Home to a variety of wildlife including alligators, terrapins and a colony of 60,000 bats that take flight every evening at sunset, Lake Alice is a true gem of Gainesville, Florida. Located on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville just minutes from our previous destination of the Florida Museum of Natural History, Lake Alice is a nature lover’s paradise and the perfect place to spend a few hours walking. (Be sure to watch the video at the end of this article.)
The starting point for your adventure will be the beautiful Baughman Meditation Center. This beautiful gothic-inspired structure is open to the public. Take a moment to go inside and simply admire the craftsmanship of this building while you let the stress of your road trip evaporate. Once relaxed you will be ready to fully appreciate all that Lake Alice has to offer.
Next explore the exquisitely manicured grounds of the Baughman Center. Located on the shore of Lake Alice, it offers breathtaking views across the lake. You can also experience several forms of wildlife here from alligators to terrapin, a soft-shelled turtle.
From the Baughman Center you’ll take a short walk to the nature trails around Lake Alice. The trail starts off as a dirt path through a heavily wooded section. Here you’ll see massive pine trees and all types of wildlife from birds to squirrels. The path soon turns into an elevated boardwalk that takes you into a wetlands area. Here you’ll see cypress and cedar trees as well as quite a few logs with all manner of colorful fungi growing on them.
The trail forks with one path leading to an overlook of Lake Alice. From here you get a great vista of the lake with the Baughman Center on the far shore in the distance.
Once you’re done with the nature trail you will exit where you entered. As you’re walking back to the Baughman Center you will pass the community gardens across the street where locals grow all manner of plants. You will also pass the Bat House where over 60,000 bats live and take flight every evening. There are park benches located here where you can sit and relax as you watch the bats take off on their nightly flight.
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