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Visit us online at

In this issue: Holidays


December 2017

What, Where & When for Kids!

at Adventure Landing

Open through January 8 Proudly Sponsored By


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appy Holidays!

To help you get prepared and make the most of the holiday season, we’ve assembled gift ideas for the kids in your life (page 11), where to find a Christmas Tree Farm (page 13), Holiday Events (pages 19 and 20), Hanukkah Events (page 16), Ways to Give During the Holidays (page 10), Winter Camps (page 15) and much more throughout this issue. You’ll find more even Holiday events and Winter Camps online at If you don’t yet follow us on Facebook, you may want to as we have a surprise for you beginning December 1. It’s our 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways and you can get in on the winning @ Jax4Kids.

both of their locations – Tinseltown and Avondale. If you are not already registered, there is a 50% off coupon on page 13. • Teachers, see page 21 for a special discount On the cover this month is WinterFEST at Ad from Atlantic Self Storage just for you. venture Landing. One of your favorite summer • Hosting a party soon? Find a coupon for entertainment venues has been transformed into WinterFEST with ice skating, a 130 foot long Airtat Airbrush Tattoos and Face Painting on page 13. ice slide, s’mores roasting, ornament and sugar • Get free Winter Camp registration at Creative cookie decorating, reindeer games and more. You’ll find a coupon for FREE Ice Skate Rentals on Minds Academy’s two locations- Deerwood Park and Durbin Crossing (see page 2 for page 31. They are offering WinterFEST Birthday Parties. If you have a child celebrating a birthday details. between now and January 8th, you can get more • On page 4, you will find a FREE haircut for new customers or $6 off an MVP haircut for information and book your party online at www. returning customers at any of Sports Clips There is also a coupon for five locations throughout North Florida. $20 off of a birthday party at Adventure Landing on page 31. Find more savings online at on our Deals & Discounts page. Here are a few more ways to save money: • Marvel Universe Live will be on stage at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena It’s been our pleasure to provide you quality January 19 – 21 and you can save $5 on information services in print, online at Jax4Kids. tickets by using the code J4KMUL. Tickets com, via social media and at events throughout are available at, at the box the year. We wish you and your family a joyous holiday season! office or by calling 1-800-745-3000. • Save $4 off admission to Crayola Experience Orlando by using the code JAX4KIDS. See Until next year, page 14 for details. • Need childcare during the holidays while you Alison Peters-Carlson Editor attend a holiday party or go shopping? KidsPark offers hourly drop in child care at

Follow us... Alison Peters-Carlson Editor....................................... Linda Bigbee Graphic Tim Chavez Graphic Designer........................................... Judi Fields Circulation Beth Canonica Advertising Sales.................................... Scott Medlin Advertising Sales...................................... Donna Paunetto Advertising Sales.............................. Mary Gustafson Business Manager............................... Published by Child Enrichment, LLC, 12620-3 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32246. Copyright 2017. Reproduction of any artwork or copy prepared by To Go is strictly prohibited without written consent of the publisher. We will not be responsible for any errors and/or omissions. The Publisher’s liability for error will not exceed the cost of space occupied by the error. Articles for publication are welcome and may be sent to For more information concerning advertising, call 904-710-2020 or e-mail

December 2017

LIVING WELL Community Profile: Get Ready for the Party ..............................................4 Mom’s Night Out Events............................................................................5

HEALTH & SAFETY Outdoor Light Key To Battling Myopia.........................................................7 40 Million Fire Extinguishers Recalled........................................................7 Things to Do: Health & Safety....................................................................7


Cord Blood: To Save or Not........................................................................8 Things to Do: Infants and Toddlers............................................................8


Ways to Give During the Holidays............................................................10 Christmas Books ...................................................................................10 Tops Toys for Christmas..........................................................................11 Find A Christmas Tree Farm....................................................................13 Winter Camps........................................................................................15 Is This Santa Claus?...............................................................................15 Hanukkah Events ...................................................................................16 Holiday Events .................................................................................18-19


Preparing for College for Students with Disabilities...................................20 Things To Do: Special Needs...................................................................20

EDUCATION Encourage More Holiday Writing .............................................................21 Things to Do: Education .........................................................................21


School Choice Expo.........................................................................24-25 Who will be our next Superintendent?....................................................26

ST. JOHNS COUNTY SCHOOL NEWS A Cool Way to Spend a Summer..............................................................27 Open Wide ............................................................................................27 Save the Date.........................................................................................27 Shark Attack ..........................................................................................27 Creekside Making a Difference................................................................27


Technology Infrastructure Expanded........................................................28 Clay Teachers Shine................................................................................28 Ridgeview Takes Home 9 Trophies...........................................................28 ROBOWARS...........................................................................................28 Welcome Discovery Oaks........................................................................28


Video Game Addiction A Worsening Problem............................................29 Things to Do: Teens................................................................................29


Holiday Pet Poison Tips ..........................................................................30


December Events...................................................................................30

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Community Profile:

Get Ready For The Party


et for Saturday, Dec. 16, from 9 a.m. until to 12:30 p.m. (or until the toys run out), The Children’s Christmas Party of Jacksonville is a long and loving tradition in Jacksonville.

names of sponsors are featured in all event signage and promotion throughout the year. So be part of Jacksonville’s happiest holiday tradition, please see for corporate and individual pledge form that can be mailed to: The Children’s Christmas Party of Jacksonville PO Box 5338 Jacksonville, Florida 32247-5338

It all began in 1957. Dorcas Drake, the granddaughter of Gov. Napoleon Broward and a long-time politico and justice of the peace, held a party for 350 children. Under her tutelage and with the help of many volunteers and donors, the annual Dorcas Drake Christmas Party grew to enormous proportions, serving more than 50,000 in the early 1980s. After Drake’s death in 1993, the organization struggled. In 1998, local philanthropists Travis and Margaret Storey became involved. The next year, they helped form a local non-profit to put on The Children’s Christmas Party of Jacksonville.

Meanwhile in Clay County the 36th Annual J.P. HALL Christmas Party for Clay County’s underprivileged children will be held on the same day (Saturday, Dec.16th) at the Clay County Fairgrounds, 2497 State Road 16 West, Green Cove Springs, from 8 a.m. until noon. Named for a former Clay County sheriff, The Christmas Party is open to any county resident. Santa is on hand for any child who would like to visit him. Each child from newborn thru fourteen years old receives a bag of three new toys based on age and gender. The child may then select one used toy, and free clothing is available for the entire family, thanks to a partnership with the Orange Park Clothes Closet. Bikes are given away on a first come, first served basis. Hot dogs,

Held annually at the Prime Osborne Convention Center on Water Street in downtown Jacksonville, the Party serves as many of 7,000 children who otherwise would not receive gifts for Christmas. Participants and their parents usually begin lining up the night before (first come, first served) to be greeted by Santa and Mrs. Claus and entertained by the hundreds of volunteers who hand out toys chosen by the children from a selection of electronics, balls, games, musical instruments, preschool learning toys and infant toys, as well as novelty toys, books and pencils. Last year on a very cold day, 4,500 children stood in line. Enough funds had been collected to buy 20,000 brand new toys including 600 bikes, wagons and scooters. In addition, 60,000 of Ja-Ru’s novelty toys and helmets from FDOT’s Community Traffic Safety Program were handed out. popcorn and cokes are provided. Entertainers perform Christmas carols for the enjoyment of This year they are expecting 7,000 children. If both the volunteers and the participants. Although you interested in supporting this loving event, you the line can be long, it generally moves quickly can volunteer your time helping out and/or make and the Party will not end until everyone in line a personal or corporate fully tax-deductible receives gifts. The outside gates will close donation. Each $5,000 or more donor is promptly at noon. considered a sponsor and receives a free Toy Booth which is decorated with their corporate or See for information on how to organizational banner and filled with new toys to get involved or donate. j hand out. The Toy Booth can be staffed by their volunteers or staffing can be provided. The

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Mom’s Night Out Events Autobahn Ladies Night Out Fridays, December 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, after 6pm Autobahn Indoor Speedway hosts Ladies Night Out, every Friday after 6pm. Ladies will receive $5 off single races. Not valid on holidays. Autobahn Indoor Speedway / 904-674-8551 / 6601 Executive Park Ct N, Jacksonville, FL 32216 /​ Seachasers Girl’s Night Out Networking + Social December 5, 5:30pm to 8:30pm Grab a girlfriend for a fun night out of networking, shopping and mingling. All women are welcome to attend the free Networking Socials but please register your ticket via Eventbrite. Vendors will also be doing giveaways and raffles all night. Seachasers / 831 1st Street North, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250 / Holiday Entertaining with Castello Specialty Cheese Experts December 8, 6:30pm Find the perfect pairings for your holiday party. Join Lesley Stowe Fine Foods, Joel Gott wine and Castello cheese experts as they share how to craft meal solutions that will make your party unforgettable. This event is for adults, and is perfect for a mom’s night out! Cost is $50/seat. Publix Aprons Cooking School / 904-262-4187 / 10500 San Jose Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32257 / Strike - Women’s Self-Defense Workshop December 13, 7:30pm to 9pm A Strike Women’s Self Defense Workshop is a great way to be safer and better prepared. This 1-hour workshop combines self-defense education and hands-on practice using one of the easiest and most practical self-defense tools on the market. The Munio Designer Self Defense Keychain is a unique, attractive and effective personal safety accessory. Working hands-on in

simulated attack scenarios, you will learn and practice easy and natural ways to use a Munio that can rapidly disable an attacker so you can escape. Learning to use the Munio can make your keychain a highly effective self-defense tool that’s right in the palm of your hand. Each student will receive a Munio Keychain of your choice with this class. Ages 14 and over. Cost is $65 each. The Women’s Defense Company / 904-655-7772 / 13241 Bartram Park Boulevard #405, Jacksonville, FL 32258 / Ladies Night Out at Doing Dishes Pottery Studio December 22, 6pm to 9pm Ladies Night is a fun night to paint what you want/how you want and socialize with your friends. Ladies Night is for adults 18 and up. Just make a reservation, pay the $8 nonrefundable deposit and bring your own beverage. Snacks and prizes will be provided. Doing Dishes / San Jose Location / 904-730-3729 / 5619 San Jose Blvd, Jacksonville FL 32207 Saint Johns Location / 904-824-7774 / 2220 CR210 W Suite 309, Saint Johns, FL 32259 Natural Make Up Eye Shadows, Blush, Lip Stick, Eyeliner & Natural Mascara December 23, 6pm to 9pm Paraticipants will learn how to create from scratch two mineral eyeshadows, one blush, and blend your very own colors. Learn the different waxes to use in lip gloss, lips balm and lip sticks, plus how to create colors that last on your lips. You will also learn how to blend signature colors, and create products for the lashes and liners the natural way. All materiels included in cost of class. $65. Green Lotus Studios, The Studios at Florida School of Holistic Health / 904-465-0985 / 1506 King St, Jacksonville, FL 32204 /

Offer expires December 31, 2017

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Outdoor Light Key To Battling Myopia


he ready availability of technology may make the children of today faster at configuring a new smartphone, but does all of that screen time affect the development of their eyes? While conventional wisdom dictates that children should do less up-close viewing, sit farther from the television and perhaps even wear their eyeglasses less, we have found in recent studies that another factor may be at play: Kids need to go outside, and, if not play, at least get some general exposure to outdoor light. To our surprise, more time outdoors had a protective effect and reduced the chances that a child would go on to need myopic refractive correction in the future. The size of the effect was impressive.

studied this question for over 20 years in 4,979 children as part of the Collaborative Longitudinal Evaluation of Ethnicity and Refractive Error (CLEERE) Study, funded by the National Eye Institute, in order to put near-work, computer use and watching television in their proper place – essential for study and recreation but not an important factor in whether a child will need glasses. Impressive differences for prevention If a child has two nearsighted parents, the hereditary genetic effects increase the child’s chances of needing glasses to about 60 percent, if time spent outdoors is low.

40 Million Extinguishers Recalled


ore than 40 million Kidde fire extinguishers equipped with plastic handles, some on the market for more than 40 years, have been recalled. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, “The fire extinguishers can become clogged or require excessive force to discharge and can fail to activate during a fire emergency. In addition, the nozzle can detach with enough force to pose an impact hazard.”

