Gainesville Things to Do

  • Things to Do
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  • The bottom of the devils millhopper
    The bottom of the devils millhopper
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  • entrance to morningside nature center
    entrance to morningside nature center
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Most Recent Things to Do in Gainesville

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    Micanopy Historical Society Museum

    by tampa_shawn Updated Sep 16, 2008

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    A quaint little museum that does a wonderful job of painting a picture of what life was like in early Micanopy (the second oldest European settlement in Florida). Various displays provide information on the area's settlement, the Indians, harvesting turpentine and day-to-day life in the area (laundry, mail, getting mail, naval stores, beauty shops...).

    The museum is quite nice but the real treat here are the museum's volunteers who are a font of information and knowledge. Charles H was volunteering during our visit and he did an amazing job at making us feel welcome and provided some great information about the European Settlement and later history of the area.

    Museum Hours:
    * Daily 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
    * Donation of $2.00 suggested

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    Butterfly Rainforest

    by tampa_shawn Updated Sep 16, 2008

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    An absolutely magical place the setting is beautiful and you won't believe all the butterflies! I spent hours here and really and truly could have spent more! Be sure to bring your camera!

    Be sure to come for the butterfly release (where the newly "hatched" butterflies are released into the terrarium). The website (below) provides an up to date listing of the times. We were there on Saturday afternoon and butterflies were released about every hour. The staff who released the butterflies gave some great information. Although I must say that the staff here were wonderful and kept on stopping buy and giving me more information.

    There is an attached museum with all sorts of information on butterflies and an overwhelming display of various preserved butterflies from around the world. Be sure to look at the hatching area and the labs and storage areas.

    Note this exhibit is part of the Florida Museum of Natural History and next to the Han Museum of Art - so you can attend all at the same time.

    Also remember to check the website (below) for special events (like the butterfly migration and the butterfly release) these are GREAT

    Hours: Monday - Saturday 10a-5p; Sunday 1p-5p. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    Parking

    Reserved parking for museum visitors - excluding University holidays - is $3 per day (cash only), 8:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The reserved parking area is immediately east and north of the Harn Museum of Art in the UF Cultural Plaza. Please see attendant in gated booth.

    Parking is free on weekends and State holidays.

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    What to do in Alachua County

    by tampa_shawn Updated Sep 16, 2008

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    Gaineville is in Alachua County and there is SOOOOOO much to do here.

    This is the best resource I found for the area is below...is from the Alachua County Visitors and Convention Bureau (see Website below)

    Things to do in the local area (that I haven't written about yet)

    Note the website (below) provides links to all of these websites (and potential activities)
    I'll be adding more tips...as I get to visit these places

    Museums
    + Archer Railroad Museum
    + Hawthorne Museum
    + Matheson Museum
    + Micanopy Museum
    + University Galleries

    Historic Sites
    + Dudley Farm State Park
    + Haile Homestead
    + Marjorie Rawlings State Park
    + Thomas Center

    Nature
    + Bivens Arm
    + Devil's Millhopper
    + Dog Wood Dog Park
    + Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail
    + Greathouse Butterfly Farm
    + Kanapaha Gardens
    + Mill Creek Farm
    + Morningside Nature Center
    + Poe Springs Park
    + San Felasco Hammock

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    UF bat house

    by tampa_shawn Updated Sep 16, 2008

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    The University of Florida has bat houses that are pretty amazing. Come around sunset off of Museum Rd on the University of Florida Campus (at the University Agricultural Gardens)

    There is a good chance there will be a of people just hanging out alongside a wooden fence to see the 100,000 bats flying out of the Bat House and over the heads of the assembled "bat groupies"! Join the fun!

    The area bat area is across the street from a lovely lake equipped with picnic tables. My recommendation would be to pick up a bucket of chicken and sit across the street waiting for the bats to start leaving the "house" and head across the street for pictures

    They are Brazilian Free-tailed Bats and are insect eaters (a very good thing to be in Florida) and to have next to gardens (which is where the bat house is located(

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    Planetarium of Santa Fe College

    by tampa_shawn Updated Sep 16, 2008

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    The Kika Silva Pla Planetarium seats 64 guests beneath a 34 ft Spitz dome, and has two state of the art planetarium projectors

    The planetarium has a wide variety of different shows some of which include a live concerts

    Shows, prices and time vary so please see the website. Many of the shows are free to Sante Fe Students

    When I was here there were shows on Friday at 7 and 10 PM and Saturday at 3, 5, 7 and 10PM

