Entertainment & Recreation
Where to Find Out About Current Events
Where can you find out about what's happening on campus and in Gainesville? Two newspapers carry local information The Gainesville Sun, 2700 SW 13th Street (374-5000), can be found in newspaper bins around the city. Daily city newspapers cost 50 cents, and Sunday editions cost one dollar. The Independent Florida Alligator, 1105 West University Avenue (376-4446) the campus newspaper, is found in the Alligator newspaper bins around campus and is free of charge. These publications can offer much information about special entertainment events for the week. Each Friday edition of the Gainesville Sun has a special section called "The Scene" which listed the many cultural and entertainment events happening in Gainesville each week. In addition, "The Scene" is a useful resource of local restaurants, movie theatres, nature parks, etc.
The campus is the center of various social, athletic, and cultural activities for students. Lectures, films, plays, sports, and concerts take place all year. Most of them are inexpensive or free. Students usually must show their validated fee card for the semester and a picture I.D. in order to use facilities on campus. A fee card will admit the students to many campus events and will offer discounts to on and off campus events. Spouses can obtain a "spouse card" from the family housing villages or the Student Government office. This card permits spouses to use campus facilities also.
Campus Clubs and Organizations
University organizations and clubs exist for nearly every conceivable interest. There are language clubs, sports clubs, a chess club, religious clubs, clubs for people who like to read science fiction, and many more. Whatever your interests, there are probably people on campus who share them. Clubs established for a particular professional or academic interest, such as the John Marshall Bar Association (for law students) or Sigma Delta Chi (for journalism students) can be found by inquiring at the academic department that sponsors the club. Most sporting clubs are registered with the Intramural Office in 227 Florida Gym. The Student Activities Center, in 300 Reitz Union, lists approximately 300 clubs and officers for all registered organizations on campus. The major religious groups in Gainesville have active student clubs; ask at the office of the church of your preference about the student organization with which they are affiliated. The undergraduate student catalogue also lists the organizations that are currently operating on campus
Volunteers for International Student Affairs (VISA), is a club for international and American students. VISA aims to give people from many different countries a chance to share their cultures. VISA sponsors frequent social events such as monthly coffee houses, beach parties, dances and an International Talent Show. The VISA office is located in the Student Activities Center, 300 Reitz Union (392-1665 x 322). There are also a number of nationality and regional clubs for international students. ISS staff can help you contact these clubs or can offer guidance to students who wish to form their own nationality club.
The Reitz Union Programs Office (392-1655), located on the third floor of the Reitz Union, organizes extracurricular mini-courses each semester. These classes are normally offered at a relatively low cost. They are offered in many areas, and are non-credit courses taken for personal enjoyment. Classes are usually held in the evenings. Course offerings are listed in the Alligator, and in the Leisure Course Guide, distributed around campus at the beginning of each semester. Interested students may also call the Reitz Union Programs Office for more information.
The Constans Theatre
Located on the Colonnade of the Reitz Union, the Constans Theatre is home of the University's theatre group, the "Florida Players." This student group produces plays each semester. Students can obtain a schedule of the plays in the Union. Movies: Classic, foreign, and popular films are shown in the Reitz Union Auditorium. They usually cost $1 on weeknights and $1.50 on weekends.
Lectures, usually given by nationally recognized speakers, are frequently sponsored by the college councils, clubs, or the student organization ACCENT. These are advertised in the Alligator's "What's Happening" column and on posters around campus. Smaller lectures may be held in the various auditoriums or classrooms on campus; larger lectures are held in the Reitz Union Ballroom, the University Auditorium, the Florida Gym, or the O'Connell Center.
