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Discover All the Great Things To Do in Stark FL

July 20, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

People often ask about fun things to do in Stark Fl. Florida being Florida, there’s always something fun nearby to do or see! We hope the short list below will serve as a quick guide to some of the more popular, local favorites.  We look forward to being your North Central Florida base camp and helping you to discover all the area has to offer.

Things to Do in Stark FL

Things To Do In Stark FL - Camp Blanding MusuemCamp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park: A fascinating military museum complete with monuments, exhibits, and military vehicles. The museum and memorial park are located just outside the main gate of the still active National Guard Installation. The building is surrounded by armaments from World War II, including 2 Half-Tracks and a M4 Sherman Tank. Inside, exhibits include artifacts, photographs, weaponry, uniforms, a dog-tag machine and even an entire military Jeep. One exhibit explores the lives of German prisoners held here during WWII. Today Camp Blanding is a joint training site for the National Guard, Reserve, and active duty troops. Read more.

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Discover Beauty at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

June 23, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

Kanapaha Botanical GardensNo matter whether you’re visiting Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville, Florida for the first or hundredth time, there is always something new and beautiful to see!

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens have been attracting nature lovers since opening their doors in 1986 – and no wonder! The lush 62-acres feature a collection of 24 different gardens, including Florida’s largest public bamboo display. Kanapaha is also home to the largest herb garden in the Southeast. Some of the garden’s most popular attractions include the stand of Chinese royal bamboo mentioned above, giant Victoria water lilies, and Asian snake arums.

As you can imagine, the gardens attract a lot of wildlife as well as human visitors. This is especially true in the Water Gardens and, of course, the Hummingbird Garden. Heron, alligator, butterfly, hummingbird, and a great many others enjoy the quiet beauty of Kanapaha Gardens.

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Experience the Santa Fe Zoo in Gainesville Florida

June 15, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

Santa Fe Zoo at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, FLThe Santa Fe Zoo is a small, AZA-accredited, teaching zoo on the Sante Fe College campus in Gainesville, FL. It is the only college zookeeper training facility in the country with its own AZA-accredited zoo on grounds.

The Santa Fe Zoo may sound like it belongs in New Mexico but no, it’s here in North Central Florida at Gainesville’s Santa Fe College. The facility’s full name is “The Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo” and it has been AZA accredited since 2000.

The 10 acre zoo is part of the Santa Fe College campus and home to over 200 animals representing more than 75 species. The zoo is almost completely operated by students, overseen by a small staff.

For many years one could only see the zoo via guided tour appointment. Though tours are still offered (and recommended) they are no longer needed to visit the zoo.

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The Best Public Golf Courses Near Starke, Fl

April 23, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

Public Golf Courses Near Starke, Fl Looking to get in a game or two of golf during your North Central Florida getaway? Great idea! There are some excellent public golf courses near Starke, FL!

Are you one of those folks who makes time for a round of golf no matter where you are? Is an opportunity to work on your swing one you never miss? If so, you’ll be happy to hear that there is plenty to do in the Starke area – and that includes a wealth of golfing options!

This wide variety of golf courses near Starke means plenty of tee times to fit your schedule. It also means a selection of greens to fit your skill level. While a good many local golf courses are private or semi-private, guests can often play at the club’s discretion.

Below is a short list we’ve compiled for you of the most popular public golf courses near Starke, FL. This should by no means be considered a complete list but, rather, an easy guide of the most popularly-rated, Starke-area golf courses within easy reach of our North Central Florida B&B.

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Bradford Sportsmen’s Farm NWTF Sporting Clays Challenge

April 13, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

Bradford Sportsmen’s Farm NWTF Sporting Clays Challenge May 2018Bradford Sportsmen’s Farm is hosting the NWTF Sporting Clays Challenge May 4th through the 6th, 2018. This sporting clay tournament is NSCA registered and will help raise money for the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Bradford Sportsmen’s Farm is a family owned shooting facility, located just ten minutes down the road from our North Central Florida B&B, in Graham, FL. Bradford Sportsmen’s Farm hosts NSCA registered sporting clays tournaments each month. They also offer classes, a pro shop, and a club house with refreshments.

The NWTF Sporting Clays Challenge scheduled for May 4th through the 6th, 2018 is a 200-target, sporting clays championship. The event is open to NSCA and Hunter Classes, with 5-stand, sub-gauge, FITASC, Pump, and SXS events. 12 gauge, preliminary.

