Gainesville, Florida is widely known for its nature, sustainability and innovation and we want to share it with you! We are home to nearby springs, birds, butterflies, and bats! We have hundreds of acres of County and Water Management District conservation areas in which to go birding and hiking, two state parks, the Devil’s Millhopper sinkhole, Cedar Key and its surrounding scrub and gulf coast waters, Ocala National Forest with scrub jays and red-cockaded woodpeckers, and we have bison, wild Spanish horses and more. This will also be Florida’s only International Migratory Bird Day event, which we will celebrate with children’s events Saturday and a celebration Saturday night!
Programs will feature birding and nature photography tours and paddling trips to our local springs and the Suwanee, Santa Fe and Ocklawaha Rivers. We will hike and then do a blueberry wine tasting at a local winery, we will provide tree climbing tours and view bald eagle nests at the climbing site, Lubee Bat Conservancy will host festival participants, and we will hike in her old orange grove turned hammock and then go on a guided tour of the Historic Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings House. Lectures will include Florida sinkhole geology, an introduction to bird identification, how to purchase, use and store binoculars at our local birding shop, and nature photography topics. Side visits you could take in Gainesville include a night flyover of the bats at the University of Florida bat houses on Lake Alice on campus and a visit to the Butterfly Rainforest Exhibit at the Florida Natural History Museum. So much to do!
The weekend will also be host to the City of Gainesville’s Farm and Forest Festival as well as the Florida Natural History Museum’s three day Earth Day Celebration. Spring is a great time to be in Gainesville!