Popular and classical music concerts are held on campus regularly. Student Government Productions (SGP), other student groups, and other concert promoters, constantly arrange indoor and outdoor concerts with contemporary musicians. Although the majority of concerts cost money, some are free. Popular music concerts held on-campus are usually held at the Bandshell, located between the Flavet parking lot and Hume Hall, the Union Ballroom, the University Auditorium, the Florida Gym, or the O'Connell Center. The Music Department has a brochure of the musical events being offered each semester, including concerts by the University Symphony or the Chamber Orchestra, faculty and student recitals, as well as the Symphonic Band and the Men's and Women's Choral concert. Most on-campus Music Department events are held in the University Auditorium.
The University of Florida's varsity athletic teams excel in intercollegiate competitions. On Saturdays during the fall, football fans dressed in orange and blue, the school's colors, fill the University's football stadium, Florida Field, Swimming, gymnastics, track, tennis, basketball, and baseball competitions are also popular. These athletic events are free or inexpensive if the student shows a validated fee card. More information and schedules for various athletic events may be obtained by contacting the University Athletic Association (375-4683) located in the Stadium.
Sports Clubs on Campus
Sports clubs have been organized around sports not usually played in the U.S. They include soccer (called "football" in other countries), rugby, volleyball, handball, and cricket. These and the more common American sports like basketball, softball, and table tennis are handled through the Intramural Office in 227 Florida Gym (392-0581). These are informal, "fun" sports and not the same as the "varsity" teams on which highly trained athletes play. The India Club sponsors a cricket club. Contact the India Club, through the VISA Office (392-1665, ext. 322), if you are interested in more information about playing cricket. The city of Gainesville also offers athletic leagues. This is mentioned in the section "In Gainesville -- Athletics."
Indoor Sports Facilities
The O'Connell Center houses a pool, weight rooms, a martial arts room, and dance studios. The pool and weight rooms may be used by students who show their validated fee cards to the attendants. Clubs may arrange to use the martial arts room and dance studio. These facilities are not always open; sometimes they are used by other groups. The weekly recreational schedule, which may change for scheduling of special events, is available on tape through the NEXUS tape system. Students may listen to this tape by calling NEXUS at 392-1683 and asking for tape 316, "The O'Connell Center Weekly Schedule." The Reitz Union has bowling alleys, ping-pong tables, and pool tables for student use. Use of these facilities costs a small fee. The games room phone number is 392-1637. The Florida Gym has basketball courts and other athletic facilities for students.
Outdoor Athletic Facilities on Campus
These include a track, pools, a jogging course, a golf course, baseball and soccer fields, and tennis, racquetball, squash, and volleyball courts. You can locate them by looking on a campus map, or call the Intramural Office at the Florida Gym. Lake Wauberg: The University of Florida runs a park next to the Paynes Prairie Preserve, on Lake Wauberg. It is on Highway 441 South, and only UF students and staff are allowed to use it. It has picnic, swimming, and boating facilities. Florida Gym Equipment Room: An equipment room stocked with athletic equipment is located in 112 Florida Gym. Students may check out equipment if they show a validated fee card and a picture I.D.
Special Campus Events
Throughout the year, special events such as the Homecoming Festivities are being offered. They are highly publicized on the radio and in the newspaper.
Entertainment Recreation in Gainesville
Gainesville offers a variety of amusements for students and their families. Recreational facilities, cinemas, theatres, and other cultural events offer several choices. Events are publicized in the Scene magazine, found in Friday editions of the Gainesville Sun, in the Alligator, and often on local radio and television stations. Community organizations that meet regularly are also listed in "The Scene."
Gainesville has several movie theatres listed in the "Yellow Pages" of the city phone book under "Theatres".
There are several theatres in Gainesville which may be found in the "Yellow Pages" of the city phone book under the heading "Theatres." The Hippodrome State Theatre (373-5968), located at 25 SE 2nd Place, presents plays regularly, as does the Across Town Repertory Theatre, and the Gainesville Community Playhouse. Santa Fe Community College has a theatre group known as the "Santa Fe" Players.
