From downtown, heading north on I-95 you'll see the stunning architectural achievement of the Dames Point Bridge. Just before the bridge on Blount Island is JAXPORT, the 754-acre terminal which is the largest marine facility and one of the largest vehicle import/export centers in the United States. It is also the location for the Cruise Line Terminal where big cruise ships drop anchor to pick up Jacksonville cruisers headed for destinations to the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
Surprise! Make a quick right, and you'll find yourself at the entrance to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, which sits at the mouth of the Trout River, a large feeder waterway into the St. Johns to the west. It's 110 acres, with over 2,000 animals, and you might guess what the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens marquee attraction is the "Range of the Jaguar," exhibit, developed as a nod to the hometown Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team.
With the expansion of JAXPORT and easy access to all the Naval bases in the area, Jacksonvilles Northside gained a whole new landscape with many new communities sprouting up during the housing boom in the early 2000s. A pleasant surprise to many Jacksonville locals this area soon became very popular because of its close proximity to downtown, and country lifestyle which was a well-kept secret Oceanway residents had enjoyed for years. Because of the close proximity to the airport, affordable homes and the addition of the new River Place Town Center for shopping, this location has become a favorite choice for many newcomers to the Jacksonville area.
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