Things to Do in Gainesville, Florida

There are plenty of great things to do in Gainesville, Florida. With the University of Florida nearby, you can use all the university’s resources. You can visit the museum, learn about the area’s history, and learn more about the people and cultures that made Gainesville what it is today.

In addition, you can check out the art collection at the Harn Museum of Art. Finally, you can visit the Ichetucknee Springs State Park to get outdoors.

Gainesville is the cultural center of Florida, offering a variety of things to do. Gainesville is packed with excitement, from museums to festivals to shopping.

What to do in Gainesville, Florida

Gainesville is also home to the University of Florida. The campus boasts over 20 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. For those looking for an educational experience, the University is a great place to start. There are tours available to explore the campus.

Another place to explore in Gainesville is the Florida Museum of Natural History. This massive rambling complex features several permanent exhibits, including a butterfly conservatory and a dinosaur exhibit. You can also visit the Discovery Zone, which offers activity stations.

Other things to do in Gainesville include the Gainesville Zoo, which has a range of animals and is open year-round. Visitors can take a tour or enjoy the animals on their own.

Hippodrome Gainesville
Hippodrome Gainesville

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is a great place to visit if you want something fun to do in Florida. The North Florida Botanical Society owns and operates this 62-acre facility.

This garden has many things to see, including an arboretum, a rock garden, a palm hammock, a labyrinth, and a giant water lily pond. You can also purchase plants and unique items in the gift shop.

Many special events occur throughout the year at Kanapaha. The Spring Garden Festival, a bamboo sale, and the Camellia Show are among them. These events are a fun way to learn about plants and flowers.

Best places to visit in Gainesville - Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
Best places to visit in Gainesville – Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Another event to check out is the Moonlight Walk. This beautiful nighttime walk lights up the garden with 1500 luminaries.

Florida Museum of Natural History-Exhibits

The Florida Museum of Natural History is a renowned natural history museum in Gainesville, Florida. Its collection includes specimens of both domestic and international origin. Founded in the 1890s, the museum is now a chartered state institution. In addition to its permanent collections, the museum exhibits quality traveling exhibitions for lease.

Visitors can expect to encounter a variety of exhibits, including fossils, butterflies, and more. These exhibits are designed to highlight the unique habitats of Florida.

Things to do in Gainesville - Florida Museum of Natural History - Hodsons Scimitar Tooth Cat Skeleton
Things to do in Gainesville – Florida Museum of Natural History – Hodsons Scimitar Tooth Cat Skeleton

They feature interactive displays and hands-on activities. Some permanent exhibits include a life-size limestone cave replica and the Butterfly Rainforest.

The museum’s collections include more than two million excavated specimens. These specimens are from worldwide archaeological, commercial, religious, and military sites.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park

If you are looking for a world-class place to get wet, Ichetucknee Springs State Park in Gainesville, Florida, is the perfect place to go. This state park is famous for swimming, kayaking, and tubing. The park also offers several other recreational activities.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park - Places to go in Gainesville
Ichetucknee Springs State Park – Places to go in Gainesville

Among the things that you can do at Ichetucknee Springs are tubing, scuba diving, and cave exploring. A tubing tram can take you down the river. You can also rent a canoe or kayak from local vendors outside the park.

For a more active outing, you can go hiking. The state park has several walking trails. These trails pass through a variety of forests and swamps. It is a great place to explore nature, especially when it is less crowded.

Gainesville Raceway

Gainesville Raceway, located in Gainesville, Florida, is one of the most exciting dragstrips in the country. It hosts NHRA events like the Gatornationals and is home to the National Hot Rod Association. The track is off County Road 225, six miles north of the Gainesville Regional Airport.

With a quarter-mile track and a seating capacity of 30,000, the racing venue is considered one of the fastest tracks in the NHRA circuit. Additionally, the facility offers a range of services for its visitors.

Gatornationals Drag Racing Comp Eliminator Race - Best tourist attractions in Gainesville
Gatornationals Drag Racing Comp Eliminator Race – Best tourist attractions in Gainesville

In addition to offering open nights for racing fans, the racetrack provides a safe environment for participants and spectators. Furthermore, the track has a capacity for corporate hospitality events.

The current race control tower was built in 2008. The track’s business offices are now housed in the same building. Moreover, the new skybox suites were constructed in 2007. They offer a variety of amenities, including air conditioning, inside seating, and outside seating.

UF Bat Houses

The University of Florida Bat Houses in Gainesville, Florida, is a haven for over 400 bats from 13 species. It’s one of the largest occupied bat houses in the world.

The UF Bat Houses have become a popular tourist attraction. They provide visitors with a unique look at the lives of these creatures. A visit lasts about 30 minutes.

Places to visit in Gainesville UF bat house
Places to visit in Gainesville UF bat house

Located on campus, the UF Bat Houses are free to tour. During warm weather, the best time to watch the emergence of over 100,000 bats is around dusk.

Bats are essential insect predators. These nocturnal mammals consume billions of insects each night. They prefer to feed on moths, beetles, and midges. If you visit the UF Bat Houses, you’ll see a high activity level after sunset.

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