Museums and Galleries
The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art (392-9826), SW 34th St. Hull Rd., has permanent collections of art such as the Herman Herzog painting collection, American Paintings Collection Sampler, the Art of West Africa collection, the Art of Papua-New Guinea collection. Changing exhibitions are also on display. The hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. The University Gallery (392-0201), located on campus in 102 FAB (Fine Arts Building), which is at SW 13th Street SW 4th Avenue, also houses changing exhibits by students and faculty. The Thomas Center (334-5064), located 306 NE 6th Avenue, houses art exhibits. Other local galleries are listed in the city phone book in the "Yellow Pages" under "Art Galleries". The Fred Bear Museum (376-2327), at Bear Archery, 4600 SW 41st Blvd, has hunting-related exhibits.
Several parks in the city offer picnicking, athletic fields, and swimming facilities. A few parks offer jogging trails with exercise stations, and recreation centers. The city phone book has a section in the center of the book called "Community Interest Pages" which includes a city map showing the city parks. In Alachua County there are several Nature Parks, including Biven's Arm Nature Park, Devil's Millhoppper State Park, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, Morningside Nature Center, and Payne’s Prairie Preserve and Camp. The State of Florida has many beautiful parks and recreation facilities located around the state. A listing of these areas may be obtained from the State of Florida Department of Natural Resources (373-3665), or in the "Community Interest Pages" of the city phone book.
The Gainesville Recreation Department (334-5067) organizes team sports such as softball and volleyball. The Recreation Department is in the Thomas Center. There also are a number of privately run health and fitness clubs, and martial arts schools in Gainesville. The Gainesville Recreational Soccer League, which is not affiliated with the Gainesville Recreation Department, has soccer games. Several nationality clubs have organized teams for this league.
Special Cultural Events in Gainesville
The annual Spring Arts Festival brings hundreds of thousands of people to the downtown area for a weekend show of arts and crafts and entertainment. The Spring Arts Festival is usually held in April, and admission is free. It is held on NE 1st Avenue, from NE 2nd Street to NE 8th Street. The area is closed to traffic, and artisans display their artwork and crafts. The Fall Downtown Art Festival is held every November. The downtown area around the courthouse is closed to traffic, and artisans display their artwork and crafts. Admission is free. To find out about other annual cultural events in Gainesville, contact the Special Events office at the Thomas Center Cultural Nature Operations (334-5064), 302 NE 6th Avenue.
Special Sports Events
The Florida Relays, a track and field event is held annually in March at the UF Track. The Gator Nationals, a drag-racing competition, is also held every March at the Gainesville Raceway.
Entertainment Around the State
Within a 100-mile radius of Gainesville are several tourist attractions:
- The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Home is about 20 miles southeast of Gainesville in Cross Creek. It is the home of the author of The Yearling, and is open to visitors from 10:00 a. m. 11:30 a. m. and 1:00 p. m -4:30 p. m. every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
- The historic city of Micanopy, 11 miles south of Gainesville, is the second oldest town in the U.S. Micanopy has been the site of two movies that were filmed there, and has antique shops and historic homes.
- St. Augustine, the oldest city in the U.S., is about one hour east of Gainesville on the East Coast. Old St. Augustine dates back to the 1500's and original buildings still stand. The Castillo de San Marcos is a Spanish fort dating from the 1500's. St. Augustine has many interesting shops, and can be toured in horse-drawn carriages. St. Augustine Beach is an attraction for students; just north is St. Anastasia State Park, with campsites on the beach.
- Silver Springs and Ocala National Park in Ocala. Juniper Springs near Ocala. Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing near Ocala
- Disney World/EPCOT Center/MGM/ Universal Studios, Florida Wild Waters in Orlando.
- Daytona Speedway and Daytona Beach in Daytona.
- Weeki Wachee Springs near Brooksville.
- Cedar Key, on the west coast, about one hour's drive west of Gainesville, is a quaint fishing village with shops, restaurants, and a fishing pier. Cedar Key holds annual seafood and arts festivals as well.