EVENING OUT: Tours, Activities, Treats For Fun Night in Fernandina

Take an evening ride — on a trolley, river boat, or in a horse-drawn carriage. Tour historic Fort Clinch by candlelight. Love nature? Watch an evening sea turtle nest excavation at the beach this summer. Like competition? Play some miniature golf. Enjoy some sweet treats at Fernandina’s ice cream and frozen yogurt shops.

Summertime Evening Tours

Tour Fort Clinch at night by candlelight on Amelia Island

Venture into Fort Clinch State Park on Amelia Island’s northend for a special evening guided tour of this Civil-War era fortress in Fernandina Beach. Candlelight tours of the fort are offered after sundown now through Labor Day weekend only on Friday & Saturday evenings (except on Saturday’s during First Weekend Garrisons or special events). Reservations are required for candlelight tours, for more information call 904-277-7274.  Park entrance fee of $6 per vehicle (up to 8 passengers) plus $3.00 per person fort admission. Be at the ranger station by 8:30 pm, tour is at 9 pm and lasts 30 to 40 minutes.  With the fort perched waterfront on the Cumberland Sound, breezes usually keep bugs away (but for still nights be prepared with bug repellent).  Fort Clinch is located on Atlantic Avenue in Fernandina Beach (near Main Beach Park).

Evening Trolley Tours — Take a Ghostly Ride Aboard Amelia Island Trolleys

Hop Aboard With Amelia Island Trolleys
Hop aboard! Take a tour with Amelia Island Trolleys

Folks can hop on a trolley and ride around Fernandina listening to ghost tales on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings at 8 pm this summer.  The trolleys depart from the foot of Centre Street near the Fernandina Harbor Marina. Tours cost $18 for adults, $11 for kids. For the latest information and reservations, call Amelia Island Trolleys at 904-743-4486 or go to their website.

NATURE LOVERS: Observe a Sea Turtle Nest Excavation on Amelia Island

Watch An Amelia Island Sea Turtle Nest Excavation

Like rock bands, Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch volunteers attract groupies who show up for their turtle gigs. Their evening nest excavations have been attracting more of a following in recent years. They wow crowds who gather around to watch the process of digging into the island’s sea turtle nests.  Most of the sea turtles nesting on Amelia Island are loggerheads, but there have been some green turtle nests and the more rare (and huge) leatherbacks nesting in recent years.

Volunteers excavate sea turtle nests after a 50 to 60 day monitoring period that occurs during sea turtle nesting season (which runs from May through October each year).  Unlike Elvis, however, sometimes baby sea turtles have not yet “left the building.” To the delight of the turtle fans who gather, the uncovered baby sea turtles are placed in a bucket and then freed to the ocean to the applause of the audience. Sea turtles “rock” this barrier island.

At this writing, 184 sea turtle nests have been marked on Amelia Island during the 2012 nesting season. Nests have begun to be excavated in July. Each year from around mid-July through September, there are opportunities for locals and visitors to learn about Amelia Island’s sea turtles by attending a sea turtle nest excavation, usually held at 7 or 7:30 pm on the beach.  To find out the excavation schedule, one must check DAILY the Amelia Island Sea Turtle Nest website. Since it’s up to mother nature and the hatchlings as to when they decide to emerge from the nest, folks must keep checking the website for new announcements of excavations (put online only within a day or so of the nest excavation date).

TWILIGHT BYOB CRUISE DEPARTS FROM FERNANDINA HARBOR MARINA

All aboard the evening “Twilight BYOB Cruise” by Amelia River Cruises, departing from the Fernandina Beach Harbor Marina (ticket booth at 1 Front Street on the riverfront boardwalk, call for reservations 904-261-9972). Does cruisin’ and boozin’ while listening to tunes sound intriguing? This tour on the Amelia River (weather permitting), is a boat ride that also offers live entertainment featuring local artists. Listen to music and watch the sun go down out on the water. Bring your own bottle to enjoy a drink – beer, wine or beverage of choice. The Bald Eagle is a 59′ catamaran with open decks that provides all a great view. Now through August 18, 2012, Twilight tours are operating Monday through Saturday evenings. Beginning August 19, 2012  through Thanksgiving weekend 2012, Twilight tours will be offered Friday and Saturday evenings only. Cost is $27 per person plus sales tax of 7%. This is an adult-oriented river cruise.

