Years ago, Rebecca Barborak went to a BYOB painting class and found that it combined her love for art and red wine. She decided to start her own paint-it-yourself studio, where students of all skill levels bring forth flowers, animals, and landscapes in painting classes in both BYOB and child-friendly varieties. The studio also hosts casual open sessions where visitors can work at their pace on canvas and pottery pieces. Beneath the paintings that festoon the walls and cover the dozens of mysterious safes, private parties and camps can reveal the secrets of painting.
Our Mission Gainesville Creative Kids provides a necessary outlet where children can express themselves through the arts. Our role is to respect and nurture each child as an intelligent, unique, whole person. Our belief is that each child should be at the center of their experience, allowing them to imagine and create.
Suwannee Guides encourages its guest to paddle a kayak or canoe along the watery pathways for a half-day tour of Manatee Springs State Park, a wildlife sanctuary where crystal-clear springs merge with the tranquil Suwannee River. Riders can explore this aquatic Arcadia in single or double kayaks or a sturdy two- to three-person canoe, leaving civilization behind to lift their paddles in natural rhythm with warbling birds and beat-boxing trout. Guides outfit each rider with a boat, paddle, life jacket, and harpoon gun to be prepared for run-ins with bathing Sasquatches. Once secured in the aquatic vessels of their choosing, small groups can dart about the tranquil waters and scan the river and reservoirs for majestic blue herons and jumping sturgeons leaping out of the water in search of talent agents.
Gainesville Fashion Week invigorates the community with five days of events flaunting fashion, art, music, and culture. To kick off Fashion Week, the ticket package includes an exclusive invitation to Wednesday's private, opening-night art show ($18 value). Watch the red-carpet procession and imbibe in live music, DJ jams, and drinks specials while perusing art. General-admission tickets to the runway shows on Thursday and Saturday (up to $18 value each) let fashion fans gape as models parade the catwalk in concepts executed by national and local designers, spot lighting emerging designers as well as local boutiques, artists, musicians, and miniature figurine mavens.
Standing still in a cloud of free-flying butterflies, exploring the depths of a limestone cave, and gazing at the 14-foot bones of a 16,000-year-old Columbian mammoth skeleton—visitors can do all of this in just one afternoon at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Since starting in 1891 as a professor’s teaching collection of fossils, minerals, and human anatomy models, the museum has transformed into the home of more than 40 million specimens, creating a library of life that features one of the world’s largest collections of butterflies and moths.
Reflecting the museum’s impressive collection of winged beauties, some of its exhibits focus on the butterflies and moths that, unlike humans, can survive long flights without eating a single package of peanuts. At the Butterfly Rainforest, more than 1,000 butterflies from 60 to 80 species take to the air among tropical trees, orchids, bromeliads, and waterfalls cascading into a pond that bustles with fish and turtles. Feeding stations with freshly cut fruit dot the 6,400-square-foot screened enclosure, letting guests get up close as the butterflies feast. Live butterfly releases daily at 2 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. let onlookers watch them fly into an outdoor butterfly rainforest, and among the indoor butterfly exhibits, curious audiences can peer into a rearing lab where staff unpack and sort newly arrived pupae.
Rounding out the museum’s focus on Floridian biosystems, the Northwest Florida: Waterways & Wildlife exhibit invites visitors to wander through a full-scale recreation of a hammock forest, and the South Florida exhibit takes guests down the peninsula with a mangrove boardwalk and a palm-thatched Calusa leader’s house. The museum's internationally acclaimed fossil collection includes highlights such as "shark jaw row," extinction dioramas, and full skeletal mounts and sculptures. Meanwhile, outside, petals unfurl in the wildflower and butterfly garden.
When golfers walk the fairways at Mark Bostick Golf Course, they’re not just following the path of their ball—they’re also tracing the footsteps of champions. The home of the Florida Gators’ men’s and women’s golf teams since 1962, the Donald Ross–designed course has served as the stomping ground for five NCAA Championship teams and 21 teams that have captured SEC titles. It has also honed the game of several alumni who have gone on to win on the PGA Tour.
Though the par 70 course measures a modest 6,701 yards, its shrewd combination of contoured terrain and water hazards make it a challenging layout for golfers of all abilities. Its tree lines add to the difficulty and cast shadows over the fairways, thwarting those trying to bleach their golf balls even whiter in the sun.
After rounds, golfers can refuel with a snack from the clubhouse’s snack bar. The clubhouse also features a pro shop and display cases filled with the Gators’ championship trophies and the dinosaur teeth early humans used as divot tools.
Course at a Glance: