Bringing the kids to One Spark? Here’s your family-friendly guide

DVI's Jennifer Hewett-Apperson
DVI’s Jennifer Hewett-Apperson

As DVI’s resident parent of a kindergartener, I thought it would be helpful for other parents to have a quick idea of places to take kids as they navigate the maze of One Spark venues and creators. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but it does provide a good starting point for those coming Downtown with kids.

Getting here: Park at the Convention Center Skyway lot for FREE and ride the (also FREE) Skyway to Hemming Plaza Station. Every time we come even close to Downtown, my daughter wants to know if we can ride the Skyway.

Now that you are at Hemming Plaza, be prepared to be here a while. Parents, this is a good place to grab one of the special beers that Intuition Ale Works has brewed up just for One Spark for yourself. Then, stop at The Hyppo, a St. Augustine-based purveyor of all natural and delicious popsicles for the kids. Who am I kidding – get a popsicle for yourself, too!

In Hemming Plaza, two things will become apparent – there is a giant goldfish in the fountain and there is a huge teepee in the southeast corner. The teepee is courtesy of Dr. Wayne Wood, also known as The Most Interesting Man in Jacksonville. All are welcome to go inside the teepee and enjoy. Be warned – it may be difficult to get your kids out of the teepee. It’s that awesome! There are also several opportunities for everyone to become part of the art on the Laura Street side of Hemming Plaza thanks to artists Jeff Whipple and Liz Gibson.

Definitely stop into MOCA Jacksonville to check out the multi-story mural that local artist Shaun Thurston created for One Spark.  It is really magnificent. While you are at MOCA, they have a tent on the sidewalk equipped with sidewalk chalk so that your budding artist can contribute to the creative environment Downtown.

Other kid-friendly creators that you should check out include: Riverside Stitch Society upstairs at Chamblin’s Uptown, where you can learn some knitting and sewing basics and even make a little project; Discovery House at The Art Center II on Hogan Street; and the Day School at Main Street Park. Also at Main Street Park, RouxArt is creating a tile mosaic along one of the retaining walls, which has been pretty amazing to watch grow throughout One Spark.

This is just a small sample of the hundreds of creators that are at One Spark 2014 and some that particularly caught my daughter’s eye. I apologize if I have left anyone out!