Summer Evening Horse & Carriage Rides around Downtown Historic District, Fernandina Beach

Two carriage companies offer horse drawn carriage rides in Fernandina Beach, and generally only operate evening tours during the summertime starting around 6 pm or after (daytime Florida sunshine is too hot for the horses to be out on the street pulling carriage). Take a charming evening horse drawn carriage ride and hear about historic points of interest around Fernandina’s historic district.  Check out the  Old Towne Carriage Company, call 904-277-1555 for further information., featuring a Belgian Draft horse. The cost of a 30-minute tour with Old Towne Carriage is $15.00 for each adult, $7.00 for each child under 13 years of age, and infants under 2 ride for free.  Amelia Island Carriages also offers tours, call 904-556-2662, featuring a Percheron white horse (French breed of Draft horse). A tour with Amelia Island Carriages costs: Adults $15, kids aged 5 to 14 $7, under age 4 free.

“Sounds on Centre” FREE Street Concerts in Downtown Historic Fernandina Beach

Sounds on Centre,”  a free street music series in historic Fernandina Beach, can be enjoyed the first Friday evening of the month from 6 to 8 pm.  There are three concerts left in the 2012 season, August 3, 2012 (Spanish guitar and Flaminco), September 7, 2012 (Beech St. Blues), and October 5, 2012 (Gabriel Arnold, Motown). Head downtown to the historic district near the Amelia riverfront. Between 2nd street to Front Street, Centre Street is closed to vehicular traffic and instead filled with local folks and visitors who gather downtown to listen to an evening of free music. Bring a beach chair for your comfort or a partner to dance with!

Play Miniature Golf at Island Falls or at the beach at Putt Putt

Island Falls miniature golf on Sadler Road in Fernandina is open during the summer season Monday through Saturday from 10 am until 9:30 pm and on Sunday from 11 am until 8:30 pm.  18 holes with waterfalls and concession offering ice cream, beverages. Call Island Falls at 904-261-7881 for further information. Putt Putt of Fernandina Beach is a retro mini golf course, and has been a family fun spot for at least half a century, located oceanfront at Main Beach Park (6 North Fletcher Avenue near Atlantic Avenue).  Putt Putt also offers concession stand serving ice cream, treats, beverages. Play in “doubles tournament” on Friday nights this summer, arrive at 7 pm. Call Putt Putt for further information about operating hours at 904-261-4443.

SWEET TREATS: Homemade fudge, ice cream, frozen yogurt shops around Fernandina Beach

Need a place to bring the kids for a frozen treat on a hot summer night? Be sure to check out Fernandina Fantasic Fudge for a sweet treat! Besides homemade fudge and other confections, the popular shop on Centre Street scoops out ice cream, too. Another spot for a cool treat along historic Centre Street downtown is Island Time Premium Frozen Yogurt.  Also serving ice cream in Fernandina Beach (on Amelia Island) is Dairy Queen, Cold Stone Creamery, and DeNucci’s, all located along Sadler Road.   DeNucci’s Soft Serve is family owned and operated with a kid’s play area. With a drive-thru window as well as inside service and seating, DeNucci’s serves soft serve ice cream, frozen custard, frozen non fat yogurt and no sugar added non fat yogurt, lactose free fruity Dole whip and Nathan’s hot dogs. New in 2012, also serving hard pack hand-scooped ice cream and yogurt.  Yobe, known as YogaBerries, just opened on Sadler Road, in the shopping plaza near Coldwater Creek and Starbucks.  Another great spot for your sweet tooth is Peterbrooke Chocolatier, also on Sadler Road (near Publix grocery store). They are open Monday through Saturday until 8 pm, (only open until 5 pm on Sundays), call 904-277-0162 for further information.

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