The recall affects both plastichandle and push-button More time outdoors, about 14 hours per week, Pindicator Kidde fire extinguishcan nearly neutralize that genetic risk, lowering ers, including 134, ABC- or the chances of needing glasses to about 20 BC-rated models manufactured between Jan. 1, What causes nearsightedness? percent, the same chance as a child with no 1973, and Aug. 15, 2017. The extinguishers are Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a condition in nearsighted parents claims. Parents may ask: red, white or silver and were sold in the US and which you can’t see far away but can see up What about children who already wear glasses? Canada through a wide range of retailers from close – without glasses or contact lenses. It Does more time outside help already nearsighted Montgomery Ward to Amazon. The recall website typically starts during the early elementary school children? ( Because kids don’t know how other kids extinguishers-with-plastic-handles-due-tosee, they often think their blurry vision is normal, Unfortunately, we and others have found that time failure-to-discharge-and) shows how to easily so regular eye examinations are important during outdoors has little to no effect on how prescripidentify the affected extinguishers. If you have childhood. tions change over time in children who are already nearsighted, although more study of this With myopia, the eye is growing, but growing too is ongoing. long for distant rays of light to focus accurately on the back of the eye. A blurry image results. Enlightening theories So what’s so good about being outdoors for a For children, eyeglasses or contact lenses move child without glasses? There are several theories. Cosmic Yoga For Kids the focus back to the retina, and a clear image is December 8, 15, 22, 3:30pm to 4:15pm formed. The too-long eye measured from front to One is that children may exercise more when Kids entering grades K-5 can practice Cosmic back cannot be “shrunk,” so refractive correction they are out of doors and that exercise is Kids Yoga with Ms. Colleen and Ms. Nicole. is then a lifelong necessity. In adulthood, surgery somehow protective. Another is that more Yoga is a great way to increase flexibility, lower is an option. ultraviolet B radiation from the sun makes for stress, and improve energy. Learn to relax your more circulating vitamin D, which somehow mind and body with some simple, kid-friendly But kids don’t always like wearing glasses, prevents abnormal childhood eye growth and stretches, exercises and activities. Class starts sometimes with good reason. It is harder to play myopia onset. Yet another is that light itself slows promptly at 3pm. In order for participants sports in them. Swimming is nearly impossible, abnormal myopic eye growth and that outdoors, to achieve a calm, fun practice certain steps and kids tend to lose or break them. are followed and program must be allowed to light is simply brighter. proceed without disruption. Please wear loose Myopia on the rise clothing and bring your own towel or mat. The dominant theory is that the brighter light A worldwide epidemic of nearsightedness has Space is limited to the first 15 participants. outside stimulates a release of dopamine from St. Johns County Public Library - Anastasia been reported, associated with a combination of specialized cells in the retina. Dopamine then Island Branch / 904-209-3730 / 124 Seagrove genetic and environmental factors. Besides initiates a molecular signaling cascade that ends Main Street, St. Augustine, FL 32080 / www. creating the need to wear eyeglasses or contact with slower, normal growth of the eye, which lenses or to seek a surgical remedy, myopia can means no myopia. result in blinding eye diseases late in life, like Community CPR/AED retinal detachment or degeneration. Evidence from our work and from animal models December 12, 6pm to 9pm of myopia indicate it’s the actual light exposure, This course offers certification in Community Risk Factors include having myopic parents. A not just a decrease in the time spent reading CPR and includes instruction and certification debate about the influence of reading and other because children are outdoors, that may work the in Adult, Child & Infant CPR. Includes AED and close work has flourished for more than a magic. Choking. Certification is through ASHI (American century. Safety & Health Institute.) Upon registering, you There’s clearly much more to learn, but before will get an email confirmation which will serve The bad actor in the environment was always as your reminder of the date, time, location and you send your children out to run around the assumed to be near work, such as reading, what to bring with you. Cost is $40. block, remind them to put on sunscreen and to Babies R Us (Orange Park Location) / 904-434sewing and now computer, video game and wear sunglasses.j 6032 / 6001 Argyle Forest Blvd, Orange Park, FL smartphone usage. That theory makes so much 32244 / intuitive sense. But near-work is not to blame. We Karla Zadnik/Don Mutti – The Ohio State University

one of these models, send it back to Kidde for a free replacement. See home-safety/en/us/ In the recall, Kidde also acknowledged the free replacement push-button extinguisher being sent to personal watercraft owners is similar in size to the recalled model but may not fit in the same location as the old fire extinguisher. “This may require a slightly different mounting orientation or location.” The commission says there have been approximately 391 reports of failed or limited activation or nozzle detachment, including one fatality; approximately 16 injuries, including smoke inhalation and minor burns; and approximately 91 reports of property damage. Kidde may also be contacted toll-free at 855271-0773 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday. j

Things to Do Health & Safety

Winter Wellness: Cold & Flu Herbal Medicine Making December 15, 6:30pm to 9:30pm Learn the herbs, friendly bacteria and food sources to defend, combat and recover from Colds & Flu. Class is $25 for non-members, plus a $10 supply fee that will be due in class. Green Lotus Studios, The Studios at Florida School of Holistic Health / 904-465-0985 / 1506 King Street, Jacksonville, FL 32204 / www. Run Santa Run December 22, 5:30pm The Run Santa Run offers a 5K as well as a 1 mile fun run. The race will feature Christmas lights, decorations, and music along the course, a Candy Cane station, Hershey Kiss Station, Cookie Station, custom Santa finisher medals to all participants, and hot chocolate. All participants will also receive a Santa suit to wear during the run. Race entry fees range from $15 to $40. Henry J. Klutho Park / 204 W 3rd Street, Jacksonville, FL 32206 / Visit for more events to keep you and your family active and healthy.

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Cord Blood: To Save or Not


here are so many things to think about when you have a child. One of them is the blood from your baby’s umbilical cord (which connects the baby to the mother while in the womb). It used to be thrown away at birth, but now, many parents store the blood for the future health of their child. Should you do it?


Where Is It stored? There are three options: 1. Public cord banks don’t charge anything for storage. Any donation made is available for anyone who needs it. The bank may also use the donated cord blood for research. What Can It Be Used For? 2. Private (commercial) cord banks will store the The umbilical cord fluid is loaded with stem cells. donated blood for use by the donor and family They can treat cancer, blood diseases like members only. These banks charge a fee for anemia, and some immune system disorders, processing and an annual fee for storage. which disrupt your body’s ability to defend itself. 3. Direct-donation banks are a combination of The fluid is easy to collect and has 10 times more public and private banks. They store cord blood stem cells than those collected from bone for public use. But they also accept donations marrow. Stem cells from cord blood rarely carry reserved for families. No fee is charged. any infectious diseases and are half as likely to Should You Bank Your Baby’s Cord Blood? be rejected as adult stem cells. It depends on who you ask. Although commercial How Do You Get It? cord blood banks often bill their services as If you want the blood stored, after the birth, the “biological insurance” against future diseases, the blood doesn’t often get used. One study says doctor clamps the umbilical cord in two places, the chance that a child will use their cord blood about 10 inches apart, and cuts the cord, separating mother from baby. Then she inserts a over their lifetime is between 1 in 400 and 1 in needle and collects at least 40 milliliters of blood 200,000. j from the cord. The blood is sealed in a bag and sent to a lab or cord blood bank for testing and

Kids really do say the funniest things! Please share your favorites with us by e-mailing your story directly to One entry each month will be turned into a cartoon to be published in the next issue of Jax4Kids. We’ll send you the original cartoon as a keepsake.

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Things to Do Infant & Toddler

Baby’s First Christmas December 2, 12noon Join staff in store for a special Baby’s First Christmas celebration. Enjoy fun activities including a craft and story time. Plus, enjoy prizes & giveaways. Register online in advance, so they know how many to expect. Babies R Us, St. Johns Town Center / 4875 Town Center Parkway, Jacksonville, FL 32246 /

with them through each station. Please note that Little Learners encourages child/caregiver interaction and requires one registered adult per two children. Due to the popularity of these events, we highly recommend you register in advance to guarantee your place. Once online availability is gone, no further tickets will be sold at the door. (Caregivers must register themselves and their children for each month’s program). Admission is $6/person for ages 3 and up. This month’s theme is Frosty Fun. Museum of Science and History / 904-3966674 / 1025 Museum Circle, Jacksonville, FL 32207 /

Mom’s Matter: Post-Partum Support Group December 6, 13, 20, 27, 10am to 11:30am Having a baby can be both exciting and yet very overwhelming. Most mothers experience the baby blues which can subside in a few weeks. Sometimes these feelings don’t go away and even may increase in symptoms. Coming together with other mothers and hearing what they are going through may help you. Baptist Health offers a new support group for mothers who are experiencing any type of pregnancy or postpartum mood issues. You will receive support from others with similar experiences as well as be taught skills to help alleviate sympHappiest Baby on the Block Class toms and maybe make a few friends along the December 5, 6:30pm to 8pm way. This group is for any mother experiencing Learn the five simple techniques, developed by perinatal mood symptoms during pregnancy or the renowned pediatrician Harvey Karp, M.D. anytime during the baby’s first year. To attend to promote the common reflex in your newborn you do not have to be a Baptist Health patientbaby. Taught by a certified Happiest Baby Inall are welcome to attend the group! The group structor this class will teach you just how easy is free, but please register in advance, so they it is to use these simple steps to calm a fussy know how many to expect. crying baby. The ideal class to attend before December 6 and 20 held at the Ponte Vedra your baby is born. Parents will take home the location; December 13 and 27 at the Riverside set of Happiest Baby on the Block DVD and location. music CD. Expectant parents are encouraged to register for classes early, as space is limited. Y Healthy Living Center / 904-202-3140 / www. You do not have to be a Baptist Health patient to attend the class. Cost is $30. Registration and Y Healthy Living Center Ponte Vedra / 170 Landrum Lane, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082 pre-payment is required to reserve your spot. Y Healthy Living Center Riverside / 221 RiverCost of this class includes 2 participants. side Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32202 Y Healthy Living Center Riverside / 904-2022229 / 221 Riverside Avenue, Jacksonville, FL Baby Care Basics 32202 / December 30, 9:30am Tiny Tots Playdate at Skate Station Mandarin This class will teach you the practical and essential skills needed for your newborn durDecember 6, 13, 20, 27, 10am to 12noon Parents are invited to bring their children, ages ing the first three months after birth. These 6 and younger, for a Tiny Tots Playdate at Skate skills include all the basics of infant care from diapering and bathing (using demonstration Station Mandarin. Kids can bring their Big Wheels, non-motorized cars, walkers, strollers, dolls), safe swaddling/sleeping, infant massage, comfort cues, feeding tips and when to call the and more. Admission is $7/child and includes doctor. What to buy for baby will be discussed roller skating and kid’s adventure soft play. Skate Station Mandarin / 904-880-7703 / 3461 as well. Participants do not have to be Baptist patients. Expectant parents are encouraged to Kori Road, Jacksonville, FL 32257 / funworks. complete classes as soon as possible so regiscom ter early as space is limited. Cost of this class includes 2 participants. Cost is $55. Little Learners at MOSH Y Healthy Living Center Northside / 904-202December 13, 9:30am to 11:30am 2229 / 11236 Baptist Health Drive, Jacksonville, Bring your little ones to MOSH on the second FL 32218 / Wednesday of every month for exclusive programming designed for learning and developVisit’s Infant and ment and watch them grow. These programs encompass various learning styles and activities Toddler Events guide, online at for preschool aged children that help to enhance their skills and dexterity. All activities are designed to encourage caregivers to engage their little ones in conversations and to work Toddler Time at Rebounderz December 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 9:30am to 11:30am Rebounderz offers Toddler Time from 9:30am to 11:30am for ages 5 and under. One adult is admitted for free with each child’s $8 paid admission. A valid waiver & Rebounderz jump socks are required for all participants. On December 18-19, there will also be a special Christmas Party Celebration. Rebounderz / 904-300-0070 / 14985 Old St. Augustine Road, Jacksonville, FL 32258 /

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Ways to Give During Holidays ‘T

is the season of giving! If you’re looking for organizations to support during the season, we have compiled this list of places that can use your help during the holidays.

