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Take a Walk on the Wild Side at Sweetwater Wetlands Park

July 8, 2019 by Corey A Edwards

Sweetwater Wetlands Park in Gainesville FLSweetwater Wetlands Park offers miles of trails and boardwalks through a thriving wetland habitat alive with foliage, birds, butterflies, alligators, and Florida cracker horses.

You can be forgiven for thinking that the more than 125 acres of Florida wetlands that make up the park is all natural. It is, in fact, man made.

The park is one of the final steps in a program started in 2009 to improve the water quality of wetlands in Paynes Prairie and, ultimately, the Floridan Aquifer.

Sweetwater Wetlands Park isn’t just a great place to get out and see nature. It’s also a great way to protect it – and our own environment, too!

Of course, the main reason to visit the park is to see all the wonderful wildlife!

Visiting Sweetwater Wetlands

Viewing wildlife at the park is made easy by 4 miles of well maintained, boardwalks, viewing platforms, and crushed gravel trails that crisscross the wetlands.

Signs placed here and there along the trail educate you about your surroundings. The viewing platforms provide excellent vantage points from which to survey the surrounding wetlands and wildlife.

Sweetwater Wetlands Park has gained a reputation as one of the region’s best birding sites. More than 245 bird species have been spotted within the park. View the current tally on eBird!

Lepidopterists will be equally thrilled by the park’s diverse butterfly populations. Like the birds, the different species of butterflies seen at the park flow with the seasons.

Of course, the park is home to much larger wildlife as well! Alligators, bobcats, deer, turtle, bison, Florida cracker horses, and more can be seen here. You never know what kind of creatures you’ll spot.

Come walk the trails, take in the views, enjoy a picnic lunch, and soak up that gorgeous Florida wildlife. Just don’t forget your camera!

Sweetwater Wetlands Park

325 SW Williston Road, Gainesville, FL 32608

Open 7am to sunset, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The entry gate closes 30 minutes before sunset. Learn more at the Sweetwater Wetlands Park website. You can also follow the park on Facebook and Twitter.

​North Central Florida Lodging

Sweetwater Wetlands Park is only half an hour from our ​North Central Florida inn, Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast. In fact, our Florida lake front bed and breakfast is just 14 miles from Gainesville Regional Airport and only 20 from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and the all the exciting Gators games! Choose from among our comfortable selection of guest rooms then book your stay at Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast!

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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