With a pro football team, sprawling suburbs and 20 miles of beaches, Jacksonville is definitely a family-friendly city. For families with young children, there is no shortage of child-centered events, activities and venues for birthday parties. For your child's third birthday, Jacksonville offers a variety of age-appropriate venues.
The Hands On Children's Museum (handsonchildrensmuseumjax.com) in Jacksonville is exactly as the name says: a completely hands-on, interactive museum for children as young as age 1. The museum encourages learning through play in all of its exhibits. Little ones age 3 and under may especially enjoy the Toddler Town exhibit. The museum offers several different party packages, all of which include admission to the museum, free party invitations and 90 minutes in their party room.
You can also celebrate your tot's birthday at the Beaches Museum & History Park (beachesmuseum.org) at Jacksonville Beach. Perfect after-birthday fun on the beach, their birthday package includes an old-fashioned steam train ride, a child-friendly museum tour and a scavenger hunt.
Child Play Centers
Jump! Zone (jumpzoneparty.com) is for energetic children, worn-out parents and birthday parties. The large indoor play gym features huge inflatable bounce houses, slides, and climbing structures, including a separate toddler zone. Your little one is sure to get a kick out of all the character-themed inflatables. Birthday party packages include open play admission, an inflatable birthday crown and throne, pizza, balloons, invitations and a party assistant.
Another play center to check out is Monkey Joe's (monkeyjoes.com), which also offers wall-to-wall inflatable play. The center emphasizes safety for children of all ages -- and has a separate area for children under age 3. Parties include two hours in a birthday suite, pizza, invitations and a special gift for the birthday kid.
For the 3-year-old who loves animals, celebrate his birthday at the Jacksonville Zoo (jacksonvillezoo.org). Home to more than 2,000 animals, the zoo offers birthday parties for children turning 3 and up. There are a variety of animal-themed party packages from which to choose, but they all include admission, a train ride, a gift for your child and even a zoo-themed birthday cake. Additional birthday options include a live animal to greet your kids and a trained educator to present touchable and/or non-touchable animals to enhance the fun experience.
An alternative to a zoo birthday party is a farm animal birthday at Double A Ranch & Stables (doublearanchpaints.com) in nearby Callahan. Here, kids have a chance to ride ponies and pet a variety of farm animals such as lambs and calves. A designated party area is also available.
One of the more unique places where you can celebrate your child's third birthday is Artoga (artoga.org), an art and yoga studio that teaches art, theater and yoga exercises to children as young as 12 months. You can choose one of their artistic themes, or work with the staff to create your own theme. Birthday packages include two hours of creative art activities, including tie-dying and jewelry making. Optional additions include photos, music and invitations.
Asbury Arts Center (nfdancecenter.net), which provides a wide variety of dance, music and martial art classes, also offers birthday parties for young children. You can choose anything from ballet-themed parties to karate parties, depending on what interests your child the most. Party packages include a class of your child's choice, birthday invitations, tableware and even discount coupons for each guest for another class.