of providing hands-on support for our troops deployed overseas and returning home. It is the mission of Operation Shoebox to meet the needs of every hero with dignity and appreciation. Whether it looks like packing coffee, socks, OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD toothpaste and sports gear into care packages Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evan- or sending letters of encouragement, whether gelical Christian organization providing spiritual it looks like organizing fundraisers or collecting and physical aid to hurting people around the supplies for homeless veterans. , To help out you world. Each Christmas they sponsor Operation can volunteer, send candy and care packages, Christmas Child and invite donors to fill a shoebox or give money. See to with gifts for a deserving child. To donate and for discover how. more information see their website: TOYS FOR TOTS The mission of the Toys for Tots program is to CHRIST’S STARFISH FOUNDATION collect new, unwrapped toys and distribute those Christ’s Starfish Foundation is devoted to two toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the things. They work with the child life specialists community. Last year they were able to provide at Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, toys for over 15,000 Jacksonville-area children. Shands Hospital in Gainesville and Sacred Heart To support the program by volunteering and Hospital in Pensacola to help all the children donating or to request toys for needy children see in the hospital. One of its biggest projects is their website at to provide gifts for the children who are in the hospital on Christmas Day. To Donate: Send a CHILDREN’S MIRACLE NETWORK check or money order to Christ’s Starfish Founda- More than 10 million kids enter a children’s hostion, 11750 Coastal Lane West, Jacksonville, FL pital across North America every year. To provide 32258. For more info see the best care for kids, children’s hospitals rely on donations and community support, as Medicaid RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES and insurance programs do not fully cover the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville cost of care. Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Netsupports the health and well-being of children by work Hospitals has helped fill those funding gaps providing lodging and other services for critically by raising more than $5 billion, most of it $1 at ill, chronically ill and seriously injured children a time through Miracle Balloon icon campaigns. and their families. Their cornerstone program, the For ideas on how to help by starting a campaign, Jacksonville Ronald McDonald House, has been donating time or money or partnering with the serving children and families for 28 years. The organization see childrensmiraclenetworkhospiHouse has offered support and temporary lodging to more than 33,000 families while their sick or injured children have received medical care at BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF NORTHEAST FLORIDA Jacksonville hospitals and clinics. See rmhcjack- The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of to volunteer or to donate items for east Florida is to inspire and enable all young their Wish List. people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responSALVATION ARMY’S ANGEL TREE sible and caring citizens. The organization is an The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program proaffiliate of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the navides Christmas gifts for children up to age 12 tion’s most effective youth development organizawhose families have proven financial hardship. tion. Chartered on July 23, 1962, the Boys’ Club These are kids who, without the generosity of of Jacksonville now serves over 5,000 members people in our community, might not otherwise 25 locations throughout Duval and St. Johns receive gifts for Christmas. counties. Your gift will help provide Northeast Florida’s youth with a safe and positive place to When you pick an angel from the tree, you will go to during the after-school hours and access to have the information you need to make that over 30 effective programs and services. For info child’s Christmas brighter, including the child’s on how to donate see j first name, clothing size, age, and details about what kinds of gifts they might like to receive. See for locations to pick up an angel tag and to drop off gifts in your area. OPERATION SHOEBOX Operation Shoebox embraces a practical mission

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Christmas Books REFUGE This beautiful book (ages 4 to 8) by Anne Booth and Sam Usher, offers a new perspective on the nativity story – emphasizing the struggle of Mary and Joseph as refugees – and provides a charitable opportunity. With each book sold, $1 will go to the UN Refugee Agency, making “Refuge” the gift that keeps on giving.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, SQUIRRELS! Christmas is better when squirrels are together. Featuring photographs of wild in handcrafted holiday settings, “Merry Christmas, Squirrels!” (ages 3 to 6) by Nancy Rose is a stunning reminder that there’s no greater gift than family.

CHRISTMAS COOKIES This scrumptious follow-up to the bestselling Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons captures the spirit of the holiday season. From making the same kind of cookies at the same time each year (tradition) to decorating them with lots of sprinkles (celebrate), youngsters will gobble up vocabulary words and holiday lessons in this charming dictionary of sorts. Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s timeless morsels of wisdom paired with Jane Dyer’s cozy illustrations are as irresistible as the aroma of cookies fresh from the oven. Go ahead, take another bite!

Theatre Jacksonville’s Theatre for Kids helps build important life skills, self esteem, and confidence.


JANUARY 16, 2018

(904) 396-4425

HOLIDAYS Top Toys for Christmas THE CUTEST: Fingerlings Interactive Baby Monkey These cute tiny interactive monkeys latch onto your finger, respond to sound, motion and touch by blinking their eyes, moving their head, and talking in cute monkey talk. If you blow them a kiss they’ll kiss you back and they can hang upside down on your finger and monkey around.

wheel and coaster brakes, easy height adjust seat post, coordinating printed seat, frame graphics and front plate. A good fit for a child 28”-38” inches tall. 3 to 5: Fisher-Price Think & Learn Teach ‘n Tag Movi: This cool little Fisher Price robot is ready to roll, and get kids moving and learning along with him! With 360 degrees of mobility, Encourages preschoolers to get their minds and bodies moving while teaching them how to follow directions and think critically about the world around them.

6 to 9: STILL HOT: Hatchimals Learning Last year’s interactive Resources “eggs” now come in Pretend & a twin surprise and Play School collectible minis – Set: 149 piece Rub the heart and set includes 2 when it changes from erasable purple to pink, gently crayons, 20 note sheets, 20 hall passes, 20 press and crack your egg. awards, 20 worksheets, 20 good-job stickers, 20 grade book sheets, 20 report cards and 2 ALWAYS STAR double-sided dry erase sheets that include a U.S. WARS: BB-9E AppEnabled Droid with Droid map, world map, weather map and calendar. Trainer 10-12: Harry He rolls along and is able Potter to interact with other Star Hogwarts Wars App-enabled Droids Battle: Play as by Sphero. your favorite Harry Potter SNUGGLY: Little Live Pets ‘Snuggles My character like Dream Puppy’ Harry himself, The latest in super-cute Hermione, Ron, interactive dogs for kids. or Neville. Defend the wizarding world from all Feed this little guy with evil forces. Have a blast gaining influence, a bottle until he (or she) falls asleep in your arms. mastering the most powerful spells, discover magical items, recruit allies, and more! HEROES: The New Wonder Woman LEGO Set: Features a Wonder Woman figure, a bed with space for a trophy (obviously), Wonder Woman’s ‘invisible’ motorbike, her Golden Lasso, a wrench, two spray paint cans, trophy and a tub of wax polish for the bike. BY AGE 1 and up: Paw Patrol 12” Bike: They’re never too young to ride to the rescue with all their Paw Patrol friends on this 12-inch beauty. The perfect bike for early riders includes training

FOR THOSE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS Spin Doctor: Anything that spins is often a draw for children with autism, as they tend to like repetition; gear sets are a smart choice. The Gears! Gears! Gears! Lights & Action Building Set by Learning Resources has a motor, lights, and glow-in-the-dark stickers. Elefun: Juvenile arthritis can limit movement in certain parts of the body, so choose a toy that gently works the area that’s compromised. Because slow and easy

gestures are used to catch the cascading butterflies, Elefun from Hasbro is ideal for kids who have trouble with their upper joints. Play Tents: There are two sides to sensory integration impairment: It makes some kids feel overstimulated by the world and causes others to seek out more interaction. For those who like to escape, a tent-and-tunnel combo from Pacific Play tents is ideal.

its path.

The Infinite Loop: For kids with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or any condition that affects the motor systems, look for toys that work with their limited movements. The Infinite Loop from Special needs Toys USA increases upper-body dexterity and concentration as the child opens and closes the tracks to keep the ball on

70 years ago.

and then read one of 20 answers that float to the surface at the bottom of the ball—ranging from “ask a again later,” “signs point to yes,” to simply, “no.” Millions of Magic 8 Balls have been sold since its introduction more than

Matchbox Cars: These debuted in 1952 and sped past competitor toy cars by combining high-quality with low prices. By 1960, Matchbox

Cars annually sold more than 100 million units in America and the name “Matchbox” became synonymous with miniature cars. Despite stiff competition from Hot Wheels (brought to market in1968 and inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2011), Matchbox Cars remain a topseller for toymaker Mattel.

Paint a Rock Pet: Think open-ended crafts for kids with ADHD because focusing on directions can be hard. Instead of paint-bynumbers, get a kit that gives plenty of creative license, like Paint a Rock Pet from ALEX Toys.

My Little Pony: Introduced in the 1980s and reintroduced in 2003, the My Little Pony line of mini-horses encourages children in traditional forms of doll play—fantasy, storytelling, hair DON’T FORGET THE OLD STANDARDS grooming, and collecting. The small pastel ponies have come in more than 1,000 varieties, all with The 2017 National Toy Hall of Fame finalists elongated tails and manes made to be brushed. include: The toys peaked in popularity between 1982 and 1993—even outselling Barbie for several years. Transformers: Hasbro, Inc. introduced Transformers, a toy line of action figures that change Clue: A retired solicitor’s clerk developed Clue their shapes, in during World War II and originally patented it in the mid-1980s. They marketed Transformers with 1947 under the name “Cluedo.” The game invites an elaborate back story supported by a Marvel players to deduce a solution to the murder of the comic book series, a cartoon television series, luckless Mr. Boddy, which occurs under different animated movies, electronic games, consumer circumstances in each game. Clue remains one of goods, and even its own cereal. A continuing the best-selling branded board games of all time. series of blockbuster films (with the latest installment released in June 2017) has kept Magic 8 Ball: Introduced in 1946, the Magic 8 Transformers in the public eye. Ball allows users to flirt harmlessly with fortunetelling. Users pose questions, shake the cue ball, DECEMBER 2017 • •

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Find A Christmas Tree Farm I n Florida, red cedar, Virginia pine, sand pine, spruce pine and Leyland cypress are grown specifically for use as Christmas trees. Each year, the young trees must be shaped or pruned to encourage the tree to branch more quickly and gradually achieve the full, bushy appearance people prefer in their Christmas trees. It takes three to six years to grow a well-shaped, 6- to 8-foot tree.

Christmas tree harvesting does not upset the ecology, because more trees are planted than harvested each year; the general rule is to plant two to three trees for every tree cut. While growing, Christmas trees provide environmental benefits such as wildlife habitat and increased soil stability. Purchasing a homegrown Florida

tree is good for the environment because less fuel is used in transportation. This also supports the farmers of the state and boosts Florida’s economy. Many Florida tree farms offer customers the option to choose and cut their own Christmas trees. When you decide to purchase a freshly cut Florida-grown tree, make sure it is the appropriate size for your home and that the stand you use will allow for watering the tree. Freshness is an important thing to look for when selecting your tree. The needles should be resilient. The tree should have a good fragrance and good green color. A fresh tree will retain its moisture content and thereby keep its fragrance and needles, if kept in a stand that has a good water-holding capacity. A tree that is moist when brought into the home and is kept moist by adding water through the base of the trunk will not be a fire hazard. Here is a list of nearby tree growers. Many offer potted trees, pre-cut trees, and choose-and-cut trees. Some also offer wreaths, arts and crafts,

gifts, and onsite family activities such as hay rides. Call ahead to confirm availability and dates and hours of operation.

left at second light onto SR 235 for 5 miles, left onto NW 75th Street for 1 1/2 miles, left at BK Christmas Tree sign, dead ends 1/4 mile at farm.

ROGERS CHRISTMAS TREE FARM Choose & Cut – Sand Pine, Red Cedar, Leyland Cypress Address: Diane C. Rogers, 6047 Jones Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32219 Phone: (904)786-6709 Directions: Take exit 25 (Pritchard Rd) off I-295; go west 3 miles to Jones Rd; turn right onto Jones Rd; go 1/2 mile to farm. Hours: Saturday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

UNICORN HILL FARM Products and Services: Choose-and-cut, sand pine, Virginia pine, red cedar, spruce pine, Carolina Sapphire, Blue Ice Address: 3605 NW 69th St., Gainesville, FL, 32606 Opens: Dec. 1, Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Phone: (352) 373-4575

SONGER’S CHRISTMAS TREE FARM Choose & Cut, Wreaths – Sand Pine, Virginia Pine, Red Cedar, Leyland Cypress, Spruce Pine Address: 5255 Carter Spencer Rd, Middleburg, FL 32068 Phone: (904)272-3890 Directions: From Jacksonville or Orange Park: Go south on Blanding Blvd., through Middleburg, to County Road 218. Turn right, going West, on 218 approximately 4 miles to Carter Spencer Road (just past the Clay Hill sign). Turn left on Carter Spencer Road and the farm is about a mile down the road on the left. Hours: Wednesdays 2pm - 5pm, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 10-5.

