustine.
Exploring the Bay & Bee play space.

Indoor Play Spaces & Activities

Bravos Entertainment Center: There is something for everyone at Bravos. Worth a trip in for sure if you’re looking for summer activities for littles. The toddler area was so much fun!

Chuck E Cheese: We can easily spend several hours at Chuck E Cheese playing arcade games and dancing with Chuck E. This is a great way to beat the heat and can grab a bite to eat.

Museum of Science and History: We love exploring MOSH followed by a picnic lunch at the Friendship Fountain just before heading home for nap time. Corner Taco is a great stop for lunch nearby if we didn’t pack a lunch or want a special treat.

Play Factory & Cafe: The adorable Play Factory & Cafe space features a closed-in play area for babies and toddlers and a coffee shop with tables where you can keep a close on your littles while drinking a (gasp!) hot coffee.

SensoryTowne: This place is such a gem for little ones! My kids never want to leave SensoryTowne after our two-hour play pass is up. They have plenty of tables available to eat snacks or lunch, and they even have a few items available for purchase if you run out of snacks or water.

Sunshine Play + Learn: We can’t get enough of Sunshine Play + Learn in St. Augustine! I love that it is a safe place for both kids to play and explore. The fact that it is indoors is great to stay cool from the summer heat.

Trinity Indoor Play Space: This is like the Chick-fil-A play area on steroids. Both kids enjoy playing at Trinity while I can see them. The cafe has great coffee and snacks available to purchase but the play space is free for kids to play.

We Rock the Spectrum: My daughter loves the zip line and trampoline at We Rock the Spectrum. The play kitchen and dress-up items are also a big hit. The separate area for babies is nice also.

Story time and crafts at Dousserts.
Art for Tots class at Cummer Museum.
Story time at Doing Dishes.
Wee Darlings class at Art Darling.

Pop-Up Classes & Places that Require Reservations

Art Darling: The Wee Darlings class at Art Darling is the cutest sensory art class where kids under 3 can explore and discover art outside at their own pace and complete an art project to take home. Think of all the messy Pinterest projects you didn’t want to do at your house — that is what this class is all about.

Story Time at Doing Dishes: We enjoy painting a pottery piece every month at Doing Dishes that go along with a story, and it’s a great indoor activity. Toddlers can do this with some help. My daughter started around 18 months old and is now able to do the projects on her own.

Paisley Grace Makery Toddler Time: What a fun time this is with story time and mini-sign painting at Paisley Grace Makery in Fernandina Beach. This is perfect for children 1 to 8 years old. Younger toddlers will, of course, need some help. We love to make a day out of this at the nearby Pirate Playground and Timoti’s Seafood Shak.

Art for Tots at Cummer Museum: The beautiful Cummer Museum downtown offers a variety of summer classes for children of all ages. We love their Art for Tots class, which is ideal for kids ages 2 and 3.

Classes at Jacksonville Zoo: We absolutely love the zoo early education program. Nature’s Newbies is for 1- to 3-year-olds and Zoo Tots is for 3-5 years old. Audrey started Nature’s Newbies at 18 months old and is now enjoying Zoo Tots. Audrey loves exploring the awesome outdoor play area before and after class and sometimes we make a day of it and visit the zoo after class.

Outdoor Activities

Adventure Landing: With the options of an arcade, mini golf, and water park we always have a blast at Adventure Landing. I love that there is a mixture of activities indoors and outdoors so if you get overheated you can cool off for a bit. Their discounted Kids’ Play Days in May and August are also a must!

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens: Seeking more summer activities for littles? There’s something magical about the Jacksonville Zoo that doesn’t get old. Being zoo members, we don’t worry about seeing everything every zoo visit. Visiting the giraffes are monkeys is always a must for us!

Deerwood Rotary Children’s Park offers excitement for toddlers and big kids alike!

Toddler-Friendly Parks

South Beach Park & Sunshine Playground (Jacksonville Beach): This popular Jacksonville Beach park includes a large fenced-in play area that children and toddlers love to explore, along with a splash pad. 2514 South Beach Parkway, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

Alpine Groves Park (St. Johns County): We love the butterfly garden and how shaded the park is. The trails are also great for a stroll after some playground time. 2060 FL-13, Switzerland, FL 32259

Deerwood Rotary Children’s Park (Southside): This colorful park is ideal for kids under 5, while also having a bigger play structure to appeal to older kids. There are baby swings and the soft play surface is great for toddlers and early walkers. 7901 Baymeadows Road East, Jacksonville, FL 32256

Bull Memorial Park (Atlantic Beach): Tucked away in a cute Atlantic Beach neighborhood, Bull Park is just a short walk from the shops of Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach! The space features a large sand playground and a covered play area fit for climbing. The best part? It’s fenced in, so you can easily keep a close eye on your littles! 716 Ocean Boulevard, Atlantic Beach, FL 32233

Bonus Spots

IKEA: We love to play house while I stroll through the showrooms and the kids play in the kids’ showroom for a while before we enjoy lunch at the cafe. Last summer, they offered Kids’ Club activities (reservation was required for those).

Grow Family: I love the family yoga classes and open play time here. Such a great way to spend time and stay cool. They have memberships and drop-in rates, and they offer a free mom/dad meet-up once a week.

Where are some of your favorite local summer activities for littles?

Maya Sutherland
Maya is a full-time SAHM who squeezes in part-time work as a Local Childcare Consultant for an au pair agency.  She was born in Ohio but has spent most of her childhood and adult life in Florida. She is André's devoted wife and mother to Audrey, Mason and her fur baby, Egyptian Mau cat named Midnight. Maya earned an A.S. in Culinary Dietetic Technician and a B.A.S in Supervision and Management from Florida State College at Jacksonville. Her professional background is in management and most recently she managed a skilled nursing facility food service department staff of 15.  Maya has a long-time love affair with food and is happiest when she is in the kitchen preparing fresh, homemade meals for her family, utilizing her numerous gadgets and food preparation-specialty items. She also is an aspiring business owner but hasn't figured out what she wants to do 'when she grows up' yet.  In her spare time, she loves painting rocks, coloring using colored pencils,  yoga,  listening to podcasts or audiobooks,  and online shopping. You can follow her at Instagram @5spicechef, and Facebook @5spicechef.


    • I would suggest Palmetto Leaves Regional Park off Greenland Rd. They have a fabulous zip line that kids around that age will love! Also check out Pickwick Park(Betty Wolfe Park),Mandarin Park, and Alpine Groves Park. Thanks for reading my blog post!❤


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here