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ABCs of Gainesville Area's Greatness!

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on 6 September 2017

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Transcript of ABCs of Gainesville Area's Greatness!

Each night at sundown, 300,000 bats emerge from the Lubee Bat Houses on campus.

They fly out all at once in a black stream and head to nearby Lake Alice.

Lubee Bat Festival held annually in October.
A - Art
B - Ballet
ABCs of Why it's great to be in the Gainesville area!
B - Bats
Gainesville is home to
Dance Alive National
Ballet Company
C - Culture
Additionally, Gainesville has 2 performing art centers - the Phillips Center for Performing Arts and Santa Fe Fine Arts Hall. Both offer plays, concerts and musicals year round.
D - Devil
Devil's Millhopper is a state park with a sinkhole cavity 120 feet deep that leads down to a miniature rain forest. Stairs are a great addition to an exercise routine.
Devil's Den is an underground spring great for snorkeling and scuba diving. 72 degrees year-round.
E - Elephants
Two Tails Ranch is a privately-owned elephant facility.

Provides temporary or permanent housing to Asian and African elephants. Since 1984, 250 elephants have passed through their doors.

Luke has been there 18 years and paints t-shirts sold in their gift shop. Tours can be arranged and you can ride one of the elephants.
F - Food Trucks & Festivals
Food trucks are popular in Gainesville and Food Truck Rallies are held often.

Themed festivals are held nearby throughout the year including Watermelon, Blue Crab and Zucchini.
G - Gators
For a close-up look at gators (not the ones in the stadium) head to LaChua Trail.
You may also be able to spot wild horses and bison.
H - Hippodrome
The Hippodrome State Theatre has a professional company with plays held throughout the year. Additionally, the Hipp has a small cinema which plays independent and foreign films.
H - Horses
Mill Creek Horse Farm provides a home to rescued horses and horses retired from law enforcement. They are never ridden or worked again as they enjoy retirement.

Entry fee is a bag of carrots. It's a great place to enjoy a picnic after feeding the residents.

I - Ichetucknee Springs
Ichetucknee Springs is a great place nearby to tube in the beautiful crystal-clear water. Also a great place to canoe, kayak or snorkel. Stop on the banks to picnic.
K - Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is comprised of 24 major collections visually accessible from a 1 ½ mile paved walkway. These include the state's largest public display of bamboo and the largest herb garden in the Southeast.

Annual moonlight walk features more than 1,500 luminaries and live music.
L - Location
Gainesville is located equidistant from each coast.
An easy drive to spend the day at the beach and also only 1 1/2 - 2 hours from several large cities.
M - Micanopy
Micanopy is a small town just south of Gainesville famous for its antiquing.

It hosts an annual arts and craft festival each fall.

Micanopy is where Doc Hollywood was filmed.
N - Natural History Museum
On the UF campus features permanent and visiting exhibits. Also features Butterfly Rainforest where hundreds of butterflies flutter around you.
O - O'Connell Center
Also known as the O'Dome, hosts Gator basketball, gymnastics and volleyball games and swim meets. Olympic-size swimming pool is open to UF employees and free swim lessons offered.
O - Observatory
UF's Astronomy Department opens its observatory to the public for a chance to view the moon, planets and stars. Ranked # 4 of top 25 college observatories.

Additionally, the planetarium at Santa Fe College offers great 360-degree shows of the galaxy oftentimes with laser lights timed to music.
P - Payne's Prairie
Payne's Prairie is a national natural landmark. Provides habitat for alligators, bison, horses and more than 270 species of birds.

50-foot observation tower provides panoramic view of prairie. 8 trails are great for hiking, horseback riding and bicycling. Annual events held including a stargazing party.
Q - Quest
Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.There are hundreds of geocache locations in Gainesville.
S - Scalloping
Scalloping is part snorkeling and part treasure hunt. Kind of like an easter egg hunt in the water. Great fun to scallop nearby in the summer months.
R - Raceway
Gainesville is popular among race fans with its NHRA raceway. Gatornationals races are held annually each March.

One of the fastest tracks in the circuit and 8 of 10 national records were set here.
T - Technology
Technology start-up companies pop-up all over Gainesville. The Innovation Hub at UF is a technology incubator.

