Home to the University of Florida, Gainesville was established in 1854 and is the largest city in north-central Florida. It’s home to outstanding museums that explore the region’s natural and artistic history while it also offers easy access to wildlife-filled natural preserves.
Things to do in Gainesville
Located on the University of Florida campus is the Florida Museum of Natural History, which showcases a fascinating array of objects and ethnographical artefacts about Florida’s First Nations people. It centres around Powell Hall where you’ll find fossil shark jaws and a giant steel sculpture of an extinct terror bird. Stroll along the boardwalk that leads through a recreated mangrove forest and be surrounded by colourful insects in the Butterfly Rainforest.
Hands-on exhibits await at the Cade Museum for Creativity & Invention, which is named after the man behind Gatorade. It occupies a building designed in the shape of a nautilus shell and regularly hosts workshops focusing on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. See a 160-year-old Gutenburg printing press, learn about the legacy of Nikola Tesla and step inside the former lab of Dr. Cade.
A short drive north of Gainesville is Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park, which is famed for its National Natural Landmark-designated sinkhole. Follow the nature trail that leads around the rim of the sinkhole or descend to the base along the stepped, wooden boardwalk. Bobcats, white-tailed deer and songbirds can be spotted in the nearby San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park.
Getting around Gainesville
Gainesville Regional Airport is a 10-minute drive from the city centre and has flights to destinations across the United States. Long-distance buses connect to Gainesville while commuter services travel throughout the city. Renting a car is the most convenient way of exploring the surrounding region.