GIBBS CHRISTMAS TREE FARM Products and Services: Choose-and-cut, wholesale, potted, sand pine Location: 9740 E. Hwy. 318, Citra, FL 32113 Phone: (352) 546-2365 Fax: (941) 546-2167

Family Registration (20.00 value) No cash value • Offer expires 1/1/18


RUDOLPH’S CHRISTMAS TREE FARM Choose & Cut, Hay Rides – Red Cedar, Leyland Cypress Address: 11965 O. C. Horne Rd., Sanderson, FL 32087 Phone: (904)259-7703 Directions: 12 miles North of Glen St Marys. Hours: Daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. A SOUTHERN CHRISTMAS TREE FARM Address: 274000 Murrhee Rd, Hilliard, FL 32046 Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to dark Saturday from 10 a.m. to dark (904) 845-7447 BK CEDARS CHRISTMAS TREES Products and Services: Choose-and-cut, wholesale/retail, potted, red cedar (Robin Blue), Arizona cypress (Carolina Sapphire), red cedar logs chipped on-site Address: 20926 NW 75th St. Alachua, FL 32615 Schedule: Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Phone: (386) 462-2060 Directions: I-75 to exit 399, one mile to Alachua; DECEMBER 2017 • •

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Winter Camps MOSH Winter Discovery Camp December 27 – 29, 2017 - Galactic Encounters January 3 – 5, 2018 - Super Spies for K-2nd Grades and Ciphers, Code-makers and Codebreakers for 3rd – 5th Grades Camp Times: 9am - 3pm Extended Care: Before Care: 7:30 to 9 a.m. | After Care: 3 to 5 p.m. Ages: K-5th Grade Cost: $120 for MOSH Members / $150 for NonMembers Cost of Extended Care: Extended Care is included in the price of camp. In order to reserve a spot for your child in camp, payment must be made ahead of time. Once a camp is full no further tickets will be available for purchase. Please contact the MOSH Education Coordinator at 904-396-6674 x 226 to place your name on the waiting list for a particular camp. 1025 Museum Circle, Jacksonville, FL 32207 904-396-6674 x226 KidsPark Winter Camp December 18, 2017 - January 8, 2018 KidsPark is happy to offer fun Winter Break Camps just in time for the shopping and party season. Whether you need them for the whole break, a week, a few days or just a few hours, KidsPark, known for hourly drop in childcare for children ages 2-12, offers gift making workshops, imaginative play, arts, crafts, music and movement, circle and story time, group games, as well as outdoor play. Camps are charged at their hourly rate. The discounted day rate is available for visits up to 8 hours. Valid at all KidsParks. A visit once every 12 months keeps registration active. Rates: First Child - $8.50 Second Sibling - $4.00 Each Add’l Sibling - $3.00 Family Registration - $40 4274 Herschel St, Jacksonville, FL 32210 904-387-8602 9726 Touchton Rd #111, Jacksonville, FL 32246 904-683-4554 Sylvan Winter STEM Classes Sylvan Learning offers Winter STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) camps in Coding, Robotics and Engineering for grades 1st – 8th. Register online or call for more information. Two Locations: 2416 Dunn Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32218 904-757-7414 1414 Kingsley Ave, Ste 4, Orange Park, FL 32073 904-269-3561 Creative Minds Academy Winter Break Camps December 22, 2017 – January 5, 2018 Includes Field Trips, Breakfast, Lunch, and Snacks! Free Webcam for Preschool Enrollees Chef Prepares all Meals and Snacks School Nurse on Staff

Cost: $140/week with Free Registration. Deerwood Park 10550 Deerwood Park Blvd South, Suite 704 Jacksonville, FL 32256 904-379-8126 License #C04DU0959 Durbin Crossing 14985 Old St. Augustine Road, Suite 120 Jacksonville, FL 32258 (Philips Highway and Old St. Augustine Road) 904-880-8588 License #C04DU0960

Is this Santa Claus?


his Christmas Eve millions of kids all over the world will log on to the official Santa Tracker to follow his progress through U.S. military radar.

MOCA Winter Art Camp December 27 - 29, 2017 January 2 - 5, 2018 Grades Kindergarten - 5th. MOCA Jacksonville provides half-day and full-day sessions during winter break. Experienced art educators teach a variety of media and skills while providing the contemporary art history context for each project. Daily Themes Include: Outer Space, Paper Crafting, MOCA Spark, Odds & Ends, Bold City Art, Printmaking, Coming Attractions Cost: 9am - 1pm: $25 each day. 1pm - 5pm: $25 each day. 9am - 5pm: $50 each day. Winter-Art-Camp This all started in 1955, with a misprint in a Colo333 North Laura Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202 rado Springs newspaper advertisement. 904-366-6911 The local Sears ran an ad with Santa’s “phone The Cultural Center At Ponte Vedra Beach number.” The misprinted number turned out to be December 27-29, 2017 and January 2-5, 2018 Col. Harry Shoup’s secret hotline at the Continen9am - 2pm tal Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD. Ages 4 - 8. Each day our fabulous and talented instructor will be spending the day teaching children the process of art-making with various art As the story goes, when Col. Shoup realized the calls asking for Santa wasn’t a joke he put a materials. Your children will take home an array of hand-made holiday art that can be used as couple of airmen on the phone to act as Santa decorations or gifts. Claus. Cost: Members: $40. Non-members: $50 Later as a joke on Christmas Eve the airmen 50 Executive Way, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082 placed a drawing of a sleigh with eight reindeer 904-280-0614 coming over the North Pole on their official JCA (Jewish Community Alliance) J-cation tracking board. Playing along with the joke, Col. Days Shoup called a local radio station telling them December 21 - 22, December 26 - 29, 2017 that they had an unidentified flying object on their 7:30am - 6pm or 9am - 4pm radar and, “Oh!, it looks like a sleigh.” The radio Grades Kindergarten - 6th. Activities include: station kept calling back during the night for new swimming (indoor pool), physical sports/activities, cooking, arts and crafts and indoor games. positions. This proved so popular, that NORAD Afternoon snack will be provided. personnel continued the tradition each year. Cost: 7:30am - 6pm $53/day, Valued Member Fee $46/day. 9am - 4pm $43/day, Valued Member Fee Today, with phone calls in the hundreds of thou$38/day. sands, volunteers man the phones taking calls from more than 200 countries. They also have 8505 San Jose Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32217 904-730-2100 ext. 24 their own website ( as well as sites on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. To follow For a complete list of Winter Camps, visit www. Santa on any of these Web sites, type in santa into the search engine and start tracking. j For a complete list of Winter Camps and links to register online,visit our online camps guide at

DECEMBER 19 Ti mes-U ni on C enter 7:30 p.m. CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR is quite simply one of the most delightful and enchanting Christmas shows ever, featuring glittering costumes, a dazzling cast and the highest kicking chorus girls this side of the North Pole.

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DECEMBER 2017 • •

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HOLIDAYS Jewish Community Alliance / 904-730-2100 / panied by warm latkes, music, free raffles and 8505 San Jose Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL 32217 more. Crafts will be made, fresh latkes served; / dreidels distributed for the children and Chanukah music will played. The entire community is Chanukah Wonderland: Community Chanukah invited to this event. For more information please Lowe’s Menorah Building Workshop Celebration • December 12, 5pm call Chabad at the Beaches at 904-543-9301. December 3, 2pm Civic Orchestra of Jacksonville Chabad at the Beaches hosts their yearly comAdele Grage Community Center / 904-543-9301 Chabad of St. Johns is partnering with Lowe’s December 10, 3pm to 4:30pm munity Chanukah celebration. he children’s / 785 Ocean Boulevard, Jacksonville Beach, FL once again. Kids are invited for a a pre-Chanukah The Civic Orchestra of Jacksonville is an all volwonderland and fun fair goes from 5pm to 32250 / Menorah Building Workshop. Participants will unteer 60 musician ensemble and will perform a 6pm, followed by a menorah lighting with free each craft a remarkable Menorah with a host concert titled “Jewish Composers and Themes”. chanukah delicacies at 6pm. Everyone is invited Chanukah - Shabbat Dinner for Beaches Resiof supplies available from Lowe’s. There will A fun and festive concert featuring Leonard to come celebrate the light. This year’s event will dents • December 15, 6:30pm be light refreshments in the form of fried foods, Bernstein’s Westside Story Overture, Giacomo feature Israeli Violinist Boris Savchuk, a master Join your fellow Beaches Jewish residents for in keeping with the tradition to eat foods that Meyerbeer’s The Prophet, George Gershwin’s An musician, and as always, children will also have a delicious Chanukah inspired Shabbat Dinner. remind us of the miracle of the oil. There will also American in Paris as well as Kol Nidre by Max the opportunity to get their face painted and pose Chabad at the Beaches is hosting this Chanukah be a demo of olive oil making, just as they did Bruch featuring cellist Tim Stephen. Immediately for photos in a dreidel costume. Dinner packShabbat on Friday, December 15th. Celebrate the for the original Menorah. And of course, Judah after the concert, the audience is invited to a ages with a choice of Zahava’s famous falafel 4th night of Chanukah with Jews from all walks Maccabee will make his annual appearance to Kosher cake and punch reception that includes an of life. Warm, welcoming atmosphere, deligive attendees a taste of victory and the joy and exhibition of artwork by Civic Orchestra Artist-in- or a kiddie hot dog package will be available for purchase. The menorah lighting brings the comcious food, kibitzing, singing and fun. Services warmth of the holiday. This event is open to kids Residence Melinda Gopp and the students of the munity together for the kindling of the Beaches’ at 6:30pm followed by Chanukah Dinner. No of all ages and is free with RSVP. Reservations Martin J. Gotlieb Day School whose work is inlargest menorah, followed by hot latkes, music synagogue affiliation necessary. RSVP required. are appreciated to ensure enough supplies. RSVP spired by Festive Sounds of Hanukkah, composed and a free raffle. Event is open to the public and Reserve your space online. online or by phone. by Bill Halcombe. Free. there is no charge. Donations are always appreci- Chabad at the Beaches / 904-543-9301 / 521 Lowe’s / 904-701-4422 / 4040 Oldfield Crossing Jacksonville Jewish Center / 904-292-1000 / ated. A1A North, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082 / www. Dr., Jacksonville, FL 32223 / jewishsjohnscounty- 3662 Crown Point Road, Jacksonville, FL 32257 Ponte Vedra Cultural Center / 904-543-9301 / 50 / Executive Way, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082 / Beth El’s Congregational Hanukkah Dinner Sparkling Menorah: Painting With a TwistJCA Chanukkah Party December 17, 5:30pm to 8:30pm Fruit Cove • December 6, 7pm to 9pm December 12, 5:45pm to 8pm Light Up Your Life: Chanukah in Atlantic Beach The Beth El - The Beaches Synagogue hosts their Ages 16 and up are invited to come paint a The Jewish Community Alliance hosts their anDecember 13, 5:30pm to 8pm annual Hanukkah Dinner and Celebration. There Sparkling Menorah. Cost is $35/painter. Be sure nual Chanukkah celebration. The event features The Jacksonville Beaches’ Chanukah celebrations will be songs, food, and the second annual Major to reserve your seat in advance. their world-famous latkes, hot dogs, songs and will be held on Wednesday, December 13th. A fast League Dreidel Tournament. Painting With a Twist, Fruit Cove / 904-518-4932 entertainment. Enjoy youth activities and the Beth El - The Beaches Synagogue / 904-273/ 104 Bartram Oaks Walk, Ste 105, Fruit Cove, FL lighting of the giant outside chanukiyah. Space is paced hour of family Chanukah fun will begin at 5:30 followed by the lighting of a nine-foot meno- 9100 / 288 North Roscoe Blvd, Ponte Vedra 32259 / limited. Reservations required by December 5. rah at 6:30 pm. This special event will be accom- Beach, FL 32082 /

Hanukkah Events


PERFECT Stocking Stuffers!


904-551-4035 Liberty Business Park Page 16 • • DECEMBER 2017

7022 AC Skinner Parkway, Suite 200

Jacksonville, FL 32256

DECEMBER 2017 • •

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Holiday Events WinterFEST • Thru January 8 WinterFEST celebration hosted by Adventure Landing features a spectacular outdoor ice skating rink and ice slide. Shipwreck Island Water Park and wave pool will be transformed into a cozy Alpine experience with ice skating, Blizzard Bluff Village, Crystal Creek Lodge, Mistletoe Marketplace, Santa’s Workshop, s’more roasting, ornament decoration, sugar cookie decorating, and more. Ice Skating Admission is $10, and Ice Skate Rental is $3. All other activities require tickets, which can be purchased for 1 Activity Ticket: $1.75; 3 Activity Tickets: $5; 10 Activity Tickets: $15; and 20 Activity Tickets: $25. Group rates, family packages, and fun passes are also available. WinterFEST is open on select days during select times, so be sure to check the calendar for more details. Also, certain activities and attractions, including visits with Santa, are only available on a select basis and are subject to change. Birthday Parties at WinterFEST are available and you can book online. WinterFEST at Adventure Landing, Beaches / 904-2464386 / 1944 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250 / St. Augustine Nights of Lights • Thru January 31 The Annual Nights of Lights lights up St. Augustine with over three million lights. Nights of Lights is the winter holiday celebration in St. Augustine where each historic downtown business and many residents participate by lighting up their buildings. The main plaza, called the Plaza de la Constitución, features lights draped around every tree. There’s also a Christmas tree in the center where photos can be taken. Old Town Trolley offers special Nights of Lights tours, nightly. The trolley tours depart from 6pm to 9pm continuously. No reservations are required or accepted. Tours begin at the Visitors Information Center, located at 10 W. Castillo Drive, next to the downtown parking facility. Tickets are $13.99 for adults and $5.99 for children (ages 3-12), while kids under 3 are free. Downtown St. Augustine / 904-829-1711 / 1 Cathedral Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084 / / Jacksonville Beach Deck the Chairs Thru January 1 Deck The Chairs (DTC) is an annual lighted sculptural exhibit using the iconic red chairs of The American Red Cross Life Saving Corps. Free and open to the public. The lights will be on every night at 4:30pm. All net proceeds from DTC will benefit the Volunteer Life Saving Corps of Jacksonville Beach to help supplement funding provided by the American Red Cross and the City of Jacksonville Beach. Funds are needed for training and outreach programs, and maintenance of its oceanfront facility. Seawalk Pavilion / 904-716-3853 / 11 1st Street North, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250 / Enchanted Christmas Village December 1-3, 8-10, 15-17 from 5pm to 10pm December 21-23, from 5pm to 10pm The Enchanted Christmas Village features crafts, local vendors, bounce houses, wagon rides through the Enchanted trail, pictures with Santa, yard games and photo op cut outs. And every hour on the hour, starting at 6pm, the 30ft Christmas tree performs a 10 minute light show. There will also be stage entertainment, a DJ, carolers, bands, solo artists, chorus groups, and more. General admission tickets are $19 per adult, $10 per child 17 and under. A family four pack is available for $50. Parking is $5 per car and $3 per golf cart. There will be

