Entertainment and Excursions

If you have a car, and it might be a good idea to think about renting one, you will not lack for places to share 2-for-1 libations and other goodies.  Downtown Gainesville draws about 10,000 people a night on the weekends, and directly across from campus is the "student ghetto," which is fronted by a number of local favorites (try the Salty Dog or Gator City).  Gainesville does have two large theater complexes; no mini-golf, though.  But there are bars, bars, and more bars.  Did we mention the bars?  Try Durty Nelly's Irish Pub (208 W. University Ave.), Jewell's (108 S. Main Street), and Fat Tuesday (116 SE 1st Street).  Not into the bar scene?  How about clubs?  Downtown boasts lots of places to dance, all within four blocks of each other (Sky, The Library, Rue Bar, Graffiti Beach).  There is even a country-western bar in a building painted like a cow (8 Seconds, 201 W. University Ave.).  How about a hookah bar?  Gainesville has one (Farah's, 1120 W. University Ave).  Two pool halls downtown will also help take the edge off - Jewell's and Silver Q (225 W. University Ave.).

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park: Boat, camp, hike, bird-watch, fish, and swim at this 21,000-acre wildlife sanctuary.  Alligator, wild horses, and wild bison are to be found here in abundance; there is a observation tower and a museum/visitor's center.  Located 10 miles south of Gainesville on U.S. 441.  352-466-3397.

Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park:  This huge sinkhole was formed with an underground cavern roof collapsed, creating a bowl-shaped cavity 120 feet deep.  Sinkholes are cool!  4732 Millhopper Road: 352-955-2008.

The Harn Museum of Art: 26,000 sq. feet of museum, with large permanent collections of American, pre-Columbian, African, and contemporary art.  Located at the corner of SW 34th Street and Hull Road on the UF campus.  352-392-9826, or http://www.harnmuseum.org.

Florida Museum of Natural History:  Located at the corner of SW 34th Street and Hull Road on the UF campus, this is the official state museum of natural history.  Check it out online at http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu.  Also attached to this museum you will find the The Lepidoptera Research Center and Butterfly Pavillion.  Many thousands of butterflies from all over the world are housed in a man-made outdoor rainforest enclosure.  This has proven to be a big draw among tourists and locals alike.  It is highly recommended that you check this out if you a) have time, and b) like butterflies or nature.

Lake Alice: Located in the middle of UF's campus, Lake Alice is home to over 300 alligators, some reaching ten feet in length.  The Baughman Center provides a great place to relax and take in the view.  If you've never seen an alligator up close, this is the place to come and look.

The Bat House: Come see 40,000 bats all leave their house at the same time!  This is way cooler than it sounds.  The Bat House is home to the largest population of free-tailed fruit bats in the United States, and at dusk they all come out in a torrent of wings and fur.  No, the bats don't eat people, and this is completely safe to watch.  This draws a decent crowd every evening, but be sure to bring bug spray.  And never, ever touch the bats.  Located directly across from the alligator observation bridge on Lake Alice. 




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