Florida’s premier college town, Gainesville makes for a wonderful holiday destination for families, friends and groups with its rich history, unique culture and blissful nature. Be it the botanical gardens, architectural wonders, beautiful state parks or well-regarded museums, everything in the city is a treat to explore and enjoy. If you are visiting Gainesville to learn about the region’s many natural marvels, check out the places you should explore.
Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park
Situated in the north-westernmost part of Gainesville, Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park is a sinkhole cum national landmark with a rainforest-like micro-environment. A 120 feet deep cavity leads down to this lush park which the tourists have been visiting since the early 1880s to enjoy the stunning views of the small waterfalls and thick-foliage.
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is an organised 62-acre facility operated by the North Florida Botanical Society. Comprising 24 major horticulture collections including the Florida’s largest display of bamboos and the largest herb garden in the southeast, this garden is a delight to explore. There is a 1.5-mile long pathway dotted with benches and gazebos where visitors can sit, relax and take delight in the splendour of the garden. Besides, it also makes for a perfect venue to organise weddings, conferences, social gatherings and meetings.
Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo
The one of only two teaching zoos in the USA, the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo is an ideal tourist destination for people of all ages. Home to 200 animals including Bald Eagles, White handed gibbons, Matschie’s Tree-kangaroo and African grey parrots, it draws wildlife enthusiasts from many parts of the world. Maintained by students who are enrolled in the Zoo Animal Technology Program of the college, it is a place to learn about zoo etiquettes and witness the keepers’ love for the animals.
Morningside Nature Center
The premier nature park of the city, Morningside Nature Center is an interesting place to explore. It is home to more than 7 miles of trails which consists of sand hills, flat woods and cypress domes where you can spot farm animals including skunks, box turtles, wild turkey, deer and gopher tortoise. Here, tourists can enjoy guided tours and take delight in major organised events such as the biggest festival of the year – the Farm and Forest Festival.
Florida Museum of National History
A national gem of the country, Florida Museum of National History is a 100-year old museum displaying flora, fauna and ancient civilization of Florida. Situated on the campus of the University of Florida, the museum just cannot be missed. With a remarkable collection of permanent exhibits including South Florida People and Environments, Northwest Florida Waterways and Wildlife, Florida fossils and more, this place lets you learn about the history of different areas. Besides, there is the Children’s Discovery Zone young visitors can spend hours having fun.