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Move on down to River City for vacation

Less than 125 miles from Valdosta lies a city full of life. Jacksonville is the largest city in the state of Florida and has plenty of attractions to offer, so plan on making multiple trips down south. There is something for everyone in River City.
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, home to over 1,500 rare and exotic animals, is sure to be a hit with any animal lover. Talk a walk through the African Loop to see Nile crocodiles, cheetahs and elephants. Or maybe you would rather visit the Range of the Jaguar. This award winning exhibit is home to jaguars, anacondas, howler monkeys and the largest species of freshwater fish, arapaima. If you are more of an interactive person, Stingray Bay re-opens on February 27, 2010. This is your chance to feed and interact with stingrays. February 20, 2010 is the Wild Bird Festival, where you have a chance to interact and learn about wild birds.
The zoo is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 5:00 and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 to 6:00. Admission for adults is $13.00 and children are $8.00. The zoo also offers train rides through the entire park for $4.00.
If you’re looking for a more relaxing beach getaway, then head over to Huguenot Memorial Park where you can drive and park on the beach for $3.00 a car or $.50 a person. Pack a picnic and a blanket and let the roar of the ocean drown out your thoughts. It is not crowded in the off-season, so take this chance to escape from it all.
One of the most popular attractions in River City is the Jacksonville Landing. Right on the banks of the St. John’s River, the Landing is a great place for hanging out. There is shopping and over 20 choices of dining. All of that with a great view of downtown and the river. There are great places to go and cut loose with friends. If you’re looking to get in touch with your southern roots, I would recommend Maverick’s Rock N’ Honk Tonk. A mix between country and southern rock, complete with a mechanical bull, is sure to be a boot scootin’ good time for all. Live music is always playing at the Landing. Check out www.jacksonvillelanding.com for more information on upcoming events.
Springing the Blues is a free outdoor blues festival to celebrate the classic sounds of the blues. This three-day oceanfront event has been named one of the top 50 musical festivals in the country, according to Downbeat Magazine. Beginning April 9, the Jacksonville Beach on the Oceanfront SeaWalk Pavilion will be taken over by the sounds of many top blues artists and won’t be surrendered until April 11. Visit www.springingtheblues.com for more information including the artists and times of each performance.
River City is a fun and cheap with many free events open to the public. So if you don’t want to spend another Saturday in Valdosta doing the same old thing, head down I-75 and take exit 435 onto I-10 heading east into Jacksonville. According to mapquest.com, it will take about $30.00 round trip on gas in a 20 mpg car. So call up your friends, split the cost and make the drive. With so much that’s less than two hours away, you will be sure to enjoy your time spent in River City and the money you saved in your wallet.

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