Check out these Gator Bucket items to do!
If you have committed to becoming a Gator, there are a few things that you might want to check out over your next four years at UF. Consider them part of your induction to Gator-dom. Some are unexpected fun, while others are sort of obvious. Either way, your time at UF shouldn’t only be about studying. Life is all about a healthy balance and you’ll be so happy you went looking for all there is to UF and Gainesville beyond the classroom. Check out our “bucket list.”
Participate in the Dance Marathon – Dance the night away and be a fundraiser at the same time. More information can be found here.
Head to Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park for a day – Florida’s first state preserve and a National Natural Landmark. Eight trails offer visitors the opportunity to hike, horseback ride and bicycle. More than 20 distinct biological communities provide an array of habitats for wildlife and livestock including alligators (this IS near UF), bison, horses, and more than 270 species of birds. Open 365 days a year from 8 am to sundown. $6.00 per vehicle, limit 2-8 people per vehicle. $4 single-occupant vehicle. Other fees apply for full-facility camping.
UF football game/tailgate – Yes, it can be a hot and sweaty day, but the school spirit can’t be beat. From your gameday attire to pre-gaming, we’ve got you covered for this definitive Gator experience.
Lake Wauburg – Located eight miles south of campus on Highway 441, Lake Wauburg North Park and South Shore offers UF students, faculty and staff a place to relax and enjoy great Florida outdoors. Many activities are available including boating, swimming, volleyball, stand-up paddleboarding, water skiing, wakeboarding, a climbing wall and more. Admission and activities are free with a Gator 1 Card. A Gator 1 Cardholder may bring up to four guests.
Tubing down Ichetucknee Springs or Ginnie Springs. This is a definite must! Rent a tube and float down the river; you can even stop along the way to swing and jump from one of the many trees. Rent tubes or bring your own tube or raft.
Canyons Zip Lining – Located just north of Ocala, their tours and attractions start at zip-lining and include horseback riding, kayaking, and gem-mining. Immersive interaction with nature doesn’t get any more breathtaking!
Millcreek Farm – Check out the retired horses. This sanctuary saves hundreds of horses from abuse, starvation, and neglect.
You can’t study at UF for four years and not go see the World’s Largest Occupied Bat Houses. You don’t even have to leave campus.
Step into University Auditorium with its hammer-beam ceiling and towering pipe organ. Better yet, time it so you can stay for a concert and enjoy the amazing acoustics.
Run steps at UF’s Florida Field.
Take a picture with Albert and Alberta in front of Emerson Hall.
Visit Cedar Key- This quiet island community is on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Long admired for its natural beauty and abundant supply of seafood, it’s located just 50 miles southwest of Gainesville. Cedar Key sits three miles out into the Gulf of Mexico. Highway 24 is the only road that connects the mainland to this island city.
The Cade Museum – Located at Depot Park in downtown Gainesville, this modern museum (named for the inventor of Gatorade) features interactive science & technology exhibits. Closed on Monday and Tuesdays. Ticket prices are $10 for college students and seniors, $12.50 for adults 18+ and $7.50 for youth 5-17 yrs.
Go see, hike or yoga your way through Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park
Drive over to Crescent Beach – This was the beach my friends and I headed to when we needed to escape from Gainesville. Crescent Beach is a small community with little commercial development. There are plenty of beach house rentals, condos, and cottages available. It takes an hour and a half drive to get there, but the reward is a beautiful, pristine beach.
Go to Santa Fe Teaching Zoo, one of only two teaching zoos in the nation.
Visit Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, the state’s largest public display of bamboos and the largest herb garden in the Southeast.
Take in a race at Gainesville Raceway.
Go to the Harn Museum of Art
Attend an Event at any of the five performance venues of the University of Florida Performing Arts
Eat one Krishna lunch on The Plaza of The Americas. This has been part of the UF community for over four decades. Krishna Lunch is strictly vegetarian (no meat, no fish, no eggs) and always includes full vegan options. With a $5 donation, you will be served as much Krishna Lunch as your belly can handle. While UF is in session, Krishna Lunch is served on campus, Monday through Friday, from 11 AM to 1:30 PM at the Plaza of the Americas. In addition, Krishna Lunch is served from noon to 3 PM on the patio of Krishna House, conveniently located one block north of campus.
Finally, try Gator Bites (yes, alligator!) at one of Gainesville’s many restaurants serving this delicacy. That list includes The Swamp Restaurant, Gators Dockside, Ballyhoo Grill, Embers Wood Grill and more.
Once you’ve checked all of these off your bucket list, you will officially be a lifelong Gator. Consider it the diploma behind your diploma!
Stella Fedele, HaveUHeard Intern
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