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Memorial Park, Jacksonville

4.4
#12 of 21 in Parks in Jacksonville
THE STORY OF MEMORIAL PARK

Built by the people of Jacksonville to honor the 1220 Floridians who died during World War I, Memorial Park, one of Jacksonville’s crown jewels, was dedicated Christmas Day 1924 on the banks of the St. Johns River. Designed by the renowned Olmsted Bros. landscape architecture firm, Memorial Park stands at the heart of one of Jacksonville’s great neighborhoods, within walking distance of a flourishing restaurant district and just a few blocks down the street from one of the city’s cultural treasures, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, as well as the nearby Riverside Arts Market.

When the weather is good, as it often is in Jacksonville, the park is crowded. Fishermen toss their line over the balustrades into the St. Johns River. Walkers, runners and cyclist circle through the park along the broad walkways. The great lawn is covered with people tossing Frisbees, kicking soccer balls, playing games of catch or just picnicking on blankets they set on the ground.

Since 1986, when the Memorial Park Association (MPA) was formed, the City of Jacksonville has had a partner in maintaining and nurturing this wonderful asset. The city provides security for the park and provides routine maintenance. The MPA’s job is to fill in the gaps in routine maintenance, spending about $20,000 a year on park maintenance.

But MPA does far more than assist in maintenance, taking on larger scale projects the city cannot or will not undertake.

On the MPA’s watch, Charles Adrian Pillars’ great sculpture “Life” has twice undergone restoration. Following major hurricane damage, restoration of the walkways and the landscape was completed in two phases by 2002. The MPA completed fundraising and dedicated two new bronze eagles, designed and cast by Diane LaFond Insetta in 2010.

2014 was very busy year for the MPA. Members raised more than $50,000 to help serve the MPA’s mission and contributed more 730 volunteer hours working in the park. The MPA secured an agreement with the City Council for a $200,000 matching grant for capital improvements and has, to date, raised $156,000 of that sum. The MPA held three major events in the park: a free Memorial breakfast in the park with support from local businesses, a free Veteran’s Day sunset concert by the U.S. Navy Band Southeast, and an Oktoberfest celebration.

But the MPA’s most ambitious project is still in the planning stages. In 2013 the board adopted a Master Plan, based on the recommendations of Atlanta landscape architect David Sacks. The goals of the Master Plan are “designed to restore the luster of the park, enhance its appeal to today’s visitors, and pass along intact to future generations the unique beauty and character of this spot.”
Take a look at our Jacksonville online trip planner to schedule your visit to Memorial Park and learn about what else to see and do during your holiday.
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Memorial Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
92 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • I am sure it would have been gorgeous if it wasn't raining. However, all you can do is walk around. The wall to protect you from falling into the water was down in places and it needed some work. Big ...  more »
  • Not only the park is beautiful to see the St Johns River but its location is at Riverside with beautiful old architectural homes but near great restaurants and 5 Point shopping area.  more »
  • Historic fencing damaged and almost gone with no expectations for repair. Grass has returned, but several feet under water will take time to recover. Such a shame about the beautiful fence posts.  more »
Google
  • This is a marvelous Park experience situated on the st. Johns River it offers so much to the residence as well as visitors. Well capped beautiful old trees lots of benches to sit and recline it definitely is a place to visit. Currently under repair due to the severe hurricane season here in Jacksonville but the preservation Society is dedicated to getting this fixed. Bring your kids bring your dogs bring a picnic lunch and bring some blankets it's a great way to whale weigh a lazy warm afternoon
  • One of my favorite parks in Jacksonville Florida. I caught my first fish with my father at this park when I was 7 years old. Memorial Park is located in the Riverside area. It is a gorgeous open Park. It is an ideal place for dog lovers runners, jogger and walkers. You can play soccer here you can have a picnic with your significant other here . You can even conduct a cool science experiment with your kids here. My sister got married at this park on Christmas Day 2014. This park is very special to my family and I one of the best in Jacksonville Florida.
  • It's a beautiful park during the day and dusk. At night all you have to do is be mindful of the people around you. Some walk and jog. Others sit and talk on the beautiful statue. It's still not finished from Irma but I know they'll get there. There's a huge space in the center where you can throw down a blanket and have a picnic or watch the stars. Even play catch with your kids. Just not enough parking though.
  • This is one of our favorite spots! It has always been a pleasure visiting this place. Children and pet friendly. Bring a picnic and enjoy the fresh air! Looking for a romantic spot or family time, this is the place to be.
  • I love the area and the park. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars now is that the guard by the water is damaged right now making it easy for a child to just run into the water. Hopefully it will be back up soon because it is such a relaxing environment. Lots of grassy areas to have a picnic, read, hang hammocks or just walk and talk.

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Where to stay in Jacksonville

Accommodations are spread out across Jacksonville and mainly consist of large hotels. For a more scenic stay, consider a hotel on the riverfront or the coast. Beachside accommodations provide the added benefit of being in a much quieter and slower-paced part of the city, but you are farther away from the majority of the city's cultural attractions. If you are planning a longer stay, consider a vacation rental with a kitchen to help ease food costs. These rentals are frequently located in residential neighborhoods.
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