    I've listed a few of the adult oriented shows above (note there are also children oriented shows):

    "Southern Nights" - learn some everyday astronomy and how to identify planets and consolations in the current night skies of North Central Florida. These presentations will also include some mythology from cultures all over the world. No two shows are identical! [60 min] All Ages

    "Night Spirits: Native American Star Lore" - explores some modern Native American culture, Native American history, and ancient Native American astronomical knowledge, before concluding with some Native American Storytelling about the stars under one of the most realistic night sky star projectors in the world. [75 min]

    "Rock on Demand" Vol. 1 and 2 - is an entertainment music show (not a planetarium show) featuring bands like Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, Rush, Metallica and many others, combined with outstanding computer animations which fill the entire dome, surrounding you with an experience which you won't soon forget!

    PLANETARIUM SHOWS

    Adults (ages 13 - 59)...............$4.00
    Seniors (ages 60+)..................$3.00
    Children (ages 4 - 12)..............$3.00
    Children (ages 0-3)...................Free
    With SFC ID Card..................Free

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    University of Florida Harn Museum of Art

    by tampa_shawn Updated Sep 13, 2008

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    This museum has an impressive collection of African Art, as well as ancient american, pre-columbian and contemporary art and photography.

    It is located on the University of Florida Campus across from the Natural History Museum

    They also offer films, lecture series, workshops and performances

    Also has a nice gift shop

    In fact if you are visiting the UF Natural History Museum you will be parking in the art museum parking lot (free parking on weekends)

    Entrance to the Museum is FREE

    Closed Monday
    Tues to Friday 11 AM to 5 PM
    Sunday 1 PM to 5 PM

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    Ichetucknee Springs

    by tampa_shawn Updated Sep 13, 2008

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    Another one of our great Florida state parks. This one is a great tubing location and is stunning

    Tubing - get your tubes before you enter the park. At the south entrance of the park, tubers have the opportunity to choose a 1.5 hour float or a 30 minute float on the cool, spring-fed, crystal clear waters of the Ichetucknee River. If you choose to tube the full length of the river for a 3 hour float, get to the north entrance early as only 750 tubers per day are permitted on the sensitive and beautiful upper section of the river.

    Swimming or snorkeling in the springs

    Stroll along the river on the Trestle Point Trail

    Park Fees

    Admission Fee (no river use) - $5.00 per vehicle (limit 8 people per vehicle). Single Car Occupant - $3.00

    Motorcycle Fee (one or two persons) - $3.00

    Canoeing Fee: $5.00 per person year round.

    Tubing
    North Entrance-Summer Season (Begins the Saturday before Memorial Day through Labor Day) - $5.00 per person (children 5 and under are free).

    South Entrance-Summer Season (Begins the Saturday before Memorial Day through Labor Day) - $5.00 per person (children 5 and under are free).

    South Entrance-Off-Season (Begins the Tuesday after Labor Day thru the Friday before Memorial Day) - $5.00 per vehicle (limit 8 people per vehicle).

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    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings House and Farm Yard

    by tampa_shawn Written Sep 12, 2008

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    This site was the home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, the author of many major literary works, including The Yearling, which received the 1939 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the novels South Moon Under, and Golden Apples, and her memoir, Cross Creek.

    The Rawlings house also is a notable example of the Cracker (descendents of pioneer settlers) style of architecture, derived from a variety of influences to suit the climate and available technology of the rural South.

    Additional information on the National Historic Landmark program can be found on the NPS website at History & Cluture

    open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Guided walks through the Rawlings' home are offered on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00 p.m. from October through July.

    When exploring the house...remember it's the 1930s and we are not air-conditioned or heated, so dress for the weather.

    This is a 1930s Florida farm farm life and shows where Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings lived and worked. She lived in this cracker style home and farm for 25 years

    There are also nature trails and the park rangers giving the tours are in costume!

    Guided tours of the Rawlings' house are offered Thursdays through Sundays, October through July (except for Christmas and Thanksgiving) at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00 p.m. Tours at the park begin at the barn, walk through the farmyard and then through the historic house.

    The park is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Admission Fees - $2.00/vehicle

    Guided Tours of the Rawling's house: Adults - $3.00 per person
    Children - 6 to 12 years of age, $2.00 per person
    Children under 6 years of age are free.

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    Devils Den

    by tampa_shawn Written Sep 12, 2008

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    This is an underground cave that has a swimming pool like cave. It is GREAT for hot summer days.