special events on select nights. These events will have an additional charge. Hours of Operation: December 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, from 5pm to 10pm; December 21-23, from 5pm to 10pm. Enchanted Christmas Village / 888-486-6413 / New location! Hope Pavilion, 895 Palm Valley Road, Ponte Vedra, FL 32081 / Santa in the Courtyard Saturdays, December 2, 9, 16, 23, 9am to 1pm Mingle and Jingle with Santa Claus in the Courtyard at 200 First Street in Neptune Beach on Saturday mornings from 9am to 1pm in December. Share your Christmas wish list and have a photo taken. Pets are welcome! Deanne Dunlop Photography / 904-610-5669 / 200 First Street, Neptune Beach, FL 32266 / St. Marys Railroad Santa Express December 2, 9, 10am to 4pm The magic of Christmas comes alive at Santa Land where Jolly Old St. Nick himself boards the train for the return ride with gifts for all the good little boys and girls. Entertainment all along the way. Tickets are Adults $17, Children (3-12) $11, and Children 2 and under free. Processing fee of $3 each will be added to ticket price. There is also an At the Throttle Experience available for $150. Must be 16 years or older. Rides depart at 10am, 12noon, 2pm, and 4pm. St. Marys Railroad / 912-200-5235 / 1000 Osborne Street, St. Marys, GA 31558 / Christmas on Walnut Street • December 2, 2pm Christmas on Walnut Street Festival and Parade is on Saturday, December 2nd. The event is an annual event in and around Spring Park. It includes food vendors, arts & crafts vendors, business booths, civic organizations, singing/entertainment, and of course, Santa. The parade kicks off the afternoon, and starts at 2pm Spring Park / 904 Magnolia Avenue, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043 / Christmas in Avondale • December 2, 4pm to 9pm Families are invited for Christmas in Avondale, with family friendly activities for all ages. Free to attend. Historic Shoppes of Avondale / St. Johns Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32205 / Cinotti’s Family Fun Nights Gingerbread Houses December 2, 9, 16, 23, 4:15pm to 5:15pm Cinotti’s Bakery hosts Family Fun Nights, where families can decorate a gingerbread house. The cost is $75 for up to four people. Price includes the gingerbread house, icing, and candy. Refreshments will also be provided. Do to space restrictions, we ask only four (4) guests arrive per house reserved. This includes observers and participants. It is strongly recommended to leave strollers outside. Payment must be made at time of reservation. Cinotti’s Bakery / 904-246-1728 / 1523 Penman Road, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250 / Light the Park • December 5, 6pm Light the Park will happen on Tuesday, December 5th at 6pm. Join The Town of Or¬ange Park as they light up Town Hall Park for the Holiday season and have a reading of “It was the Night Before Christmas”. Santa does not attend this event. Town Hall Park / 904-264-2635 / 2042 Park Ave, Orange Park, FL 32073 /

Page 18 • • DECEMBER 2017






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Holiday Events, Cont’d Cool Side of Yuletide • December 16, 2pm and 5pm ThIs holiday concert will feature Christmas and Hanukkah favorites. Guest artists and a cappella group “ChoRuss” from St. Petersburg, Russia will perform. All proceeds from the drawing and concert benefit the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus ongoing programming and scholarship funds. General admission tickets are $21 each. Tickets may be purchased from the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus office by phone at 904-353-1636, ext. 2 or online. Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church / 904-353-1636 / 4001 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32207 / www. Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops December 7, 7:30pm; December 8, 8pm; December 9, 3pm and 8pm; December 10, 3pm Christmas Wonderland Holiday Spectacular The annual Holiday Pops Concert returns on December 7-10. The shows feature the talents of the Jacksonville December 19, 7:30pm Symphony and Symphony Chorus, guest performers and The Christmas Wonderland Holiday Spectacular features glittering costumes, high kicking chorus girls, holiday the area’s only guaranteed snowfall. Tickets range in songs, and more. Tickets range from $38.50 to $74.50. price from $22 to $84. Times-Union Center, Moran Theater / 904-632-5000 Jacoby Symphony Hall / 904-354-5547 / 300 Water / 300 Water Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202 / www. Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202 / Dickens on Centre December 7, 6pm; December 8, 5pm to 9pm; Decem- A Christmas Carol • December 21, 7:30pm The FSCJ Artist Series presents an adaptation of Charles ber 9, 10am to 9pm; December 10, 10am to 7pm Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The show features a cast Inspired by Charles Dickens’ novella “A Christmas Carol,” Dickens on Centre transforms downtown Fernandina of 23 performers, live musicians, and Broadway-style scenery. Tickets range from $16 to $54. into a classic English village. Think chestnuts roasting, carolers strolling, and readings of ‘Twas the Night Before Times Union Moran Theater / 300 Water Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202 / Christmas. The kids zone features Letter Writing to St. Nick, Ornament Toss and Holiday Corn Hole, Lifesized Chess, Checkers and Jenga, Ring Toss and Tic-Tac-Toe, A Charlie Brown Christmas Live • December 22, 7pm Holiday Crafts, and Rocking Horses. St. Nick Photos with Join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and the rest of the Peanuts gang in a live stage production. The liveBoston Photography will be held on Friday 7pm to 9pm action musical is based on the classic television special, and Sat & Sun 11am-1pm & 3pm to 6pm. Free to the A Charlie Brown Christmas. Tickets range from $25 to public. $49.50. Downtown Fernandina / Centre Street, Fernandina Florida Theatre / 904-355-5661 / 128 East Forsyth Beach, FL 32034 / Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202 / A Garfield Christmas It’s A Wonderful Life Movie with Symphony December 8, 10:30am – School Time Presentation December 22, 7pm December 8, 7pm See Frank Capra’s and Jimmy Stewart’s favorite film This holiday musical features timeless Christmas. Sing along as Garfield’s new friends all work together to bring with its wonderful score played live by the Symphony and see it like never before. Tickets start at $26 and are light to Garfield’s Christmas. Tickets for the school time presentation are are $13 each; there will be a $3 Facility available online. Robert E. Jacoby Symphony Hall / 904-354-5547 / 300 Fee and $3 Service Charge added at checkout. Tickets Water Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202 / www.jaxsymfor the evening performance range from $13 to $33, with a discount for a family four pack of tickets. Thrasher-Horne Center / 904-276-6815 / 283 College New Year’s Celebration at Orange Park Mall: Happy Drive, Orange Park, FL 32065 / Noon Year! • December 31, 12noon – 1:30pm Orange Park Mall invites children to celebrate the New Bethlehem Experience Year with a beach ball drop counting down to the Noon December 8-10, 5:30pm to 8:30pm Year, kids champagne (apple cider) toast, and free Celebrate the birth of Jesus with a Bethlehem Experiactivities for kids. ence. You will have the opportunity to walk through the little town of Bethlehem with the whole family. There will Orange Park Mall / 904- 269-9413 / 1910 Wells Rd, be interactive shops, pet animals, and Christmas carols. Orange Park, FL 32073 / Creekside Christian Church / 904-287-2777 / 92 Jacksonville Light Boat Parade • December 30, 7:30pm Lifespring Way, St. Johns, FL 32259 / www.creeksideThe Jacksonville Light Boat Parade is FREE family tainment! The parade begins at 7:30pm on December 30th with with viewing available from the Northbank and Hometown Holiday in the Park Southbank of the River. Boats beautifully decorated with December 8 - 9, 6pm to 9pm lights will ride along Jacksonville’s Downtown Riverfront. An old fashioned holiday celebration featuring hay rides A fireworks display will follow beginning at 9:30. Boater through a decorated trail of lights, live entertainment, Clarke House tours, photos with Santa and more. It may registration is available online at www.taxslayerbowl. com/light-boat-parade/ even snow! Admission and many activities are free. Clarke House Park / 1039 Kingsley Ave, Orange Park, FL Jacksonville Light Boat Parade / Downtown Riverwalk / 32073 / Phone Calls From Santa • December 5-7 Santa has once again partnered with Parks and Recreation for the annual Phone Calls from Santa program. Parents can register their resident children, ages 8 and younger; through December 2. For more information, call Josh at 904-209-0386. The more thoroughly you complete the registration form, the more personalized the call will be. St. Johns County Parks and Recreation / 904-209-0386 /

Do you know a child

who loves to sing? NOW AUDITIONING GRADES 2-12 No fee to audition • Need-based scholarships available To schedule an audition, visit or call 353-1636, ext. 1

DECEMBER 2017 • •

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Preparing for College for Students with Disabilities


etting ready for college is an involved process and planning is an important part, especially for students with disabilities. As a professor and researcher in special education, I’ve worked with many students with disabilities transitioning to college. The ones who are typically most successful are the ones who were prepared to be strong self-advocates, who could seek out needed services and supports, and who could manage the multiple demands of being independent. These are all skills that can – and should – be taught earlier. Whether it’s understanding your child’s disability and legal rights or figuring out what accommodations and study habits work best, preparation is key.

At the college level, students with disabilities may be covered under a different part of the Rehabilitation Act. Subpart E protects college students with disabilities against discrimination and requires that they be provided equal access to all aspects of the academic program and facilities. Once admitted, the student must seek out disability services and provide the college with required information about the nature of the disability and how it impacts access to the physical environment or to learning. Often called “documentation,” the specific requirements vary based upon disability type and, often, the college that the student attends.

How to prepare • Learn more about the disability and the A wide range of disabilities on college campuses student’s unique characteristics. When leaving According to a 2016 report by the United States high school, the student should understand his Department of Education, approximately 11 or her own strengths, preferences and percent of all undergraduates report having a weaknesses – to be able to self-advocate, to disability and, since nearly two-thirds of all use and adjust learning strategies that work for students who received special education services him or her, and to independently make life in high school did not self-disclose their disability choices. to a college, the actual number of students with • Become active members of the team that disabilities on campuses is likely much higher. develops and monitors the individualized plan. Students are often left out of this process, but Most of these students have what are often called should be included as early as is appropriate “nonvisible” disabilities, including learning and to the greatest extent possible. disabilities, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder • Learn about accommodation needs. Students and, increasingly, mental health disorders such as and families can work with individual teachers anxiety or depression. Students with autism to request and set these up. spectrum disorders are also more often attending • Transition away from any modifications to college than a decade ago. And on some campusinstruction, tests or grading, and focus on the es, programs are emerging for students with use of learning strategies. Changes to teaching intellectual disabilities. methods and tests are generally not provided after high school. A change in legal status • Work on time management skills. The college Many of these students receive special education day is much less structured than the high services during some (or all) of their kindergarten school day. through 12th grade years. For many, these • Research the disability supports offered at services are provided under the Individuals with different colleges. Section 504 only requires Disabilities Education Act. The IDEA requires a colleges to ensure access and prohibit free and appropriate education, in the least discrimination, but many colleges provide more restrictive environment, that meets the individual extensive services and supports. needs of students. A team of professionals work with the student’s family or guardians to develop An exciting option an Individualized Education Program. The IEP Once you know what life after high school will outlines the student’s strengths and needs, sets bring, there’s even more you can do to prepare: annual goals and determines what modifications Learn about the documentation requirements for might be required to help the student meet those the college you’ve chosen, get in touch with goals. Others with disabilities don’t need IDEA. disability services and talk about needed They qualify for services under Subpart D of accommodations and supports, and if appropriate Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, for a student, think about transportation needs which is a civil rights law (not a special education and access to medication or doctors. But the law) that prohibits discrimination on the basis of most important thing is to simply start looking disability. forward to the challenge ahead. College presents an exciting and viable option for students with However, in both of these cases, services end at disabilities. j graduation. Special education services and individualized support and instruction required by Joseph Madaus, University of Connecticut the IDEA are not available in college.

