Most frequently visited, of course, are the local playgrounds. The first one we discovered has been coined the "train park" because it backs up to the train tracks and large freight trains often pass by. That can be either good or bad, depending on how your kid feels about loud trains. (For my kids, it varies day to day.) They have a nice separate toddler area, larger climbing structures for the big kids and lots of picnic tables. The other great thing about this park is that it's right behind the local branch of the library, so we've taken to hitting storytime at the library and then hanging out for playtime at the park afterwards. All that family fun in walking distance from our house? Score!
Having a picnic at the park right around when we first moved in to this house!
The kids being the cutest at storytime at the library
Crafts at storytime
Playing in the tunnel at the playground
The swings are Ellie's favorite!
There's also the park we call the "seahorse park," which is Ellie's favorite park. It is so-called because of the seahorse rocking things in the toddler portion of the park. There are also swings (that I like because they're in the shade during the day), slides and various climbing structures. We frequent the seahorse park quite often!
Ellie at the seahorse park
To get to the seahorse park from our house, we walk along the river, which has allowed us to catch some great sunset views.
How gorgeous is that?
Shrimping at sunset
Pretty girl in silhouette
Another fun park space to walk to is Friendship Fountain, right across the river from downtown. Ellie loves to visit the fountain because rainy days often lead to a great number of puddles around the fountain, perfect for stomping in with polka dot rainboots. As for Eric and me, we enjoy the views!
Ellie having fun in the puddles around the fountain!
The Main Street Bridge, as seen from the fountain
Friendship Fountain at night
Downtown views from Friendship Fountain. The Wells Fargo building says, "Go Jaguars!"
Not far from Friendship Fountain is Treaty Oak, a 250-year-old Southern live oak in the middle of a park. The trunk of the tree is massive and the branches dip down to the ground. They've built a boardwalk around it so you can admire the tree up close. This is where we took the kids' Peter Pan and Tinkerbell costume portraits!
Ellie at Treaty Oak
Walking among the branches
Treaty Oak (and Ellie!) at sunset
We're also very near the Museum of Science and History, which I have heard is excellent but we have yet to make a visit. Perhaps in the new year we'll get ourselves a membership - that seems like a great cold-weather-day activity!
Last but not least on this list of San Marco highlights is San Marco Square. It is home to a variety of local shops and restaurants, and in some ways reminds me of Hoboken. The bars are hopping on weekend nights (though we have yet to check out that scene, given that we have a billion children at home that require bedtime routines and general supervision...killjoys), there's a cute little movie theater I'm just dying to actually enjoy, and the center of the square features a lovely fountain and lion statue. It's a nice place to walk around and enjoy the atmosphere, day or night!
San Marco Square
The fountain in the square
The movie theater. How badly do you want to see a movie here and then stop at a bar for a nice drink with your husband? Surely that can't be just me.
I'm really pleased with our new location. It's nice to be back in a place where I can walk to do what I want to do. Yes, we do still have to get in the car for Target or Publix or the post office, etc. It's still a far cry from our NYC life, which was lived almost entirely on foot (or public transit!). But just to be able to take a nice stroll with my family with a fun destination just minutes away is really, really nice. I'm so glad we found this area!