Summertime Fun

Summertime in North Central Florida can be hot, hot, hot! We’ve got a few ideas to help you keep cool while you’re exploring Gainesville.  We are going to consider these options in a series of posts.

First is the Florida Museum of Natural History.  Did you know they have a cool new exhibit?


Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World is a fantastic exhibit allowing you to discover the history of these creatures and their significance in our ecosystem. You will explore their 200 million years of hunting and surviving skills through the exhibit with a digital curator.  Interactive elements allow visitors to test their strength against a crocodile’s bite and see how they use sound waves to make water dance. A life-size model tells the story of Gomek, the largest crocodile ever exhibited.  They have fossils of alligators from right here in North Central Florida from as close as neighboring county, Levy County as well as skulls from past live mascots of the University of Florida.

You will learn some amazing facts such as while an alligator has an amazing force in slamming it jaws closed to capture prey, the muscles used for opening their mouths are actually quite weak.   Another amazing fact is that a crocodile can actually survive for about a year without any food if they have to.  And, did you know they go through more than 3000 teeth in their life span?  Or, what about their life span?  Large crocodilians can live to be 100 years old.

This is a great exhibit to visit with your friends and family to beat the Florida Heat.  The cost is only $7 for Florida residents and seniors ($8 for non state residents), $5.50 for kids ages 3-7, and free to UF Students and Museum Members.

This exhibit runs from May 18 through January 5 of 2020. Want to learn more?  Click here to visit their website.

Museum Gift Shops

Amazing gifts at three area museum shops will delight those special friends and family on your gift list for year round shopping. Many of these items are offered only in museum gift shops. A gift of a museum membership may also be appreciated. No entry fee to the museums to access the gift shops.

The Florida Museum of Natural History – two gift shops – the Butterfly Rainforest shop has a broad selection of butterfly related items including fashion accessories and colorful tees, wind chimes, home décor and attention getting butterfly jewelry. An enticing selection of beautifully illustrated books and games, Native American themed gifts makes learning fun for children of all ages.

Hours:  10 a.m. to 5 p.m. –     Monday – Saturday & 1 to 5 p.m. – Sunday

Phone: 352 846-2000

Parking: free in garage Tues – Fri and all day Saturday and Sunday

3215 Hull Road – Gainesville, FL 32611


The Harn Museum of Art gift store – Handmade says, I care, and the museum art shop offers wonderfully handmade international items that can only be found in a museum shop. Many art related one-of-a-kind items from art and fine craft items, to books, toys, stationery, games, puzzles and the ever popular jewelry.

Hours: Tuesday – Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Sat 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Sun 1 to 5 p.m.

Phone: 352 392-9826

Parking: free in garage Tues – Fri and all day Saturday and Sunday

3259 Hull Road – Gainesville, FL 32611


Kanapaha Gardens’ gift shop – offers breathtaking selections of beautiful and unusual gift items for home décor in clay, glass, stone, metal, art and photography, gardening,  books, and personal adornment of apparel, scarves, and head-turning jewelry.

Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri – 9 am to 5 pm – Sat & Sun – closes dusk – closed Thursday

Phone: 352 372-4981

4700 SW 58th Drive (off SW Archer Road, west of I-75) – Gainesville, FL 32608


The Butterfly Rainforest

If you enjoy long walks out in nature, you can be sure to find plenty of parks and outdoor activities in Gainesville. However, one attraction in particular stands out for its beautiful atmosphere and unique experience. The Butterfly Rainforest at the University of Florida is free for UF students and only $9 for non-UF students, seniors, and Florida residents, $10.50 for adults who are non-Florida residents and only $6 for children aged 17 and younger. At any given moment there are 60 to 80 buttery and moth species fluttering around and throughout the year there are over 1,000 butterflies. This 6,400 square-foot exhibit is open from 10 am to 5 pm on Monday through Saturday and 1 pm to 5 pm on Sunday, so please be sure to stop by to watch live releases of butterflies, stroll through the tropical environment with hundreds of flowers and even watch butterfly feeding stations up close as beautiful butterflies feed on fresh cut fruit. The Butterfly Rainforest is a great place for an educational trip for kids, a nice stroll for you and your loved one and just a fun day for you and your friends.  (Ashley Mondesir)

Titanoboa: Monster Snake – Now through August 11, 2013


Sixty million year old remains of the Titanoboa cerrejonensis found recently by FMNH scientists, in a Columbian coal mine, is the largest snake in the world at 48 feet, 2500 pounds.  The Smithsonian Channel documentary, featuring a full-scale model of “Titanoboa: Monster Snake” explores the discovery, reconstruction and implications of the enormous reptile.  Scientists and trained volunteers working on fossils found at the site talk with visitors to the exhibit.

For Museum hours visit:

Admission: Adults $6 (FL resident $5) ages 3-17 $4.50

Florida Museum of Natural History, 3215 Hull Road, Gainesville FL 32611