The shoot will help raise money for the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). The National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973 with a mission to save the wild turkey and support hunter’s rights using science-based conservation. Attending this shoot is both a vote for conservation AND hunting. A win win, in other words.

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Celebrate Spring at the 2018 Carson Springs Spring Safari!

March 16, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

2018 Carson Springs Spring Safari at Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation in Gainesville, FLCelebrate spring with over 70 different exotic animals at Carson Springs Spring Safari, April 14th, 2018! Tours, warthog races, big cat feedings, great, local food trucks, and more!

If you like animals, you owe it to yourself to visit Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation in Gainesville, Fl.

Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation is a popular, North Central Florida exotic animal refuge housing over 70 rescued animals. Lions, caracals, hyenas, tortoise, cheetahs, rhinos, warthogs, foxes, and many others.

Unlike a zoo, the animals housed at Carson Springs enjoy thoughtful, spacious, and more natural enclosures. Consequently, visitors to Carson Springs are greeted by a collection of happy, active, and bright-eyed animals.

Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation opened in 2003 with a mission to rescue and rehabilitate exotic and native animals. The facility prides itself in going above and beyond the minimum housing standards set by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Along with the large, clean, enclosures, the animals also receive carefully monitored, individually tailored diets.

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Here Comes Bradford County Strawberry Festival 2018!

March 9, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

The Bradford County Strawberry Festival 2018Come kick off spring at Bradford County Strawberry Festival 2018! This popular, North Central Florida event is a two-day street festival with great food and fun for everyone – April 7th and 8th in Starke, FL!

Every spring, for the last 20 years, historic, downtown Starke transforms into the Bradford County Strawberry Festival grounds. Bradford Berry and his little buddies, the strawberries of the Bradford County strawberry harvest, come out in force to greet and celebrate with the 12,000+ residents and visitors who attend each year.

The festival celebrates Bradford County’s annual strawberry harvest. Bradford County produces a large amount of the delicious fruit and the festival is our way of giving thanks for the bountiful harvest. Our strawberries are considered especially tasty in these parts, though we may be a touch biased.

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Take A Hike – at Gainesville’s Sweetwater Wetlands Park!

February 23, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

Sweetwater Wetlands ParkSweetwater Wetlands Park in Gainesville, Fl is more than 125 acres of man-made wetland habitat. Designed to improve water quality and act as a wildlife preserve, the park has since become one of North Central Florida’s best birding areas!

Not too long ago, we told you about the amazing wildlife and scenery to be found at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. Well, one the reasons Paynes Prairie Preserve is so pristine is due to Sweetwater Wetlands Park.

Prior to the creation of Sweetwater Wetlands, the area’s water quality was beginning to suffer. Further, ranchers in the 1930s dug a ditch to drain part of Paynes Prairie in order to expand grazing areas. The ditch they dug fed directly to Alachua Sink and dehydrated more than 1,300 acres of prairie wetlands.

Over the decades, the Alachua Sink, which directly connects to the Floridan Aquifer, built up an excess of nitrogen from all the urban runoff and wastewater. Soon, it was clear something must be done to reverse this damage.

The solution was the Paynes Prairie Sheetflow Restoration Project. The project’s mission was to reinvigorate the natural water filtration via the restoration of wetland habitat along the northern rim of Paynes Prairie. At the same time, they created an environmentally friendly park, filled with plants and animals: Sweetwater Wetlands Park!

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Don’t Miss the 2018 NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway!

February 9, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

NHRA Gatornationals 2018One of the North Central Florida’s official first signs of spring is just around the corner: the 2018 NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway are scheduled for March 15th to the 17th, 2018!

2018 sees the 49th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals. This traditional, East Coast opener has drawn fans and the world’s best drag racers alike to Gainesville for almost half a century!

And why not?

Who can resist NHRA professional level competition? We are talking 10,000-horsepower, nitro-fueled Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car classes. We’ll also see 200-mph Pro Stock category. Gatornationals is also season opener for the Mello Yello Series Pro Stock Motorcycle and J&A Service Pro Mod categories.

If you like the spectacle fire-breathing, metal machines hurtling down the strip, you don’t want to miss the 2018 NHRA Gatornationals!

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Discover North Central Florida’s Wings of Dreams Aviation Museum!

January 29, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

Wings of Dreams Aviation MuseumWings of Dreams Aviation Museum, at Keystone Heights Airport in Starke, FL, is an aviation enthusiast’s wonderland of historic aircraft, space program artifacts, and military vehicles. Anyone with a fascination for aviation or military vehicles should visit Wings of Dreams!

