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The 90s were a simpler time. Clothes were baggier, music came on cassette tapes, Blockbuster still existed. If you're anything like the rest of us, you likely spend at least a few hours a day pining nostalgically for all things 1990s. Especially if you lived in Jacksonville, FL during the 90s. Because we can't help but revisit what feels like better days, join us as we tour things only 90s Jacksonville, FL residents will remember.
Sinking Quarters/Tokens into Games at Aladdin's Castle & Tilt
Thanks to barcades like Keg & Coin – an arcade bar in Jacksonville's Riverside neighborhood – and entertainment hotspots like Dave and Busters and Adventure Landing, there are still places you can get your arcade cabinet fix.
But there's nothing like the originals. Bereft of the other distractions – Keg & Coin is a bar first, arcade second, while Dave and Busters and Adventure Landing prominently feature an entire restaurant and a water park, respectively – these classic arcades existed purely for the endless joy of arcade games.
Many of us lost countless hours in Aladdin's Castle in the Orange Park mall. Parents shopping for boring stuff? Give us $5 and we'll be content basked in the warm glow of arcade cabinets for at least an hour. The same goes for Tilt at the Jacksonville Landing (itself an icon of the 90s that no longer exists). A few rounds of Street Fighter with friends at Tilt would be enough to make anyone's weekend.
Playing Mini-Golf with Rex at Goony Golf
Before he became the orange sentinel of Beach Boulevard as we know him today, Rex, Jacksonville's famous T-Rex statue, presided over innumerable mini-golf games at Goony Golf. He was one of several, um, interesting obstacles and characters for which Goony Golf was known. For all its kitschy charm, Goony Golf felt like a staple of a fun Saturday afternoon.
And while the chain's Jacksonville location went extinct early in the 2000s, we still thankfully have Rex's beautiful mug to remind us of just how great things used to be.
Going to a Drive-In Movie
Going to a movie in a normal theater is a treat in itself, to be sure. But there was just something special about rolling down the windows, audio pouring out your radio, and watching a movie in the crisp night air.
In the 90s, Jax residents had a few options. They could pull up to the Playtime Drive-In off Blanding Boulevard or the Beaches Drive-In. These excellent and unique date destinations from the 90s sadly no longer exist. Playtime had its screens shut down for good in 2008, while Beaches Drive-In had its proverbial windows shuttered in 2003.
Feasting on the Wagon Wheel at Famous Amos. Ordering a Camel Rider on-the-go from The Sheik. A full chicken platter from Beach Road Chicken Dinners. Sipping on a Slush Puppie from the local Little Champ gas station. Barbecue from the short-lived Rumboggies (or maybe you just bought the sauce?). Eating Chinese buffet in a dimly lit indoor dining area surrounded by koi ponds and bridges at Garden of Tiki.
We could go on, but we're making ourselves hungry.
What were you doing for fun in the 90s if you weren't at the mall? Maybe your commerce hub of choice was the Regency Square Mall, with its bustling storefronts and unique eateries at the food court. Or maybe you favored the newer atmosphere of the Avenues mall, which opened its doors in 1990.
If you lived in Orange Park, though, we know you loved the Orange Park Mall. Dozens of storefronts, a thriving food court, the aforementioned Aladdin's Castle, and, of course, the classic carousel.
With no major league sports teams calling Jacksonville home in the early 90s, the city still had plenty of sports to get excited for. Baseball was never hotter than when the Jacksonville Suns lit up minor league ballparks (of course they still persist today, though rebranded as the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp).
Meanwhile, possibly the coolest local sports team in terms of uniforms, colors, logo, and name: The Jacksonville Lizard Kings. Sure, hockey doesn't have a strong foothold in Florida, but the Lizard Kings captured the hearts of many Jax residents on sheer coolness alone. Just look at that logo above!
Then, of course, the big daddy arrives in 1993: Jacksonville gets its very own NFL franchise. The Jaguars were born, and a city fell in love with its team in teal. The 90s seasons were special for the Jags, too, as the team found immense success within its first three seasons playing in the formerly named Alltel Stadium.
Keep Max in Jax
The intoxicating smell of coffee beans is familiar to anyone from Jacksonville thanks to the Maxwell House coffee plant located downtown. However, in the early 90s, the plant was nearly shutdown. The city launched a "Keep Max in Jax" campaign to convince Maxwell House to keep the plant open. It turned out to be wildly successful, not only saving the plant but motivating the company to double down in Jax with a multi-million-dollar expansion.