Popular Science magazine ranks Gainesville the "Most Technologically Advanced City in Florida"
U - Union Street
Union Street is downtown plaza which hosts many community events. Friday nights feature free concerts.

The Farmers Market is held Wednesday nights and features many local farmers and vendors. Farmers Markets are also held in two other locations on weekends.
V - Vegan/Vegetarian
Gainesville has a very eclectic restaurant community. Almost any cuisine can be found here. Many restaurants also pride themselves on their vegan and vegetarian options.

A recent local poll named the top 5 hidden vegan gems (and all serve excellent non-vegan options as well):

Karma Cream
The Top
Boca Fiesta

W - Water
So many options for fun in the water. Local pools, crystal-clear springs, and lakes. Lake Wauberg on campus is great place to canoe/kayak, swim and wakeboard.

Ginnie Springs is one of several local springs great for swimming, snorkeling, diving, tubing and camping. Featured as one of National Geographic's top 100 iconic escapes in their America's Best Adventures Feature.
X - Exercise
There are so many options for a healthy lifestyle in Gainesville. Of course there are many traditional and crossfit gyms. We have SW Rec Center on campus and privately-owned Gainesville Health & Fitness, was named in the top 8 best clubs in the country by Men's Health and recognized by Forbes Magazine.
In addition to other great outdoor opportunities, we also have access to the Swamp for stadiums anytime the Gators aren't playing.
Y - Yearling Restaurant
Located just down the road from Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' home in Cross Creek. The restaurant was named after Marjorie's most famous book.

Rated one of the top restaurants in Florida by Trend Magazine. Features southern cooking including unique dishes with frog legs, gator and venison.
Z - Zoo
Santa Fe Zoo is one of two teaching zoos in the country. The 10-acre zoo houses over 75 different animal species. Hosts annual Boo at the Zoo for families.
R - Running
Active local running community and groups including Florida Track Club and Running Tabs.

Races almost weekly including 5K to marathon distance.
N - Night Life
Many places to enjoy the night life in Gainesville including a large concentration downtown.

F - Fest
Fest is a multi-day, multi-venue underground music festival held in Gainesville each October.

At last year's 3-day Fest, more than 21,000 attendees enjoyed 373 acts in 20 different venues.

C - Cost of Living
Cost of Living in Gainesville is:

5.2% less than the Florida average
4% less than national average

Of note -
Housing 91/100

S - Sweet Dreams
Homemade hand-dipped ice cream. Flavors change often. Delicious homemade sugar cones, shakes & sundaes.

Several times a year hold chocolate night with 30 different kinds of chocolate ice cream. Flavors released the night before. Some of most popular flavors in the past have been chocolate bacon, chocolate baklava and chocolate whiskey.
G - Gainesville to Hawthorne State Trail
This 16-mile long trail connects cities of Gainesville & Hawthorne and passes through Paynes Prairie. The 10-foot-wide paved path is designed for walking, cycling and horseback riding. Parking is provided at four trail heads.
W - Wetlands
Sweetwater Wetlands Park opened recently. 125 acres of wetlands and ponds. Vast number of plants & animals including birds, butterflies, alligators & horses. Walk more than 3 1/2 miles of trails & boardwalks.
So many places to experience art including Harn Museum of Art. Has more than 9,000 art pieces.

Features numerous traveling and permanent exhibits, including large Asian and African collection, modern art & photography. Also has 5 garden spaces.
J- Jungle
Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation rescues exotic animals including wild cats, lemurs and giraffes. Focus on education & conservation. Private tours available.
R - Rowing
Have a very active rowing community which spends many hours practicing on Newnan's Lake.

Chairman Rivkees is a proud member of Gainesville Area Rowing's masters team, which recently won the Florida Cup for sculling for the 4th consecutive year. Dr. Rivkees' teammates include several other physicians and UF employees.
A - Aerial Arts
S-Connection has aerial yoga, circus, hula hoop, trapeze, sambaroebics, and more
E - Earth Friendly
Gainesville was recently named one of top 12 greenest cities in America. Due in part to land conservation, community gardens, parks & trails and recycling efforts.
R - Roller Derby
Gainesville is home turf for Gainesville Roller Rebels and Swamp City Sirens. You can catch their bouts around town.
Pretty spectacular when also ranked as one of the best college towns in America!
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