Monday, February 6, 2012


Gainesville (includes Micanopy)
Sights & Sites
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens – 4700 SW 58th Drive (entrance on SW Archer Road (State Road 24), 1 mile west of I-75 (exit #384)); 352-372-4981;; 62 acre botanical garden operated by North Florida Botanical Society since 1978; contain Florida’s largest public bamboo gardens and Southeast’s largest herb garden; includes following major collections: arboretum; azalea/camellias; bamboo; butterfly garden; crinum, cycads, and ferns; hummingbird garden; palm hammock; rock and rose garden.
Morningside Nature Center – 3540 East University Avenue; 352-334-2170;; 278-acre nature center; 7 natural communities, including hydric flatwoods, depression marshes, and longleaf pine savannahs; 7 miles hiking trails.
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park – 100 Savannah Boulevard (Micanopy); 352-466-3397;; 21K acre savannah; prairie became Seminole tribe (Alachua band) stronghold under Chief Ahaya (“Cowkeeper”) in 18th Century; named for Cowkeeper’s eldest surviving son, Payne; over 270 bird species, as well as American Alligators and small herds Florida Cracker horses and Florida Cracker cattle, 1st herded by Seminole; Plains Bison reintroduced to park from Oklahoma in mid-1970s as part of park service goal of restoring Florida’s natural resources to pre-European settler conditions (they roamed this area until early 19th Century); now, when bison sightings occur, usually along Cone’s Dike trail; 50' observation tower near visitor center provides panoramic view; 8 different trails; Great Florida Birding Trail gateway; Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail runs through Paynes Prairie.
Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art – SW 34th Street (at Hull Road, at University of Florida, southwest campus); 352-392-9826;; among largest university art museums in American southeast; more than 6.2K works in permanent collection; make sure to visit David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing.

Alligator Alley
Sights & Sites
Everglades Wildlife Management Area – I-75 (Mile Marker 36); 954-746-1789;; observation platform and wildlife exhibits.

Sights & Sites
Big Cypress National Preserve – 33100 Tamiami Trail East; 230-695-1201;; birdwatching and swamp-walk; visitor center.

Sights & Sites
Big Cypress Indian Reservation – 1 West Boundary Road; 863-983-0054 or 800-949-6101;
Clewiston Museum – 109 Central Avenue; 863-983-2870;; highlights local area, including cattle industry, fishing, fossils, hurricanes, industry, native Americans, and sugar.
Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum – 34725 West Boundary Road (Big Cypress Seminole Reservation); 863-902-1113;; Seminole tribal artifacts and history.

Sights & Sites
Withlacoochee State Forest – 15003 Broad Street; 352-754-6896;; World Wildlife Fund declares as among “10 Coolest Places in North America“; numerous outdoor recreational opportunities; hiking trails in Croom Tract; all weather trails wind through central Florida’s longleaf pine and scrub oak hills, live oak thickets and hardwood hammocks, past creek bottoms and cypress ponds.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY (includes Fort Basinger & Lorida)
Sights & Sites
Hickory Hammock Management Area – US Highway 98 (between Fort Basinger & Lorida); 863-648-3200 or 800-250-4200;; hiking; bear, caracara, and feral hog.

Sights & Sites
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park – 33104 Northwest 192nd Avenue; 863-462-5360;; biking and hiking.
Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail – SR 78 (3 miles southwest US Highway 441); 305-451-3005;; birdwatching; hiking.

Sights & Sites
Florida Southern College (Frank Lloyd Wright — Sharp Family Tourism and Education Center) – 111 Lake Hollingsworth Drive; 863-680-4111; and/or; in 1938, FSC President, Dr. Ludd M. Spivey, approached FLW re transforming 100-acre, lakeside orange grove into modern campus; resulting FLW architecture collection at FSC is called “Child of Sun”; name came from Wright’s idea of removing pre-existing “uninspired” buildings & replacing them with campus that would, according to Wright, “grow out of ground & into light, child of sun”; FLW works include: (1) Annie Pfeiffer Chapel (1st completed FLW building, begun 1938, dedicated 1941, French-door balconies restored in 2007); (2) Buckner Building [originally E.T. Roux Library], begun 1942, completed 1946; (3) Ordway Building [originally Industrial Arts Building], begun 1950, completed 1952; (4) Danforth Chapel (begun 1954, completed 1955); (5) Polk County Science Building [commonly known as Polk Science], begun 1952, completed 1958); (6) Watson Fine Building (administration building, begun 1946, completed 1949); (7) Water Dome (partially completed 1949, fully completed & restored in 2007 to Wright’s original plans); (8) 3 Seminars or L. A. Raulerson Building (currently Business Office, begun 1940, completed 1942 & renovated into 1 office building in 1958); (9) Esplanades (various completion times, currently undergoing restoration around campus); & (10) Sharp Family Tourism & Education Center (also known as Usonian House, visitor center & exhibition space constructed according to Wright’s 1939 designs for faculty housing).

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