I had a great time on my recent trip (end of September) to Jacksonville and Orlando, Florida to visit a close friend of mine. I was able to stay for 5 days, which sounds like a long time but definitely flew by way too fast!
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Getting to see goats, rhinos, elephants, birds, lions, tigers, giraffes, gorillas, lemurs, panthers, leopards, kangaroos, penguins, otters… Oh my!
There were also Asian gardens and koi pond, bamboo forests, Wildlife Carousel featuring different animals, Savanah Blooms Garden, and view of the ocean.
In addition, lovely statues of elephants, jaguar, gorilla, pandas, dolphin water park!
Though we had a bit of a late start, we managed to pack a lot in! Beautiful water; flamingos; dolphins that came up close; underwater view of the dolphins; colorful fish; sea turtles; awesome 3D show of sea turtles hatching and their journey; sharks and cool view of them above and below us; jellyfish; awesome whale & dolphin show, with spectacular display of humans in bird costumes doing acrobatics in the air and diving into the pool; Antarctica; super cute show show on a pirate ship about treasures with pirates, seal and otters; watching pearl diving; seeing Shamu! and checking out the lovely gift shops.
In the evening we hung out at Downtown Disney, where we visited some fun shops and had a delicious dinner.
Just hanging out in Orlando, meeting some new people, chilling out a pub, stopping by the Florida Mall, shopping around the area, and enjoying the pool!
Back to Jacksonville for a friend’s BBQ – Lots of delicious ribs (three different types: Dry rub, baby back and short with special sauce), mac and cheese and peach crumble.
We also spent some quality time at the beach. I loved it! The water was sooo nice and warm and fun to be in!
That night we went out bar hopping, starting with Murray’s Tavern for some good hanging out, a meal (lumpia and sweet potato fries- yum!) and pool then made our way to a bunch of other places such as Metro.
After going out, we spent the evening watching horror movie, The Depraved.
Spent the day at St. John’s Towncenter which is basically an outdoor stretch of a mall, with very palm trees lining the streets, a fountain area, an outdoor garden area with koi pond and a cool train shuttle and of course many shops such as Forever 21, aerie bebe, Ross, bareMinerals, Artsy Abode, Brighton Collectibles, and high end shops such as Louis Vuitton and much more!
We had lunch at Cheesecake Factory, where I had herb crusted salmon with mashed potatoes and asparagus, which was delicious and very filling even though it was the Lunch Special and supposedly smaller portions. The salmon was nicely seared and wonderfully flavored, while the mashed potato and asparagus were in a rich, savory, tasty white sauce.
Despite being quite full, my friend and I couldn’t resist ordering dessert as well. I picked the S’Mores Cheesecake, which was made out of delectable chocolate cheesecake with dark chocolate topping, graham cracker crust and roasted marshmallow.
After our lunch, we did some more shopping and hanging out then soon enough I had to be dropped off at the airport. I had a wonderful time with my friend in Florida and hope to visit again soon!