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Things to Do Special Needs Events

Jumpstreet Special Needs Event December 2, 9am to 11am Jumpstreet hosts a special event for children with special needs and their siblings. The semi-private event will be held the first Saturday of the month. From 9am to 10am, the event is private; from 10am to 11am, the event is open to the public. Cost is $8 for children 4 and up; $4 for children 3 and under. Parents/guardians are free. Jumpstreet / 904-853-5721 / 1214 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250 / Sensory Seeker Saturdays December 2, 9am to 11am December 16, 9am to 11am We Rock the Spectrum hosts Sensory Seeker Saturdays. This is a messy class for young minds to learn and explore through different sensory experiences. Classes will be held on select Saturdays and include themed activities that will help your young ones learn and grow. This is a parent led class with easy step by step activities, including circle time, centers, snack, open play, and more. Cost of class is $12. Please RSVP so they know how many supplies to have ready. Be sure to bring a change of clothes, as kids will likely get messy. We Rock the Spectrum / 904-330-0362 / 9357-3 Philips Highway, Jacksonville, FL 32256 / Sensory Sensitive Sundays December 3, 8am to 10am Two area Chuck E. Cheese’s locations offer Sensory Sensitive Sundays. On the first Sunday of every month, these locations will open two hours early, specifically for children with autism and other special needs. There will be reduced lighting and noise, food and games offered, and trained and caring staff. Chuck E. Cheese / 6065 Youngerman Circle, Jacksonville, FL 32244 / 10320 Shops Lane, Jacksonville, FL 32258 Autism Speaks Walk December 3, 10am Autism Speaks Walk is the world’s largest autism fundraising event dedicated to improving the lives of people with autism. Powered by the love of parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, relatives, and supporters, the funds raised help ensure people of all abilities have access to the tools needed to lead ‘their best lives’. Participants are encouraged to start a team, join a team or come on your own. Walk and fundraise together to enhance the lives of people living with autism. Avenues Mall / 10300 Southside Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32256 / An Evening with Santa December 4, 5:30pm to 8pm Join the UF Developmental Pediatric staff for An Evening with Santa. Join the celebration as the halls ring with cheer, enjoy holiday snacks, crafts, face painting, and activities in a friendly, accepting environment. Also, remember to bring your wish list for Santa’s mailbox and your camera to capture all of the special memories. UF Developmental Pediatric Center / 904-633-0750 / 6271 St. Augustine Road, Ste 1, Jacksonville, FL 32217 / Adaptive Play at TNT Gymnastics Wednesdays, December 6, 13, 20, 9am to 10am Join TNT Gymnastics for an open play time that will allow your child to explore new surroundings, enjoy soft landings, and get those wiggles and giggles out. This play time is designed for children with sensory needs or on the autism spectrum. Parent/Guardian is required to assist child as needed throughout the facility. Cost is $5 cash or $6 card. TNT Gymnastics / 904-998-8681 / 2683 St. Johns Bluff Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32246 /

Blue Man Group Autism Friendly Show December 9, 6pm Blue Man Group is teaming up with Autism Speaks for the third consecutive year and will be hosting autismfriendly performances suitable for individuals and families affected by autism. Tickets for these special performances will be discounted, and $5 from each ticket will be donated to Autism Speaks. At these performances, slight modifications will be made including reduction of sound and light levels at various moments during the performance; (Please note that while light levels will be reduced, strobe lighting is still used in the show). Earplugs available upon request; Blue Men will limit the amount of “chair walking” and keep their approach to the audience more subdued; and calming environments in each theatre’s lobby for families seeking a break from the excitement. Tickets are $36. Universal Orlando Resort / 6000 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32819 / Special Needs Gaming Party at Microsoft December 9, 9am to 10am The Microsoft Store hosts a Gaming Party for kids with special needs. XBox One consoles will be set up in the theater space for gaming. While the children are gaming, the parents have a breakout session on internet safety and parental controls. Register online in advance. This event is open to families with children with special needs and their siblings. 40 spots are available on a first come first serve basis. Microsoft Store / 4791 River City Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32246 / Caring Santa at the Avenues Mall December 10, 8am to 11am Caring Santa provides a sensory-friendly environment for families of children with special needs, to safely experience the time-honored tradition and magic of Santa. The Avenues will host this special event prior to mall opening. Guests can register online in advance. Avenues Mall / 904-363-3054 / 10300 Southside Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32256 / Autism Birthday Wish Club Party December 10, 9:30am to 11am The second Sunday of every month is the Autism Birthday WIsh Club Party for all kids celebrating their birthday in that month. Cost is $15 for ages 7 and up; $11 for ages 6 and under; $2/jumper for Velocity socks. One parent is free per child. Activities include one hour of jump time, 30 minutes of food/birthday cake, social skills for kids, parent connections and more. There will be five new vendors/service providers at every event. Waivers are required to participate, and can be downloaded in advance online. This private party is open to all families and friends of children of all ages with Autism. Come meet local providers and socialize with parents and children. Food and cake included. This event is hosted by Making Strides for Autism Inc. and Northeast Florida Advocates for Autism and Related Disabilities Inc. Velocity Air Sports / 904-551-4035 / 7022 AC Skinner Parkway, Suite 200, Jacksonville, FL 32256 / www. Buddy Breaks at Mandarin Presbyterian Church December 16, 1pm to 4pm This free respite program is designed to give caregivers of kids with special needs a break from their ongoing care-giving responsibilities. Each child and siblings are paired with an individual buddy friend for one-on-one attention as everyone has fun playing games, hearing and seeing great children’s stories, videos, music, and more, and the caregivers get a much needed break. To make a reservation, email buddybreak@mandarinpres. com . Mandarin Presbyterian Church / 904-680-9944 / 2401 Loretta Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32223 /

Visit for more Special Needs events.


Encourage More Holiday Writing


he holidays are here again. Since the kids are taking a break from school, they may enjoy doing some holiday writing this winter break. Our daughter loves to write stories. When we travel out of state this holiday season, we’ll be sure to pack a fresh notebook and a bag of pens and pencils to encourage her to write more as we travel. Just like reading, writing is a skill set that improves with practice. Why not provide your kids with opportunities to do some meaningful writing this holiday season? They may love it more than you think (and they’ll be getting writing practice, too). Here are some suggestions to get you thinking about ways to encourage your kids’ writing: Fiction Regardless of whether your kids author flash fiction, short stories, or even novels, the holiday break is a wonderful time to give them writing opportunities. Perhaps everyone in the family could write a short story after Christmas dinner. Another option is to place writing prompts in a jar. Each family member could pull out a prompt and write for 15-20 minutes. Then, family members could share their writing. Drama Most tweens and teens love drama! Why not leverage their interest in people and ask them to write a play or movie script. You could pick a holiday or winter theme and then set them loose. Consider making time during the holidays to act out the scripts your kids write. My family has acted out short plays our daughter has written, complete with costumes, make up, and background music. It’s really fun! If you have older kids, they could write a movie script and then shoot it with their Smartphone

cameras. Then, they could edit their footage using free editing apps available online. Family Histories Another great way to encourage your kids to write over the holidays is to ask them to interview your relatives, especially older ones. After the interviews, they could work together to produce a family history booklet or scrapbook. It might be nice to add photographs, artifacts, or newspaper clippings from your relatives’ past. I helped my aunt create a book for her 50th wedding anniversary a few years ago. The book included photographs, poems, memories, and more. She shared the book with her husband and family at their anniversary celebration. Not long afterward, my uncle passed away. I’m glad we were able to chronicle their history for the family. Yearly overview I love receiving Christmas cards, especially when they include an overview of what our friends and family members have been doing over the past year. Why not ask your kids to write an overview of 2016 to include with your family Christmas card? It can be in letter form or article form, complete with illustrations or pictures. Your kids could review each month of the year and add one or two things each family member did that month. For example, last January, my daughter played her first organized sport: basketball. She loved it and wants to do it again this coming year! There are many other ways to encourage your children to write over the holiday break. I’d love to hear how you do it in your family. Please send me an e-mail at and let me know. j Nancy Bethea

Sounds of the Season Holiday Concert December 17th, 4pm JU Terry Concert Hall Tickets are $10 for Adults and $5 for Students (under 21)

Things to Do

pack of tickets. Thrasher-Horne Center / 904-276-6815 / 283 College Drive, Orange Park, FL 32065 /

Education Events

Community Nutcracker: School Time Performances December 7, 10:30am and December 8, 10:30am More than 200 children from Northeast Florida audition for and perform in the production. The school performances are open to public, private and homeschool students. Prices for public/private school students: Student tickets are $5 each. Adult chaperone tickets (not including teachers) are $10 each. One (1) adult chaperone ticket at $10 is permitted for every ten (10) students with paid tickets. One teacher accompanying a group of up to 25 students with paid tickets may attend for free. If additional adult chaperones wish to attend the same performance over and above the number of chaperones permitted, the ticket price is $25 per person. Prices for Homeschool students is $5 each for students, one (1) adult chaperone (which includes a home school teacher/instructor) ticket at $10 is permitted for every three (3) home school students with paid tickets. If additional adult chaperones wish to attend the same performance over and above the number of chaperones permitted, the ticket price shall be $25 per person. Florida Theatre / 904-355-5661 / 128 East Forsyth Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202 / A Garfield Christmas December 8, 10:30am – School Time Presentation December 8, 7pm This holiday musical features timeless Christmas. Sing along as Garfield’s new friends all work together to bring light to Garfield’s Christmas. Tickets for the school time presentation are are $13 each; there will be a $3 Facility Fee and $3 Service Charge added at checkout. Tickets for the evening performance range from $13 to $33, with a discount for a family four

Holiday Traditions Around the World December 12, 10am and 12noon This fast paced rollicking musical takes a joyous ‘round the world tour of the dances, songs and stories from Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and many more. Students will sing, clap and tap along as they learn new and old traditions, customs and folklore that instill the magic of the season. Presented by FSCJ Artist Series at the Nathan H. Wilson Center for the Arts. Tickets are $8.50 per person. Two performances, one at 10am and one at 12noon. Please note: Call or email to purchase your tickets in advance. Nathan H. Wilson Center for the Arts / 904-632-5050 / 11901 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32246 / www. MOSH Home School Days December 20, 9:30am to 11:30am MOSH offers interactive, inquiry-based learning for your student in the areas of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. Programs have been developed for elementary- and middle-school aged students. Separate workshops will run simultaneously for ages 5-8 and 9-13, covering the same topics through age-specific curriculum. Parents may still register children that fall outside of these age ranges, but acknowledge that MOSH workshops are designed to meet standards for these age groups. Each workshop consists of two 45-minute interactive sessions, with 30 minutes of free time to explore the Museum before and after the program. Cost is: Students $15 (Member Students $12); Member and Non-Member Parents $5. Doors open at 9am. Pre-registration is required. This month’s program is Building the Future (Age Group 5-8) and Building Bots (Age Group 9-13). MOSH / 904-396-MOSH x 213 / 1025 Museum Circle, Jacksonville, FL 32207 /

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G em en i

C an ce r

Pe rs eu s A u ri ga

Tr ia n gu A ri es

C an is M in o r

H yd ra

Ta u ru s

O ri o n M o n o ce ro s

P yx is

C et u s

C an is M aj o r

Er id an u s

Le p u s Fo rn ax C o lu m b a P u p p is


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St. Johns County School District News

A Cool Way to Spend a Summer Last summer, Liberty Pines 7th and 8th grade science teacher Steven Kirshe spent the month of June in the Arctic collecting ice core samples. Earlier this fall at a meeting of the Florida Association of Science Teachers in Orlando, he shared this experience and explained how it can be used in the classroom.

Kirshe spent his time at Summit Station, Greenland, collecting ice core sam-

Eric Wagner, studying how the structure of ice crystals change as firn (granular snow, especially on the upper part of a glacier, where it has not yet been compressed into ice) turns into ice and the changes caused by temperature gradient and compression due to snow accumulation. See for a complete report.