The varied collection at Wings of Dreams Aviation Museum often surprises visitors. Finding a collection of vintage military vehicles and planes is one thing. Add in space program artifacts, various uniforms, and a host of exhibits and you might think you were at a much larger museum.

In fact, Wings of Dreams has been so successful in its collections that they’re planning a larger facility to accommodate them all. The multi-phase construction plan includes an aircraft restoration facility, along with a library, gift shop, restaurant, and more.

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Step Back In Time At Dudley Farm Historic State Park

January 22, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

Dudley Farm Historic State ParkDudley Farm is both a Historic State Park and a working farm in North Central Florida. The 1880’s homestead includes original buildings and staff in period clothing demonstrating the evolution of Florida farming.

The Dudley family moved from Charleston, SC to North Central Florida in the mid-1800s, establishing what we know today as Dudley Farm. In reality, Dudley “farm” was a significant crossroads community. 18 buildings were constructed on the 640-acre property between the 1880s and 1945, including a general store and post office.

Dudley Farm Historic State Park retains 325 of these original 640 acres. The many buildings found here are restored, not recreated. Along with the expected farmhouse, stables, and barns, Dudley Farm also boasted a kitchen outbuilding. Other unique structures on the site include a canning house, a syrup house and mill, dairy shed, and a tobacco barn.

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Explore North Florida’s San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park

December 22, 2017 by Corey A Edwards

San Felasco Hammock Preserve State ParkNorth Flordia’s San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park is more than just a great place to hike, bike, and horseback riding. The park is the site of a historic Spanish mission, limestone sinkholes, and one of the few remaining mature forests in Florida.

San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park is well known for its hiking and mountain biking opportunities. In fact, the park’s 30 miles of bike trails have made it one of Florida’s top mountain biking destinations. But that’s just one tiny aspect of this amazing North Florida park.

What many visitors may not realize is that the park has a long and fascinating history – from the ground up!

San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park’s unique karst geology riddles the area with hundreds of limestone pools and sinkholes. Nearby Warren’s Cave provides a dry look under the earth while all the park’s known stone pockets serve as drainage.

This unique karst topography of hills, valleys, and limestone outcrops provides ideal conditions for many species of trees and plants that you’ll not find any farther south. Bobcats, white-tailed deer, gray foxes, turkeys, and a variety of songbirds make the park their home. It’s a wonderful place to see and photograph wildlife and wildflowers.

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It’s Time For Hoggetowne Medieval Faire 2018

December 15, 2017 by Corey A Edwards

Hoggetowne Medieval Faire 2018Don’t miss the 32nd annual return of one of North Florida’s most beloved traditions. Hoggetowne Medieval Faire 2018 will be at the Alachua County Fairgrounds January 27th-28th and February 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, 2018.

The theme of Hoggetowne Medieval Faire 2018 is “The Adventures of Robin Hood.” This year’s events will feature a living chess match between Robin Hood and his Merry Men against Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Hoggetowne Medieval Faire offers. 9 stages and a host of wandering performers. Jousting knights, jugglers, falconers, magicians, musicians, belly dancers, and more. Follow the day’s scheduled entertainment or simply play it by ear and enjoy the sights and sounds as they come.

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Discover Florida’s Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park

November 24, 2017 by Corey A Edwards

Camp Blanding MuseumCamp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park, in Starke, FL, is a fascinating military museum complete with monuments, exhibits, and military vehicles from all eras and conflicts.

Camp Blanding is a historic and still active North Florida National Guard installation bustling with activity and troops. Just outside the main gate, however, in a 1940s-era guest barracks, resides Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park.

Camp Blanding Museum traces the history of both Camp Blanding and the Florida National Guard. The two-story building is surrounded by massive armaments from World War II. These include an M3 Half-Track, and an M16 Half-Track, and an M4 Sherman Tank. Wow!

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Living The Wildlife At Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

November 17, 2017 by Corey A Edwards

Living The Wildlife At Paynes Prairie Preserve State ParkPaynes Prairie Preserve State Park is an unusual Florida State park chock full of amazing wildlife like alligators, bison, and some 300 species of birds!

People come to Florida for lots of reasons but one of the top reasons given is our amazing wildlife. The state is home to a colorful array of mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians, and others. Getting out and seeing some of our state’s unique inhabitants up close in their natural habitat is a truly worthwhile experience.

Paynes Prairie Preserve is as interesting as many of our wild neighbors – and a great place to get out and see them! The park is biologically, geologically, and historically unique.

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Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of The Florida Museum of Natural History

October 23, 2017 by Corey A Edwards

Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of The Florida Museum of Natural HistoryThe Florida Museum of Natural History is celebrating their centennial with a very special exhibit showcasing some of the museum’s most unique, fascinating, and treasured objects. “Rare, Beautiful & Fascinating: 100 Years @FloridaMuseum” is a must see event – September 23rd, 2017 to January 7th, 2018.

The Florida Museum of Natural History is always worth a visit, as we’ve noted before but for the 100th Anniversary, they’ve really pulled all the stops out. Though the museum dates back to the late 1890s, it didn’t move to Gainesville until 1917. This anniversary celebrates that move, the accomplishments of the last century, and looks forward to the next 100 years.

The museum has been contemplating how to celebrate the centennial for many years. They finally decided on an exhibit of the museum’s finest work from the last 100 years. That sounds simple enough but, with a museum as large and as old as this, how do you choose?

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The 36th Annual Gainesville Downtown Festival & Art Show

October 13, 2017 by Corey A Edwards

Gainesville Downtown Festival & Art Show 2017Get set for the 36th annual Gainesville Downtown Festival & Art Show! Art, live music and entertainment, food, and more! November 11th and 12th, 2017 in Gainesville , FL.

Gainesville’s annual Downtown Festival & Art Show transforms downtown Gainesville for two days into an outdoor art gallery. 240 of the nation’s most talented artists display their original works for appreciation and sale. Oil, acrylic, and vibrant watercolor paintings, sculpture in a variety of mediums, ceramics, fiber art, photography, and more.

Gainesville is recognized as north central Florida’s cultural center and the Gainesville Downtown Festival & Art Show is one of the top, juried fine art shows in the nation. The area’s most talented artists apply to compete for $20,000 in cash prizes and awards.

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Sample Local Craft Beers On A Gainesville Brewery Tour

September 22, 2017 by Corey A Edwards

Enjoy a Gainesville Brewery Tour!The local craft beer scene is really hopping (no pun intended) and one of the best ways to discover it is on a Gainesville brewery tour!

The craft beer craze has taken the nation by storm over the last decade and Florida is no exception. Craft breweries are popping up all over the place with excellent and unique local beers on tap. While many local brewers bottle and keg their beers for outside consumption, one of the best ways to sample a beer is at the brewery.

While not all craft breweries offer tours, most do and they are almost always worth your while. Learning about the brewing process, meeting the brewmaster, and seeing the brewery adds personal value to any beer. Brewmasters tend to love to talk about their beers and you can learn fascinating things about their particular process. There is more than one way to brew a beer and many craft brewers love to experiment.

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Get Set for UF Homecoming 2017 and Gator Growl Week!

September 8, 2017 by Corey A Edwards

UF Homecoming and Gator Growl 2017UF Homecoming and Gator Growl 2017 are just weeks away: October 1st through the 7th, 2017. This year promises plenty of traditional fun and excitement with a homecoming game against the LSU Tigers and big name entertainment from Snoop Dogg and Grammy Award winning breakout musician, Daya!

There’s nothing quite like the fun of University of Florida’s Homecoming and Gator Growl Week. The excitement of the homecoming game is further amped-up by a week of fun activities like Homecoming Parade, Soulfest, Tailgate, and so much more.

Gator Growl has the distinction of being the biggest student-run pep rally in the nation. The inclusion of super-star entertainers like Snoop Dogg and Daya only heighten the excitement and anticipation.

So go ahead: come on out and show your pride and spirit for the University of Florida during the 2017 UF Homecoming and Gator Growl Week!

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You’ll Have A Blast At M2 Battlesports Tactical Outdoor Laser Tag!

August 28, 2017 by Corey A Edwards

M2 Battlesports in Waldo, FLM2 Battlesports is a state of the art laser tag facility that offers military-grade, battlefield simulation, mission-based game play near Starke, FL.

Who doesn’t remember playing cops and robbers as a kid? Running around the neighborhood, yelling “bang!” and generally having a great time? You can still have that same kind of fun as an adult at places like M2 Battlesports Tactical Outdoor Laser Tag.

M2 Battlesports offers a variety of combat simulation experiences similar to paintball and airsoft. With laser tag, however, you can avoid all the the mess and potential pain associated with airsoft and paintball. Plus you don’t need all that bulky, hot protective clothing to play. You also don’t have to worry about someone cheating by wiping off the paint or ignoring hits.

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Stay With Us & Catch the 2017 Florida Gators Home Games!

