Visit Both Nature and the Past at Morningside Nature Center

June 14th, 2020 by Corey A Edwards

Morningside Nature Center boardwalkCome soak up some of Florida’s natural beauty while simultaneously stepping back in time at Gainesville’s premier nature park, Morningside Nature Center.

Morningside Nature Center, located in Gainesville, FL, is a 268 acre preserve protecting the city’s largest remaining stand of longleaf pine. The center is crisscrossed with more than six miles of hiking trails leading through a variety of ecosystems. It’s also home to a popular, seasonal, Living History Farm that brings the 1870s to life today.

Best of all, it’s only a 20 minute drive from our Gainesville area inn, Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast!

Visiting the Center

One of the first things you’ll want to visit is the nature center and education building. Here, you can learn about the various habitats and wildlife at the center. Exhibits include both live and taxidermy animals. The building also offers restroom facilities.

Be sure to pick up a map of the center’s various trails if you plan to do some exploring, which you definitely should.

Ecosystems at Morningside Nature Center include sandhills, pine flatwoods, bayhead swamps, and cypress domes. Depending on the time of year, you’ll be treated to lush vegetation with lots of wildflowers and wildlife. The center is home to deer, box turtles, gopher tortoises, skunks, wild turkeys, and a great many other birds.

Birders and shutterbugs, in particular, will have a grand time.

Living History Farm

Morningside Nature Center 1870 farmThe Living History Farm at Morningside recreates an Irish immigrant family’s 1870 rural holding. The farm includes an authentic 1840’s cabin and schoolhouse moved to the site, along with an authentically constructed barn and outbuildings.

Visitors to the farm will see heritage breed livestock, like Jersey cows, Ossabaw Island hogs, Dorking chickens, and Gulf Coast sheep. The farm’s field produces cash crops of corn, sugarcane, cotton, and other period-appropriate plantings.

During the seasonal Living History events, volunteers in period dress demonstrate rural life in 19th century Alachua County. On Barnyard Buddies days, guests can even feed the farm animals!

Morningside Nature Center

3540 E University Avenue, Gainesville, FL

Open 7 days a week:
8am to 6pm, Nov–Apr – 8am to 8pm, May–Oct
Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

Learn more at the nature center website. You can also find the center on Facebook.

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