Gators in Gainesville
A major part of Florida is its vast complex of swamps. They may sound gross but they are an integral part of the state's ecosystems. Swamps help clean fresh water as it slowly runs south to the ocean while providing habitats for local flora and fauna and preventing erosion and flooding during the state's heavy rains. The good news is there is plenty of non-swamp related fun to be had in this second most southern state. Don your Gator gear and head to Gainesville!
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Point your Orlando rental car north towards Gainesville to visit "The Swamp" stadium for a University of Florida Gators football game. Grab a seat in the first 32 rows of the west, east and north side and you are sitting in the original seating, built in 1930. The capacity has gone up since then, allowing for the state's largest attendance of 85,461 people in a game versus Florida State University. Join in and maybe you'll take part in another record breaking crowd cheering on the Gators!
Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum of Natural History
Wander about a rainforest habitat, spying 60-80 moth and butterfly species in this 6,400-square-foot screened exhibit. Amaze your friends back home by learning the difference between butterflies and moths, and what their short life cycles look like! You can preview this colorful exhibit by viewing a live cam of the canopy, feeding station and even where the butterflies emerge from their chrysalises. For a month during the fall, orange and blue butterflies are released at various times every day in honor of Gators college football. Talk about team spirit!
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Does horseback riding and hiking in a state preserve sound good to you? Get in your Jacksonville car rental and head to Florida's first state preserve, home to bison, horses, alligators and over 270 species of birds. Bring your bike and ride 15 miles of paved trails on the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail. Stay overnight at campgrounds close to fishing and kayaking on Lake Wauburg but remember, gasoline powered boats are not allowed. Ranger-led walks and events highlighting the park's animal species and weather seasons are also available. Check the calendar to see if there are exciting events when you'd like to visit!