Clattering pins echo off the colorful walls beaming over Alley Gatorz’ synthetic lanes, which host a hurtling horde of orbs until 1 a.m. on the weekends. Multicolored kicks safeguard toes for rounds of celebratory pin punting during cheerful games of knock-the-pins-down.
Thought it was opened just in 2012, the Harn Museum of Art's 26,000-square foot David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing has quite a bit of history on its hands. There are nearly 700 works on display, all chosen from the museum's collection of more than 2,000 pieces. Dating from the Neolithic period to today, the pieces hail from countries such as India, Persia, Vietnam, and Japan.
Asian art makes up a quarter of the Harn's more than 10,000 works, which, along with travelling exhibitions, fill 32,800 square feet of gallery space. You’ll walk past African wooden masks, metalwork, and ceramics, as well as almost 1,000 modern prints, drawings, and paintings—including canvases by Claude Monet.
Breaking the tradition of many art museums’ “Do not touch” signs, the Bishop Study Center has exhibit-related objects that can be gently touched, though you are not allowed to break apart any sculptures in search of hidden treasure maps. Beyond exhibits, the Harn hosts frequent events including lectures, film screenings, live performances, and interactive programs for students and families.
One of the oldest community theaters in the state, The Gainesville Community Playhouse has produced crowd-pleasing plays since 1927. In Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful, elderly Carrie sets out to escape the clutches of her cowardly son and his bossy wife by returning to her childhood home. A dedicated cast and crew of local volunteers ably enact Carrie's search for her past. Patrons peep through the fourth wall in the 210-seat Vam York Theater, which boasts facilities to stage the most demanding musicals or Shakespearean space battles.
Families explore sundry smile-inducing attractions within Skate Station Funworks' bright interiors. Guests can strive to beat high scores in the arcade, which houses such felicity infusers as air hockey, basketball hoops, and skee-ball to sharpen hand-eye coordination. Visitors skirt over to the roller-skating rink to glide as smoothly as velvet-covered curling stone over the rink's expansive wooden floors beneath effulgent, dancing neon lights. Players ages 10 and younger can head to Wally's Playground to explore the two-story, 30-foot, soft play zone that piques curiosities with a forest, slide, and kitten pit.
At Splitz, bowling is never the same as it was the day before. That's because the fun-focused bowling center rolls out a slate of nightly specialties such as family nights, bowling and laser-tag nights, team trivia, and karaoke. Abuzz with festive lights and the din of toppled pins, Splitz also makes an ideal spot for shindigs such as birthday parties, company parties, and bachelor parties for soon-to-be married bowling balls.
Two tails ranch shelters and cares for exotic animals across 20 acres of natural expanse, bolstered by the educational and awareness efforts of its nonprofit organization, All About Elephants. For more than 25 years, owner Patricia Zerbini has kept more than 100 elephants and exotic cats in her animal haven, where she trains, breeds, and provides medical care for these majestic creatures, in addition to building a comfortable place for them to retire from stressful careers as circus performers and stock traders. During tours, wildlife enthusiasts can gaze at giant elephants as they lumber throughout free-style enclosures and gain awareness as experts educate them about the plight of elephants in the modern world. The ranch also houses a variety of other domestic and exotic animals, along with a collection of fossils, artifacts, and elephant memorabilia, such as 500,000-hour audio books detailing each animal's memories.