Have you ever had a weekend in Gainesville where you feel like you had nothing to do? I have heard several classmates of mine say that there is nothing exciting to do around campus. This is not true. You just need to know where to look. There are a plethora of activities to do around campus and Gainesville in general. Better yet there are a lot of free activities specifically for students at the University of Florida. So here are 10 free things to do around the University of Florida.
1. Visit the Florida Museum of Natural History
Directly on campus students have free admission to the Florida Museum of Natural History. This history museum has fascinating exhibits about the history of nature around Florida. They even have an exhibit about alternative energy and ways to help save energy to protect our planet. If none of that peaks your interest there is a beautiful Butterfly Rain forest that you can check out. It is also a great spot to relax for a few moments if you are having a stressful week. Also, every year the museum has the Starry Night Event for free. This exciting show lets you take a look at the night sky through performance telescopes. There is even a portable planetarium show.
2. Come hang out at Gator Nights
Although this event is more popular for underclassmen it is still quite popular on campus. This is a free event that occurs every Friday night from 8:00 pm to 1 am at the Reitz Union. Each week has a different theme that consists of multiple free activities including arts and crafts. If the theme for a particular night seems boring do not worry. You can catch a free movie each week with a free drink and popcorn. They even have free midnight snacks for students each week. You are allowed to bring one guest for free.
3. Visit the Harn Museum of Art
If you are an art lover this is the place for you! This is a great art museum to check out. They have both modern and contemporary art.
4. Splash around at Lake Wauberg
This is a fun free outside activity for you to go with friends around the University of Florida. There is plenty to do! You can simply go swimming in the lake itself. Also, you can go sailing, kayaking,paddle boarding, and a diving area. If you do not feel like getting wet then there is an exciting rock climbing activity for all students, or you can play volley ball with a group of friends. You can even just sit down and relax for a nice picnic.
5. Geek out at Swampcon
Every January the Gator Anime club holds a free conference on a Friday and Saturday for students and guests. They have multiple activities going on those days including escape rooms, panels, an art gallery, and a maid cafe. If you are a total geek this is the place for you! You can even cosplay as your favorite TV show characters!
6. Attend the many free shows and speakers on campus
Throughout the semester the University of Florida holds several free events such as free concerts, comedy shows, and guest speakers. Stay in the know so you can go to one of these exciting events! You will want to show up early for any of the these free events because they tend to fill up fast.
7. Exercise at the School Gym
Get active for free at either the Student Rec or Southwest Rec on campus. The gyms on campus have all of the exercise equipment you can think of. Also, there are free classes like zumba, yoga, cycling, hip hop fitness, kickboxing, and so much more. If you enjoy sports but do not want to join the actual teams on campus then there are plenty of recreational sports teams you can join for fun! They have plenty of teams for beginners or modest players as well.
8. Hang out at the Bo Diddley Plaza
This is a great place to hang out and relax. Every week there are multiple free events to attend including concerts, zumba, yoga and dance classes. There is also the weekly farmers market and sometimes free plays.
9. Relax at Depot Park
This is a calming atmosphere for whenever you feel like just sitting on a bench to relax. It also makes a great place for reading and bird watching. Through out the year they also hold food festivals, art festivals and multiple other free events.
10. Hike at Paynes Prairie
If you feel like getting out and enjoying nature then come visit Paynes Prairie. This is a beautiful destination for nature lovers. There is a great scenic hiking trail and observatory tower.