August 4, 2017 by Corey A Edwards

2017 Florida Gators Home GamesThe 2017 UF football season is just around the corner, so now is the time to reserve your lodging for the Florida Gators home games. Let Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast serve as your Florida lakeside home away from home.

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of seeing Florida Gators home games and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is a great venue. University of Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, or “The Swamp” as many affectionately call it, is Florida’s largest stadium. Visiting teams consider the state-of-the-art facility one of the toughest college football environments around. Visiting fans, on the other hand, soon discover that there is not a bad seat in the house!

The same could be said for our North Central Florida B&B, Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast.

Our contemporary modified A-frame home sits on the shore of natural cypress lake surrounded by 60 acres of open field. Each of our seven rooms has an en suite bathroom and access to the more than 180 feet of waterfront we call home. Relax before or after the game with a swim or some fishing. Take the canoe out or simply enjoy a sunset from the porch rocking chair.

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Waldo’s Antique Village, Farmers Market, and Flea Market

July 24, 2017 by Corey A Edwards

Waldo's Antique Village, Farmers Market, and Flea MarketIf you enjoy antiquing and fresh farm to table food, then you’ll love Waldo’s Antique Village, Farmers Market, and Flea Market. It’s the largest market of its kind in North Central Florida!

Waldo’s Antique Village is a huge mall filled with quality antiques and collectibles. And when I say huge, I mean huge. 20,000 square feet and two stories of shopping opportunities. Believe me, those two stories hold a huge selection of items. You’ll see jewelry, curios, furnishings, apparel, art, and so much more.

If you’re looking for something more modern and less antiquey, check out the Waldo Flea Market, which is part of the Antique Village complex. This “old fashioned flea market” is open every Saturday and Sunday and boasts over 900 dealers!

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Get Revved Up For the 11th Annual Starke Bike Fest 2017

July 14, 2017 by Corey A Edwards

Starke Bike Fest 2017If you like sunshine, motorcycles, live music, and old-time fun, then you do not want to miss the Starke Bike Fest 2017! The 11th annual return of this beloved, North Florida motorcycle event is scheduled for August 11th, 12th, and 13th, 2017!

The annual Starke Bike Fest promises old school biker fun, city-wide. It is a free rally put together by bikers and the merchants of downtown Starke, FL. Starke has a long history of being welcoming to bikers and the annual bike festival simply seals the deal.

Each year there are many exciting things to do, see, and be a part of. Live music, great food, fun rides, parades, contests and games make up much of the weekend. While the full schedule for this year’s Bike Fest has yet to be released, a great many of the details have been solidified.

Events already scheduled for 2017 include a bike show, swap meet, burn outs, jello wrestling, bike wash, wet t-shirt contest, and a poker run. A pancake breakfast honoring veterans is on the schedule. They’ll also have the opportunity to collect a free BBQ lunch during the festival.

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Swing Through the Trees on a Florida Zipline Adventure!

June 23, 2017 by Corey A Edwards

Cable Junction Florida Zipline Adventure ParkYou’ll fly through the air with the greatest of ease at Cable Junction Zipline Adventures. Conquer ropes courses, gain confidence and have a blast at the newest North Florida zipline adventure park!

North Florida is loaded with great things to do and see. Hey – it’s Florida! That being said, it’s still exciting when something different pops up in the area and now we have a new Florida zipline adventure park!

If you’ve never experienced a zipline, you’re in for a real treat. Ziplining manages to combine many of the best aspects of mountaineering, tree climbing, and flying. The sport provides the combined thrill of elevation and speed while remaining quite safe.

Ziplines have existed for a lot longer than many people know. They’ve been around at least since the 1700’s, if you can believe it – and some say evidence exists that the sport goes back even farther still.

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See The World’s Largest Bat House – The University of Florida Bat House

June 5, 2017 by Corey A Edwards

University of Florida Bat HouseThe world’s largest occupied bat houses hold hundreds of thousands of the flying mammals – and they’re located in Gainesville, FL! Come see them at the University of Florida Bat House!

Bats have a bit of a image issue, it’s true. People think of them as filthy, disease-ridden, blood-sucking little monsters of the night. In fact, 70% of bats eat insects alone, serving as an excellent form of pest control. Many bats are also pollinators, like bees, helping crops to thrive. Interactions with humans have been over-hyped and are much more frightening for the little bats than the big person!

Unfortunately, like so many of nature’s creatures, bats are having a harder time finding safe habitat. Disease and encroachment have displaced and decimated many bat colonies across the globe. If only there were more bat houses like the ones at University of Florida!

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