Classic Jax Radio Stations
The 90s had some outstanding radio stations for Jax residents. We spent many an afternoon cranking up the dial on all our favorite modern hits on 97.9 KISS FM. There was 93.3 Planet Radio for crunching new rock, while 104.5 pumped out all the classic rock your heart could desire. Then, of course, we had Cool 96.9, showering us all with "good times, great oldies."
There are so many ways to manage one's nutrition – calories in/calories out, macros, keto and low-carb, just to name a few – it can be confusing to figure out which one works best for you. But no matter your dieting style, there's one universal truth they all share: eating out is hard on a diet. Thankfully, a growing number of restaurants offering more nutritionally sound menus is making it easier. Here are some of the best healthy places to eat in Orange Park, FL.
Clean Eatz takes its mission to be the first step in leading you to a healthy lifestyle seriously. Its menu is full of forward-thinking options for the nutritionally conscious, including customizable protein and veggie bowls, superfood salads, wraps, and a range of non-beef burger options. Trying to pack on muscle? Check out their protein-dense specialties and smoothies made with protein powder.
As its name illustrates, The Urban Bean offers a wide menu full of coffee, superfood smoothies, iced teas, and botanicals. The Urban Bean takes the same healthy, handmade approach to its food. Lighter breakfast options include steel-cut oatmeal bowls, yogurt pots, and power bowls with egg whites. For lunch and beyond, The Urban Bean offers an extensive salad menu, delicious flatbreads, and a selection of vegan and vegetarian options.
One of Jacksonville's local treasures, Metro Diner is known for its hearty portions of classics and its inimitable chicken and waffles. That doesn't mean they don't cater to those seeking lighter fare! Opt for the yogurt with granola or classic oatmeal for a healthy breakfast or try an avocado veggie wrap (sans the dressing) for a light lunch.
With a huge array of flavors and nutritional add-ins, Planet Smoothie is great for a midday snack that's heavy on nutrition and light on calories – especially if you order from their Planet Lite menu, which features many sub-300 calorie items. Fitness lovers can get some extra fuel for their workouts with the shop's protein, superfood, and energy subcategories.
Jeremiah's Italian Ice ensures you can still treat yourself with something sweet without worrying about obliterating your diet. Many of their flavorful 10-oz. Italian ice treats pack under 300 calories. And if you go for the sugar-free kind, you're looking at roughly half the calories for the same quantity.
You can trace comic books all the way back to the Golden (1940s) and Silver (1950s) Ages, but there's no better time to jump in than now. Superhero movies and TV shows dominate the big and small screens alike, and even non-superhero comics have been adapted into mega-successful properties beyond the page (like The Walking Dead).
And with Free Comic Book Day just around the corner, you have the perfect excuse to head out to your local shop this weekend! If you're not sure where to start, worry not. We've got the best comic book shops in Jacksonville, FL right here.
Whether you're looking to fill some holes in your collection or you're starting from scratch, Cosmic Comics is a great shop to visit. In addition to their long boxes full of back-issues, you'll find tons of great action figures, statues, and other collectibles.
Mythical Mountain has quite the reputation around town. It was voted Jacksonville's 2nd Best Toy Store and Best Local Comic Book Store in 2018 in Folio Weekly's Best of Jax contest! That's thanks to its huge inventory of classic comics, new books, action figures, vintage collectibles, and the ever-present Funko® Pops.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="900"] Photo: Coliseum of Comics, Riverside[/caption]
Coliseum of Comics is the go-to for all things comics in both the Riverside and Beaches areas of Jacksonville. Comics new and old line the walls of this trendy shop alongside incredible statues and dozens of tabletop classics. You can even buy miniatures and other supplies for games like Warhammer 40,000.
From Marvel and DC to Star Wars and Doctor Who, Gotham City Limit has something to appeal to nerds of all stripes. Check out the Star Wars pinball machine and classic Pac-Man cabinet when you first enter, or the shelves full of memorabilia from just about any popular franchise you can imagine. And if you can't find a specific comic or item on your list, let them know and they'll order it for you!
The folks at Altered Egos don't try to hide their passion for comic books and the community that surrounds it. They'll gladly welcome you in whether you've been reading since the Golden Age or you're fresh out the movie theater and ready to learn more about the character you just watched on the big screen. You can even hang out with like-minded fans at one of the shop's weekly game meetups!
Unlike the other shops on this list, Action Toys & Collectibles isn't a destination for new comics. However, if you're a nostalgia hunter in the market for back-issues or throwback action figures, make a stop at Action Toys & Collectibles. And if you have old collectibles that need a new home, Action Toys is often in the market for new merch!