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Memorial Park, Jacksonville

4.5
#13 of 36 in Parks in Jacksonville
Park · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
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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 4.5
120 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • My client recommended we walk around the park and take in some more Jacksonville sites but this was the only one we had time for be hitting the road. Lovely park by the water in a wonderful... 
    My client recommended we walk around the park and take in some more Jacksonville sites but this was the only one we had time for be hitting the road. Lovely park by the water in a wonderful...  more »
  • The first two pics do not represent the park well. The balustrade (cement fence) is long since gone making it significantly less a romantic stroll. The metal guard rails instead have been there for a....  more
    The first two pics do not represent the park well. The balustrade (cement fence) is long since gone making it significantly less a romantic stroll. The metal guard rails instead have been there for a....  more »
Google
  • Amazing River front park. Tree lined walking path. Best place for watching squirrels 🐿 Lots of shade and green grass to relax. Benches galore to sit and people watch. Very clean with lots of trash cans. Faucets turn on to fill you doggy bowl. Entrance has poop bag dispenser if you forget to bring your own. Posting this July 2022. There is construction at the statue area till fall. Unfortunately no human restrooms. Lots of nearby businesses to go explore
  • What a beautiful place to enjoy so peace by the river side. The park has an open grassy area, great to toss a Frisbee or football around. There's a path around the park that you can walk/run. There are several restaurants and a Publix grocery store within a short distance so you can grab food to go and have a nice outdoor dining experience. There are benches that line the park and the water's edge to just sit and relax on.

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