There he met up with Adeena Teres from Parkland’s Stoneman Douglas High School, the other Florida teacher in the PolarTREC program, a professional development activity for k-12 teachers administered since 2004 by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States. Teachers are paired with researchers for 2-6 week research experiences in the polar regions. Overall more than 150 teachers from around the United States have joined scientists in the Arctic and Antarctica to learn about science, the polar regions, and to bring back what they have learned to share with their students and communities.

ples to a depth of 80 meters. He found ice cores “A cool way to study the past.” The project title was: Dynamic Observations of the Microstructural All data collected is archived at The National Evolution of Firn. He worked with Dr. Ian Baker, Snow and Ice Data Center ( professor of Engineering and Senior Associate icebridge). Dean at Dartmouth College and PHD student

Open Wide

Save the Date

Kirshe and Teres

Teres was part of Operation Ice Bridge, a NASA run Polar data collection program, also in Greenland, involving land Ice, sea Ice and sea level rise. Read about her expedition at expeditions/operation-icebridge-2017

Dr. Gregory Oxford and his Oxford Dental Associ- The St. Johns County School District has announced the schedule of 2018 graduation ceremonies for ates staff recently visited First Coast Technical high schools and First Coast Technical College. College’s Dental Assist- Thursday, Jan. 25 5 p.m. First Coast Technical College FCTC Campus, Bldg. C ing program Tuesday, May 15 to work with 4:30 p.m. St. Johns Virtual School District Administrative Building Auditorium the students. Wednesday, May 16 The students 7 p.m. St. Johns Technical High School St. Augustine High School Auditorium received Thursday, May 17 valuable, 7 p.m. Pedro Menendez High School St. Augustine Amphitheatre (SAA) hands-on, Saturday, May 19 real world 9 a.m. Creekside High School University of North Florida (UNF) training to 1 p.m. Ponte Vedra High School help them Monday, May 21 shape their 7 p.m. Allen D. Nease High School UNF career. Tuesday, May 22 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 23 7 p.m. Friday, May 25 4 p.m.

Bartram Trail High School


St. Augustine High School


First Coast Technical College

FCTC Campus, Bldg. C

Shark Attack

The golfing Sharks of Ponte Vedra have continued their winning ways by capturing the top spot at the 2017 boys Class 2A state tournament. The team (From left Davis Lee, Will Grattan, Andrew Farraye, coach Mickey Leaply, Justin Ortiguera, Stewart Slayden and Elliot Wright ) was led by sophomore Stewart Slayden (individual winner) and junior Davis Lee (individual runner-up) with a team total of 613 – 15 shots over second place.

Creekside Making a Difference

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Students from the Academy of Engineering and Environmental Science at Creekside High built wheel chair ramps for the St. Johns County Housing Partnership during this year’s “Make a Difference Day.” The partnership enlisted more than 150 area volunteers to help paint, clean and repair homes for veterans, elderly or disabled families. For the past 15 years, St. Johns Housing Partnership has positively impacted the area by making housing more affordable for citizens in need by working closely with generous individuals, organizations, and institutions throughout our community. With the help of private and corporate donors, government entities, and various foundations, the partnership has been able to expand service offerings and reach a wider geographical area. They have come a long way since inception as a basic emergency home repair program in St. Johns County. Accomplishments include: • The award-winning Hancock Place—a greencertified development for first time home buyers; • The creation of a counseling program that provides foreclosure and credit counseling services; • The weatherization and stabilization of more than 1,200 rental homes across 20 North Florida counties through a multi-family residential weatherization program.


Thursday, Dec. 21.............................................................Second Quarter ends Friday, Dec. 22 thru Thursday Jan. 4.................................Winter Break Friday, Jan. 5....................................................................Planning Day/Student Holiday Monday, Jan. 8.................................................................Students Return to School

Visit St. Johns County Schools online at for more information. DECEMBER 2017 • •

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Clay County School News

Technology Infrastructure Expanded Clay County Schools has expanded the access that students and teachers have to instructional technology tools. The ITS Infrastructure team has installed 1,021 Wi-Fi access points in classrooms since the first day of school. Now, each core classroom has a Wi-Fi access point for a grand total of 2,951 Wi-Fi access points districtwide, enabling an increase in the number of Google Chromebooks in classrooms. The district now has 20,659 Chromebooks in use.

academic and personal goals,” said Superintendent Addison Davis.

Ridgeview Takes Home 9 Trophies Ridgeview High School Navy Junior ROTC cadets recently competed at the Nease High School Inter-Service Drill Meet in Ponte Vedra Beach. The cadets placed second overall out of 12 greater Jacksonville area schools, which is the best the unit has done during its 16 year history. The Armed Exhibition and Armed Basic Drill Teams both took 1st place. Unarmed Exhibition and Unarmed Basic Teams both placed 4th. The unit earned 1st place overall in the drill category. In addition, the cadets took 4th place in Uniform Inspection and Academics along with 5th place in Color Guard. The cadets are now preparing for a sanctioned Navy drill meet at Terry Parker High School this month where they hope to qualify for the Area 12 Championships.

Upgrades include: Dell switch installs at each school to improve internal bandwidth connections; Upgrades to Internet connection for 1GB at each school (was 250MB); Implemented fail-over technology to allow continuous internet connections for district if Primary or Secondary Internet connection failed (tested The addition of these Wi-Fi access points and several times in last year;) Chromebooks allow more students and teachers Upgrade to Primary and Secondary Internet conto access online resources via the OneClay portal, nections to 3GB each; such as i-Ready, Achieve3000, textbook resourc- Upgrade to Internet Filter to allow up to 10GB es, and the G Suite for Education applications, to connections; communicate and collaborate on educational ac- Content filtering at the device; tivities assigned by the teacher. In addition, a total Ability to allow teachers to control internet filterRobotics contest draws a crowd at Lake Asbury. The top five teams were: of 1,249 instructional employees have completed ing at the classroom level; 1. Fleming Island High School 3. Wilkinson Junior High 5. Orange Park Junior High the online Google for Education Fundamentals Enhanced Anti-Malware (anti-virus) protection 2. Lake Asbury Junior High 4. Oakleaf High School Training course on how to integrate Google in on all servers, and ¼ of PCs in district. Network the classroom. The district plans to continue to aware firewall capability. increase students’ access to technology with the 1:OneClay plan, which will ensure that each stu- Future Upgrades will include: dent has access to the OneClay online platform Enhanced collaboration between teachers and of carefully cultivated online resources and tools students with Class Orchestrator (“LanSchool” for each and every day. Chromebooks); Common area wireless access point installs to “Our dedicated information technology team cover large open areas; has worked around the clock for the past Greater online video access and controls, such as three months to accomplish these technolwith YouTube; ogy upgrades. I know Clay County teachers are Installing new Voice Gateways to allow new VoIP looking forward to using these tools to provide phones to work with localized internet outages; our students with high quality, rigorous, and Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) in each authentic learning experiences designed around communications closet to allow VoIP phones to content that connects our students to a global stay on longer during power outages; society. This technology empowers them to use Emergency Phone Lines at each school for compassion, curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, failover capability and Emergency Shelter needs; communication, and collaboration to achieve their Full disk encryption on all devices.



Clay Teachers “Shine” Clay County teachers, Michelle Bily (left) and Jessica Ehlinger, are among 18 state educators who have been awarded the Governor’s Shine Award. The Shine Award is presented to teachers and administrators in Florida who

make significant contributions to the field of education. Bily, the 2018 Clay County Teacher of the Year, has been teaching for 10 years. She is currently at Doctors Inlet Elementary School. Ehlinger, a teacher for 12 years, currently teaches gifted education at Ridgeview Elementary School in Orange Park. She is a Florida Teacher LEAD Network alumnus, a two-time Fishman Prize nominee, and is the 2017 Clay County Teacher of the Year. OP/Middleburg (904) 272-8100 Green Cove Springs (904) 284-6500 Keystone Heights (888) 663-2529 TDD (904) 284-6584

Page 28 • • DECEMBER 2017

Connect with us!

Friday, Dec. 15 Monday, Dec. 18 thru Jan. 1 Tuesday, Jan. 2 Wednesday, Jan. 3 Thursday, Jan. 4

End Second Grading Period Christmas/New Year’s Break Planning Day/Student Holiday Inservice Day/Student Holiday Students Return to School

Welcome Discovery Oaks Elementary school “Y” now has a name: Discovery Oaks Elementary School, home of the Voyagers. Located off Oakleaf Plantation Parkway and scheduled to open in the 2018-19 school year, the new school will serve 886 students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. Its total coast is projected at about $20.8 million. It will alleviate overcrowding at nearby Plantation Oaks Elementary School and accommodate future growth in the Oakleaf area.

Things to Do


Video Game Addiction A Worsening Problem R esponding to my recent columns on video games and smart phones, a reader asks what the problem is, thus proving that these devices can and do cause serious harm to one’s cognitive hardware. He, the father of two boys and a gamer himself, in effect claims that parents are imagining things and researchers are not finding what they are finding. He proposes that video games and smart phones do not make people play them or stare at them obsessively; rather, that some parents are simply not providing proper supervision. That’s true, as far as it goes. He then offers that nothing is bad in moderation, which is one of the stupidest adages ever conceived. The list of things that are bad/evil in moderation include pornography, heroin, cocaine, arsenic, assault, murder, rape, armed robbery, lying, cheating, child abuse, and cruelty to animals. Need I go on? Furthermore, if an addiction is defined as a self-destructive obsession over which an individual seems to lack control, then video games and smart phones do indeed “make” some people play them and stare at them as if their very lives depended upon it. Furthermore, the force of that effect appears to be inversely proportional to the age of the individual in question. As such, what a 40-year-old may be able to do-that is, fit playing video games into an otherwise responsible and richly varied life-a 13-year-old boy may not be able to do. One of my grandsons is a case in point. After I expressed concern to his parents that his obsession with playing video games bordered on unhealthy, they took his game controller away. A year later, at age 14, he told me that he realized in retrospect that he had indeed been addicted. If his parents had not stepped in, he said, his adolescence would have been a disaster.

I’ve lost count of the number of parents who have asked me what to do about unemployed 20-something male children who live at home, sequestered in the slums that are their rooms, playing online video games day and night. Most of said adult children do not engage in meaningful conversations with their parents, participate in family meals, or even leave the house unless there is no option but to do so. A few years ago, a convention center manager told me that many of the young males who participated in a gaming convention at his facility wore adult diapers so they would not have to get up from their consoles to use the bathroom. To get them to eat and drink, he had to threaten to unplug them. The mother of a 25-year-old man-child who fits the above description recently asked if there are “resources for parents” who are dealing with adult video game addicts. I have figured out that in this context the word “resources” is a euphemism for “stuff we can read or meetings we can attend to convince ourselves that we’re doing something when we have no real intention of doing anything but complaining endlessly to anyone who will listen.” When I suggest the “resource” of involuntary emancipation, these parents come up with one excuse after another, demonstrating that where there is an addict, there is often an enabler or enablers. Would that these parents had employed the very resourceful word “no” when these males first asked for a video game console. What America is discovering, and most painfully so, is that a lost adolescence often precedes a lost life. j


Teens Events

Mandarin MiniCon6: Alice in Winter Wonderland December 2, 11am to 5pm Mandarin MiniCon is a free family-friendly event that celebrates comics, cosplay, arts and crafts, and local talent. There will be vendors, demonstrations, activities, and more. Mythical Mountain / 904-680-1308 / 11570 San Jose Blvd, Ste 13, Jacksonville, FL 32223 / Teen Cooking: Harry Potter Edition December 5, 6pm to 7pm Learn how to make Harry Potter-inspired goodies. Teens ages 11 and up will learn the basics of cleanliness, food prep, and food safety at this monthly program sponsored by the Friends of the Library. Registration is required for this free program. Call 904-827-6900 to reserve your spot. A parent or guardian must be present at the time of the program to sign a waiver. St. Johns County Public Library - Southeast Branch / 904-827-6900 / 6670 US 1 South, St. Augustine, FL 32086 / Women’s Self Defense Impact Class December 6, 7:30pm to 9:30pm This 2-hour course was designed to impact the way you react to an attacker. During the first part of this course we will cover crimes against women and strategies to reduce your risks. During the second half we will get you on your feet and change the way you think of dealing with an attacker via fundamental defensive tactics and techniques that every woman deserves to know. Ages 10-13 with adult, 14 and over may attend without. Cost is $55 per student. The Women’s Defense Company / 904-6557772 / 13241 Bartram Park Boulevard, Unit 405, Jacksonville, FL 32258 / Is Dual Enrollment For You? December 12, 6pm to 7pm Can your high school student take college credit courses? This course provides an understanding of dual enrollment and its advantages in preparation for college. The Parent Academy of Duval County Public Schools is a family resource designed for parents, caregivers, and community members. All Parent Academy courses are free of charge. Andrew Jackson High School / 904-390-2960 / 3816 North Main Street, Jacksonville, FL 32206 / Teen Holiday Party December 21, 2pm to 5pm

Middle School and High School students are invited to drop in to the Teen Holiday Party to blow off steam with their friends and get in the holiday spirit at the Library. There will be video gaming, table top gaming, a White Elephant Exchange (gifts no more than $5), a holiday movie, pizza and sodas, and more. A copy of John Green’s newest book, Turtles All the Way Down will also be raffled off. St. Johns County Public Library, Ponte Vedra Beach Branch / 904-827-6950 / 101 Library Blvd, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082 / www. Bicycle Maintenance/Safety for Teens December 23, 2pm to 3pm Teens are invited to learn basic bike maintenance and safety practices. For ages 12 to 18. Free. Willowbranch Branch Library / 904-381-8490 / 2875 Park Street, Jacksonville, FL 32205 / jpl. Publix Aprons Teen Chef Camp December 27-29, 6pm Publix Aprons hosts three days of chefs camps for teens ages 13 to 17. Cost of the three days is $140. Register online in advance, as classes fill up quickly. Teens will learn advanced skills and develop a sound culinary base to launch future culinary expeditions. The menu will feature Day 1 - Veg Out: Bacon Cheddar Potato Kabobs; Pizza Stuffed Bell Peppers; Watermelon & Tomato Salad; Pineapple and Roasted Red Pepper Salsa with Homemade Chips; Buttered Yucca with Olives. Day 2 - Basic Kneads: French Bread; French Dip Sandwich; Soft Pretzels with Honey Mustard Dip; Three Cheese Focaccia Bread. Day 3 - Mod Mains: Deconstructed Shepherd’s Pie; Pan Fried Meatloaf & Mashed Tater Stack with Gravy; Blackened Tilapia Tostada with Roasted Poblano & Corn Salsa; Grilled Stuffed Pork Chop. Publix Aprons Cooking School / 904-262-4187 / 10500 San Jose Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32257 / STEM Lab: Igloos December 29, 4pm to 5pm Take part in hands-on, minds-on exploration of science, technology, engineering and math concepts. Explore, create and discover through challenges, experiments and projects. Discover the right way to build igloos… with marshmallows. For Tweens and Teens ages 10-18. Jacksonville Public Library - Southeast Regional Branch / 904-996-0325 / 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32256 / Visit for more event listings.