    Features crystal clear water, year round 72 degree temperatures, ancient rock formations with stalactites, fossil beds, and much more. Bring a picnic!

    Hours of Operation
    Monday - Thursday 9:00am - 6:00pm
    Friday - Sunday 8:00am - 6:00pm

    Last diver in the water by 4:30PM
    Dive site gates close at 5:30

    General Admission: $9.00
    (snorkelers and swimmers)
    Childern age 2 and under are free

    Dive Fees: $35.00 (including tax)
    Night Dive: $15.00

    What it has:
    Full Dive Shop
    Full Dive Equipment Rentals
    For use of dive training to include cavern diving
    Air fills
    Volleyball court and
    games
    Bath houses with tiled hot showers
    Gazebos with picnic tables and bar-b-que grills
    Cabin rentals
    Camping
    Fishing
    Swimming in our heated pool
    R.V. sites with full hookups
    Adjacent Stellina Resort offers horseback riding

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    Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

    by tampa_shawn Written Sep 12, 2008

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    Nature Trail at Paynes Prairie

    Paynes Prairie is biologically, geologically, and historically unique. This park became Florida´s first state preserve in 1971 and is now designated as a National Natural Landmark. Noted artist and naturalist William Bartram called it the great Alachua Savannah when he wrote about his visit to the prairie in 1774.

    Over 20 distinct biological communities provide a rich array of habitats for wildlife, including alligators, bison, wild horses, and over 270 species of birds. Exhibits and an audio-visual program at the visitor center explain the area´s natural and cultural history. A 50-foot-high observation tower near the visitor center provides a panoramic view of the preserve.

    Eight trails provide opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, and bicycling. Ranger-led activities are offered on weekends, November through April. Fishing on Lake Wauberg is allowed and a boat ramp provides access for canoes and boats with electric motors. Gasoline powered boats are not allowed. Full-facility campsites are available for overnight visitors. Located on U.S. 441, 10 miles south of Gainesville.
    Hours of Operation

    Florida state parks are open from 8 a.m. until sundown 365 days a year.

    Admission Fees - $4.00/vehicle (up to 8 passengers). Single Car Occupant - $3.00
    Motorcycle Fee (one or two persons) - $3.00
    Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicles with a holder of an Annual Individual Entrance permit - Admission Fee $1.00 per person.

    Camping Fees - $15.00 per night

    Picnic Pavilion - A 65 person picnic pavilion can be reserved for $30.00 plus tax.

    Group Camping - Camping fee is $4.00 for each person with a minimum fee of $20.00 per night, plus tax. Equestrian fee is $10.00 for both horse and rider.

    I am of course am a huge fan of Annual Passes -- For an annual pass to ALL Florida state parks see http://www.floridastateparks.org/annualpass/default.cfm

    Individual Entrance: $43.40 each
    Family Entrance: $85.80 each

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    hippodrome state theatre

    by doug48 Updated Oct 20, 2007

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    hippodrome state theatre

    located in the historic 1911 federal building the hippodrome theatre company was established in 1972. hippodrome presents plays and cinema. they also have the backstage bar on premises. for events and times check their website.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Theater Travel

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    harn museum of art

    by doug48 Written Oct 20, 2007

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    harn museum of art

    the harn museum of art is located on the university of florida campus. this museum has collections of african, mesoamerican, asian and modern art. a very good collection for a town the size of gainesville.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture

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    university of florida

    by doug48 Updated Oct 20, 2007

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    century tower

    the university of florida dominates the economic and cultural life of gainesville. the university of florida was created by combining several small colleges in 1905. the 1905 buckman act established the university of florida in gainesville, the florida female college (FSU) and the state normal school for colored students (florida A&M) in tallahassee. the university of florida is the third largest school in the united states with a student population of over 50,000. the university of florida has a beautiful campus and interesting neo gothic buildings.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • National/State Park

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    Butterfly Rainforest at University of Florida

    by kozmic9 Updated May 14, 2007
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    Tons of butterflies. There is a large screened in enclosure with lots of butterflies along with exotic plants. Inside the museum there is a part that shows the life cycle of the butterflies and the lab where they cultivate them.

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    Butterfly Rainforest

    by Katmosphere Written Jul 14, 2006

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    Within the University there is the most beautiful butterfly rainforest garden!! There are hundreds of butterflies flying around you as you walk through the rainforest. If you stand still they land on you--so many different species and colors--it's beautiful!!

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