Before living in Sacramento, my husband and I lived in Gainesville, FL. My husband was a graduate student at the University of Florida, so we lived there during our first year as a married couple. Therefore, you can imagine how special this college town is to me.
If you look into the surface, Gainesville looks like any college town in the US. Half of the population is made out of undergrads, so tons of youth driving their scooters. Everyone loves their football team – Go Gators! And the town’s heart is the university. However, when you look closely, Gainesville has many hidden secrets. Today I’d like to share about one that has a lot of meaning to me. I’ll tell you by the end of this post. So keep reading.
Lake Alice is a wildlife area located on of the University of Florida’s campus. It’s a beautiful area where alligators and turtles can be seen. They live peacefully alongside UF’s students and guests. It’s one of the most popular places on campus. People often go there to see alligators, which you often do; you just have to remember that they are still wild animals – last year a gator crossed some student’s picnic! Just don’t panic, because people who live in Gainesville are quite used to alligators popping by every now and again. Trust me, I lived there.
Another spectacle of this place is the UF Bat House. Every day around sunset the bats leave their beautiful homes to go outside to drink water and do their exercises. It’s an amazing scene which looks almost choreographed. Summer is the best time of the year to see them fly. But I have seen them in other spots on campus in colder (for Florida’s standards) times of the year.
I believe that Lake Alice is one of the most popular places for engagement pictures in Gainesville. It’s such a romantic place – at least, it plays a romantic part in our lives. Lake Alice is where my husband proposed (*see why it’s so special). He had planned this whole romantic day out, which I was constantly complaining why we had to walk so much. But when we got there I completely forgot about everything. That was the way which we saw the most number of alligators in/near the lake. We almost stepped on one, because we were so excited to see alligators for the first time.
All in all, Lake Alice is ONE of the places that make Gainesville and UF so special. It’s not the most touristic places ever, but if you are ever in a conference at UF – in case you are a graduate student – you should definitely stop by and enjoy the views.
This is just the first of probably many posts I’ll write about Gainesville, FL. But I’m glad this was the first because it is such an important place in my life. Have you ever been to this part of Florida? If not, do you have some place special that is sort of a milestone to you? I’d love to hear about it. See you guys next time!