“We are like snowflakes, each different in our own beautiful way.” – Unknown

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Holiday Pet Poison Tips K eep your beloved pet safe this holiday season. Here is a list of holiday-related decorations, plants and food items that the veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline recommend keeping away from pets.

Holiday Ornaments When decorating consider your pets. Holiday decorations such as snow globes or bubble lights may contain poisonous chemicals and if your pet chews on them the liquid inside could be could be dangerous. Methylene chloride, the chemical in bubble lights, can result in depression, aspiration pneumonia and irritation to the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract. Tinsel If you own a cat, forgo the tinsel. What looks like a shiny toy to your cat can prove deadly if ingested. Tinsel does not pose a poisoning risk but can cause severe damage to a cat’s intestinal tract if swallowed. Ultimately, cats run the risk of severe injury to, or rupture of their intestines and treatment involves expensive abdominal surgery.

or her regular diet over the holidays and do not let family and friends sneak in treats. Foods that can present problems: • Foods containing grapes, raisins and currants (such as fruitcakes) can result in kidney failure in dogs. • Chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine, a chemical highly toxic to dogs and cats. Ingestion in small amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea but large amounts can cause seizures and heart arrhythmias. • Many sugarless gums and candies contain xylitol, a sweetener which is toxic to dogs. It causes a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and liver failure. • Leftover, fatty meat scraps can produce severe inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) leading to abdominal pain, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.

Imported Snow Globes Recently, imported snow globes were found to contain antifreeze (ethylene glycol.) As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze when ingested by a cat or a tablespoon or two for a dog (depending Plants on their size), can be fatal. Signs of early Though they have a bad rap, poinsettia plants are poisoning include acting drunk or uncoordinated, only mildly toxic. Far more worrisome are holiday excessive thirst, and lethargy. While signs may bouquets containing lilies, holly or mistletoe. seem to improve after eight to twelve hours, “Lilies, including tiger, Asiatic, stargazer, Easter internal damage is actually worsening, and and day lilies, are the most dangerous plants for crystals develop in the kidneys resulting in acute cats,” said Dr. Ahna Brutlag, assistant director of kidney failure. Immediate treatment with an Pet Poison Helpline. “The ingestion of one to two antidote is vital. leaves or flower petals is enough to cause sudden kidney failure in cats.” Other yuletide Liquid Potpourri pants such as holly berries and mistletoe can also Filling your house with the smell of nutmeg or be toxic to pets and can cause gastrointestinal pine for the holidays may seem inviting, but if upset and even heart arrhythmias if ingested. you’re partial to heating your scented oils in a simmer pot, know that they can cause serious Alcohol harm to your cat; even a few licks can result in Because alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the severe chemical burns in the mouth, fever, bloodstream, it affects pets quickly. Ingestion of difficulty breathing, and tremors. Dogs aren’t as alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sensitive, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry, sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. so scent your home with a non-toxic candle kept Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and safely out of kitty’s reach. respiratory failure. Additionally, foods such as desserts containing alcohol and unbaked dough When it comes to the holidays, the best thing a that contains yeast should be kept away from pet owner can do is get educated on common pets as they may result in alcohol toxicity, household toxins and pet-proof your home vomiting, disorientation and stomach bloat. accordingly. If you think your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Holiday Foods Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 with any questions With the holiday season comes a delightful or concerns. j variety of baked goods, chocolate confections and other rich, fattening foods. However, it is not wise (and in some cases is quite dangerous) to share these treats with your pets. Keep your pet on his

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” – John Steinbeck Page 30 • • DECEMBER 2017

African Americans In World War II Thru December 10 MOSH’s newest exhibit features African Americans in World War II. The photo exhibition represents the work of more than 1.2 million African Americans who served in all branches of service and in all theaters of operations during World War II. The exhibit will run through December 10. Adult tickets are $12.50, and kids admission is $10 for ages 3-12. Under 2 are free. Museum of Science and History / 904-396-6674 / 1025 Museum Circle, Jacksonville, FL 32207 / Parent’s Night Out at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm • December 1, 6pm to 10pm The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park hosts Parent’s NIght Out. Cost includes 2 slices of pizza/person, drinks, hands-on animal presentation, twilight zoo tours, a craft, nocturnal games, and more. Price is $25 for members, and $30 for nonmembers. Parents can register online. St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park / 904824-3337 / 999 Anastasia Blvd, St. Augustine, FL 32080 /

Harlem Globetrotters 2018 World Tour December 8, 7pm The Harlem Globetrotters bring their 2018 World Tour to the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on December 8, at 7pm. Tickets to the see the Globetrotters start at $26, and are available online or the Tom Bush Family of Dealerships Box Office located at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. A special Magic Pass is also available to purchase. The Magic Pass event takes place from 5:30pm to 6pm. Before the game, take part in a once-ina-lifetime experience with your family where you have an opportunity to spend time on the court with the Globetrotters - shooting, trying out ball tricks and getting autographs and photos. All customers must have a game ticket AND Magic Pass for entry. This includes all children as well as the parent(s)/ guardian(s) wishing to accompany them. Soft/rubber soled shoes must be worn on court. Magic Pass tickets are an additional $22 each, plus online fee. Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena / 904-6303900 / 300 A. Philip Randolph Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32202 /

Kids Tour of the Arboretum December 9, 10am to 11am Home Depot Kids Workshop: Gingerbread House This tour is designed to teach kids the relationship December 2, 9am to 12noon between people and the environment. The group Offered the first Saturday of each month between will be taken around the arboretum and shown 9am and 12 noon. All kids get to keep their craft, what plants can be used for purposes such as food, receive a free certificate of achievement, a Workmedicine, fibers, culture, and environmental factors. shop Apron, and a commemorative pin while supKids will learn that plants are essential to life as we plies last. This week’s project is a wooden gingerknow it. This free tour is designed for kids roughly bread house that will last year after year. Once the ages 7-12 and will begin the second Saturday of gingerbread house is built, your child can decorate it September. From there, it will be held every second with paint and stickers. Saturday of the month. It will begin at 10am at Area Home Depot Stores / the picnic area and will continue until 11am. This The Martial Artists and Acrobats of China program will not only get the kids outside and December 2, 7pm letting out some energy, but it will also teach them The Martial Artists and Acrobats of Tianjin, People’s facts and skills they can take to their families and Republic of China was established in 1957 as a schools. Please email combination of the former China Circus & Acrobats as spots are limited. that was founded in 1948. It is one of the best Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens / 1445 Millcoe acrobatic troupes in China with over one hundred Road, Jacksonville, FL 32225 / www.jacksonvillearacrobatic, magical and martial arts performers. Tickets range from $23 to $63. Movie in the Park • December 16, 6pm to 8:30pm Thrasher-Horne Center / 904-276-6815 / 283 ColGrace Life Church hosts their fourth annual Movies lege Drive, Orange Park, FL 32065 / www.thcenter. in the Park. The event is free and there will be poporg corn and hot cocoa to enjoy during the show. The Conservation Night movie shown will be Moana. December 6, 6pm to 7:30pm Ronnie Van Zant Memorial Park / 904-707-9989 / St. Johns County Parks and Recreation has part2760 Sandridge Rd, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043 / nered with GTM Research Reserve to offer a unique family oriented program. All ages are invited for a Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary Enrichfun night all about wacky weather. Florida experiment Day • December 17, 1pm ences all types of weather conditions including Enjoy a guided tour of all the residents (Siberian hurricanes. Bring your family and learn all about the tigers, lions, cougars, black leopards, a bobcat, coweather that impacts our area, what you can do to atimundis and foxes) at the sanctuary. Tours begin be prepared, and participate in hands on weather at 1pm and last about 45 minutes. Tours include a related activities. Free. viewing of all the residents, as time allows, along The Players Community Center / 904-209-0335 / with facts about the animals. Enrichments begin 175 Landrum Lane, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082 / at 2:30pm. Strollers and cameras are welcome. Although reservations are not required, they highly Force Fest: A Star Wars Fan Fest suggest purchasing tickets in advance to avoid December 8, 4pm to 9pm waiting in line. Force Fest is a fan created and produced mini Catty Shack Ranch / 904-757-3603 / 1860 Starratt festival and con. The event is free to the public Road, Jacksonville, FL 32226 / and features guest stars, a variety of stage shows and entertainment, vendors, artists, and the main EDITOR’S NOTE: Dates, times and locations are event: the largest Ligthtsaber Battle in Duval county. accurate at time of publication; events and activities Tickets start at $10 and area available online. listed in this guide are subject to change without Jacksonville Landing / 2 W Independent Drive, notice. Visit for updated information Jacksonville, FL 32202 / and more events!

n o s BIG FOR a e e S r A to Sha WE GO BIRTHDAYS

ICE SKATING | Ice Slide | Bounce House | Reindeer Games S’mores roasting | Visit with Santa | And More!

WINTERFest parties available at jax beach location

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Ice Skate Rental

Valid Jax Beach Location Only. Valid on full-priced daily tickets only. Not

valid with any other offers. Limit 1 per person per day. $3 Value. Expires 1.18.18 SKU#6098

Arcade 120 Tokens $20 Valid at all 3 locations. Not valid with any other offers. Limit 1 per person per day. Expires 12.31.17. SKU#8304

Now - January 8th GROUP PRICING & HOLIDAY PARTIES AVAILABLE Visit for details Sponsored by:

$20 OFF

Birthday Party

Visit Website for Package Details Valid at all 3 locations. Not valid with any other offers. Limit 1 per party per day. Expires Mint 12.31.17 $20 Off Bday SKU#6321


DECEMBER 2017 • •

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Bleed: .125” all around

Colours: CMYK

Built: Nov 16, 2017 - sn


At RiverTown, there’s a new experience waiting for you every day. From its miles of riverfront trails, to kayaking on the St. Johns River, to enjoying picturesque RiverFront Park, you can take advantage of RiverTown’s natural surroundings in the best way possible with everyone you love. And with The Homestead and The Gardens now open, there are even more ways to enjoy these experiences together. No matter where you live in RiverTown, there are plenty of ways to spend your days. Gather round the junior Olympic pool in the upcoming one-of-a-kind riverfront amenity, the RiverClub, meet your neighbors, and spend quality time with your family. Find new ways to have fun together, like a night at the movies with a food truck stop afterwards. From summer concerts to outdoor luaus and cookouts, every day in RiverTown features something new to celebrate as a family. RiverTown offers new homes for every life stage, ranging from the $240s to over $1 million.

STARTING FROM THE $240s Single Family Homes St. Johns County SALES CENTER


90 Lanier Street Saint Johns, FL 32259 904-337-4773

Mon to Thurs & Sat 10 am - 6 pm Fri & Sun 12 pm - 6 pm

Visit our Sales Center or to learn more.

All illustrations are artist’s concept. All dimensions are approximate. Prices, specifications, terms and conditions subject to change without notice. E.&O.E. Builder CGC1523769. Mattamy Rivertown LLC: D.J. Smith – License No. CGC1517223.

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Jax4Kids December 2017  
Jax4Kids December 2017  

Happy Holidays! To help you get prepared and make the most of the holiday season, we’ve assembled gift ideas for the kids in your life (page...