Gainesville Tourist Attractions
Founded in 1854, Gainesville was named after Revolutionary War general Edmund Gaines. Home to the University of Florida and Santa Fe College, it is both an agricultural and educational center.
Florida Museum of Natural History
The Florida Museum of Natural History is located on the campus of the University of Florida. Exhibits include early human history and Floridian natural history. There are 25 million specimens of amphibians, birds, butterflies, fish, mammals, mollusks, reptiles, vertebrate and invertebrate fossils as well as recent and fossil plants. The latest addition to the Florida Museum of Natural History is the Butterfly Rainforest, which is a four-story, outdoor screened enclosure with waterfalls, subtropical and tropical plants and hundreds of live butterflies. Other displays include Timucuan, Seminole and Calusa Indian artifacts and numerous other cultural heritage exhibits.
Address: Box 112710, Gainesville, FL 32611-2710, United States
Opening hours: 10am-5pm; Sun: 1pm-5pm
Always closed on: Thanksgiving - USA (4th Thursday, Nov), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Donations accepted, cover charge for special exhibits and Butterfly Rainforest.
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Historic Haile Homestead
The Historic Haile Homestead at Kanapaha Plantation is an historic house museum that presents details of life on a plantation.Thomas Evans and Serena Chesnut Haile moved to Gainesville in 1854 and established the Sea Island cotton plantation, known as Kanapaha. The 6,200 square foot Haile Homestead was completed in 1856. A unique feature of the home is the "Talking Walls." Family and friends wrote on the walls of the home - over 12,500 words. The walls include personal notes, names of visitors, growth charts, and inventories of household items.
Devil's Millhopper State Geological Site
Devil's Millhopper State Geological Site is a 120 ft deep and 500 ft wide sinkhole, it may have formed as early as 10,000 years ago. Plants and animals, normally found in the Appalachian Mountains, are found here. Fossil shark teeth, marine shells, and the fossilized remains of extinct land animals have been uncovered. A series of boardwalks and stairways allow visitors to explore the sinkhole or by walking the 4-foot wide nature trail that follows the rim.
Fred Bear Museum (closed)
ATTRACTION IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED.Fred Bear was a bow hunter and founder of the Bear Archery Company. His museum contains some of the taxidermy bodies of the animals that he killed on his many international hunting exhibitions. Some have hailed the quality of the taxidermy as "ahead of its time." It also has natural history exhibits, bow hunting artifacts and Bear's competition memorabilia along with Native American and African ceremonial objects and tools.
Matheson Historical Center
The Matheson Historical Center and botanical gardens showcase the history of Gainesville, Alachua County and North Florida. The complex includes the Matheson Museum building, Gainesville's old American Legion Hall; the 1867 Matheson House, the second-oldest residence in Gainesville; Tison Tool Museum consisting of over 300 antique tools; and Sweetwater Park, a city park located behind the Museum with historical exhibits and a native plant garden.
Hippodrome State Theatre
The Hippodrome moved into the Federal Building in 1979. The building was restored to include a 266 seat theater with rehearsal space and a scene shop, an 80-seat cinema, and an art gallery. In 1981 the Hippodrome was designated a State Theatre of Florida. Annual stage productions, foreign and avant-garde films, and the art gallery provide something for everyone!
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens began as a natural landscape and was enhanced by the introduction of rare and unusual plants from around the world. The 62 acre garden has more than 20 theme gardens including the largest herb garden in the South and the state's largest bamboo garden. Featured themes are the butterfly, hummingbird, vinery, bamboo, medicinal herb, palm, and rock gardens.
Address: 4700 SW 58th Drive, Gainesville, FL 32608, United States
Opening hours: 9am-5pm; Sun: 9am-Sunset; Sat: 9am-Sunset; Closed: Thu
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $6.00, Child 13 & under $3.00, Child 5 & under FREE
Useful tips: Closing time on Saturday and Sunday is sunset or 7 p.m.
Morningside Nature Center
Morningside Nature Center is a Longleaf Pine preserve that is used for environmental educational programs. The diverse wildlife population includes deer, wild turkey, gopher tortoises, box turtles, skunks, and a variety of birds.A living history farm within the grounds of Morningside Nature Center has turn-of-the-century buildings and live farm animals.
Bivens Arm Nature Park
Bivens Arm Nature Park has a 1-mile nature trail that includes a 1200-foot boardwalk that passes a small march and opportunity to view large live oaks. The park has a picnic area, pavilion and overlook which are ideal for weary travelers to take a break!
Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art
The Harn Museum of Art houses a collection of art from various cultures around the world including the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Permanent exhibits include American paintings, contemporary art and West African art.
The University Gallery in Gainesville features contemporary and experimental art with emphasis on emerging, mid-career and senior artists. The gallery is located in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Florida.
Santa Fe Community College Zoo
The Santa Fe Teaching Zoo offers tours on weekends. The Zoo is a hands-on training program for students interested in pursuing zoo animal technology.
Address: 3000 NW 83rd Street, Gainesville, FL 32606, United States
Opening hours: 9am-2pm; Closed: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Thanksgiving - USA (4th Thursday, Nov), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $5.00, Child 12 & under $4.00, Senior over 60 $4.00, Child 3 & under FREE
Useful tips: Weekday tours are available with advance notice.