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10 Best Things To Do In Gainesville, Florida

things to do in gainesville florida
Samantha
Samantha
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Gainesville, Florida is full of parks and history, so it makes for a wonderful vacation spot. There is so much to learn and enjoy here that no one can be bored here. Check out these exciting places to visit when here, so the trip is as exciting as it could be.

1. Florida Museum of Natural History

©Florida Museum photo by Kristen Grace

Posted by Florida Museum of Natural History on Monday, 17 July 2017

The Florida Museum of Natural History is a wonderful place to visit if any travelers love learning about the history of different areas. It is located at the University of Florida, so it’s pretty easy to find. The museum has officially been in business for 100 years, which means there have been some changes to the exhibits and information that the museum shares. They actually change their exhibits quite often, keeping some and replacing others with more interesting finds or relevant pieces of the time.

Florida Museum of Natural History

Address: 3215 Hull Rd, 32611 Gainesville, FL

Website: Florida Museum of Natural History

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US

2. Ichetucknee Springs State Park 

Ichetucknee Springs State Park, Florida.

Posted by Awesome Nature on Wednesday, 18 May 2016

A 970-hectare (2,441-acre) state park in Florida, Ichetucknee Springs State Park was named after the 10-kilometer (six-mile) Ichetucknee River that flows through the grounds. Most people find this river to be very relaxing, calling it a lazy river where visitors can float on the water and enjoy some beautiful scenery along the way. There are workers there to be sure everything runs smoothly but if any questions arise, they are always able to help. There is a small fee to get into the park, but on Sundays, there is not a man in the little shed, so visitors must bring exact change with them.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park 

Address: 12087 US-27, 32038 Fort White, FL

Website: Ichetucknee Springs State Park 

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US

3. Depot Park

Posted by Depot Park on Saturday, 31 December 2016

Update on the Blue Grotto; We are back up and running! Still trying to get to the bottom of this mornings glitch, but come on out and splash around!! It's a beautiful day in Depot Park :)

Posted by Depot Park on Sunday, 14 August 2016

This is a great place to bring the kids for a few hours! Not only is it a very beautiful land with trees and flowers all around, there is a fantastic playground for the kids to play on. Slides, swings, a splash pad, this park has it all! They also have big grassy areas for kids to play a soccer game or baseball game if they want to. The grassy areas also make for excellent picnic areas, so bring a picnic basket full of everyone’s favorite goodies and enjoy the sunny day at this beautiful park.

Depot Park

Address: 200 SE Depot Ave, 32601 Gainesville, FL

Website: Depot Park

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US

4. Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo

Posted by Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo on Saturday, 22 July 2017

Posted by Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo on Monday, 10 July 2017

Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo is an actual college that specializes in the art of zoo etiquette. The students learn about the animals that different zoos can have, how to take care of them, what to do if they are sick, pretty much everything there is to know about the animals that are housed at zoos. Because the school specializes in zoo animals, of course, there is a zoo near the school to help them learn the animals better.

Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo

Address: 3000 Northwest 83rd Street, Building Z, 32606 Gainesville, FL

Website: Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US

5. Bivens Arm Nature Park 

Bivens Arm Nature Park, Gainesville, FL

Posted by Rob Robbins on Thursday, 24 July 2014

This is the very first nature park of Gainesville, Florida. It opened in 1981 and contains a lot of different paths to take through the thickly wooded area. There is a playground at the head of the park, which makes for an entertaining day for the children if bringing any along. The bathrooms are at the start of the trail ways, so be sure to use them before starting on the trail. Visitors of the park will be surprised to see so many pine trees in the area.

Bivens Arm Nature Park 

Address: 3650 S Main St, 32608 Gainesville, FL

Website: Bivens Arm Nature Park 

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US

6. UF Bat Houses

Posted by Julie McAlman Pratt on Friday, 9 June 2017

This wildlife sanctuary is situated on University of Florida land, and hundreds of bats hang out here. There are three big open barns in which the creatures hang upside down while they sleep. During the day, the area is pretty boring, but once the sun goes down and the moon rises up in the sky, these bats all wake up and start flying around to start their nights. It is such an amazing sight to see all of these night creatures wake up and start flying about.

UF Bat Houses

Address: Museum Rd, 32603 Gainesville, FL

Website: UF Bat Houses

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US

7. Sweetwater Wetlands Park

Common gallinule

Posted by Sweetwater Wetlands Park on Friday, 12 May 2017

Did you enjoy your visit to Sweetwater Wetlands Park? Tell us about it! Take the survey below, and be entered for a chance to win a free annual entrance pass! http://surveymonkey.com/r/sweetwaterwetlands

Posted by Sweetwater Wetlands Park on Monday, 10 October 2016

Posted by Sweetwater Wetlands Park on Sunday, 6 November 2016

The Sweetwater Wetlands Park is a park full of wetlands and wild creatures for visitors to enjoy. They really aren’t very pretty since they are wetlands and it can get pretty mucky here, but the animals here are what make the park so fascinating. The birds have made this area their homes and the turtles love the watery grounds. There are plenty of alligators here too, so be sure to keep an eye out for them. They won’t bother you if you don’t bother them.

Sweetwater Wetlands Park

Address: 325 SW Williston Rd, 32601 Gainesville, FL

Website: Sweetwater Wetlands Park

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US

8. Alachua

Dsg UF French Fries Sculpture 20050507
Source: Photo by user [Unknown] used under CC BY 2.0

On the campus of the University of Florida is a sculpture that looks like a popular fried snack of French fries. What these yellow beams are really called are “Alachua.” They are named after Alachua County where the University of Florida is located. The fries are a popular spot for new freshmen of the campus to meet during the welcome week, but it’s a cool spot to visit none the less.

Alachua

Address: 32603 Gainesville, FL

Website: French Fries

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US

9. Matheson House

The Matheson House is simple but elegant
Source: Wikipedia

A landmark and historical place in Gainesville, Florida, the Matheson House was the home of eight-term mayor Chris Matheson. Matheson was also a state legislator for those that are unaware of who he was. The building is now part of the Matheson Museum, which recounts the history of Alachua County. The only disappointing thing about this particular attraction is that an appointment must be made in order to view the old home.

Matheson House

Address: 528 SE 1st Ave, 32601 Gainesville, FL

Website: Matheson House

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US

10. Butterfly Rainforest

Butterfly Rainforest, University of Florida , Gainesville

Posted by Kathy Ray on Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Butterfly Rainforest is actually an exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History. The birds and butterflies roam free in the interactive room, where visitors can see them in their natural habitat. There are also turtles and fish in the room that visitors can learn about and enjoy. There is a lush landscape with many different trees and waterfalls around the path that visitors can walk on. There is staff all around the room to help answer any questions customers may have or help people understand the creatures better.

Butterfly Rainforest

Address: 3215 Hull Road, SW 34th Street and Hull Road, 32611 Gainesville, FL

Website: Butterfly Rainforest

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Gainesville, Northeast Florida, US

Relaxing in Gainesville, Florida

Gainesville FL city hall sign01
Source: Photo by user Ebyabe used under CC BY 2.5

There are a lot activities in Gainesville, but that doesn’t mean relaxation can’t be put on the list of activities to do. Most of the above activities don’t require too much planning or energy, so they are perfect for older kids or a group of adults traveling together. Enjoy the stay in Gainesville, Florida.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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My name is Samantha Kern, and I have my Bachelor's Degree in English, which I'm using to pursue a career in writing. I've had a love of traveling since I was younger. My family would go to the...Read more

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