10 Free Things To Do In Gainesville With Your Kids

By Mercedes Leguizamon

Whether you live in the swamp or are just visiting, Gainesville has a lot to offer to its people. It can become difficult to keep your kids occupied while they are not in school while staying on a budget. There are plenty of free things to do in Gainesville with your kids. Here are just a few!


Everyone loves a good pool day to tan and enjoy the sun. Luckily, Gainesville has a few local pools that you can select from, but make sure you check the hours before heading over because some of them are closed during the winter months.

A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center

This free, permanent exhibition focuses on A. Quinn Jones, a community leader and educator. Within the museum, there are other exhibits centered around various Gainesville figures, who were also champions of the civil rights movement.

Bo Diddly Plaza

The plaza usually has many different things going on. On Wednesdays it hosts the Union Street Farmers Market. Between the months of May and October there are free, family-friendly concerts at the plaza on Fridays.

Depot Park

Your children can play on the playground and enjoy events like food festivals. For more low-key activities, Depot Park is just a great place to relax on the benches or simply watch the birds. 

Florida Museum of Natural History

For an educational day, head over to Florida’s official state-sponsored history museum. Also, the Butterfly Rainforest that is attached to the museum is great for the whole family.

Paynes Prairie

This state wildlife preserve features endangered plant species and different kinds of animals. If your children love nature and gators, this is definitely the place to be.

UF Bat Barn and Bat House

Watch the bats fly out of their house before sunset. UF’s Bat Barn has world’s largest bat houses and should definitely be one of the top free things to do in Gainesville with your family.

Harn Museum

This modern and contemporary museum, right on UF’s Campus, allows for a fun-filled family day. You can all browse around 600 works of art, shop in the store and dine in their café!

Gainesville Solar Walk

Get your exercise in and walk down Eighth Avenue while exploring the 4 billion to one scale model of the solar system.

Rockin’ Alachua County

One of the coolest activities to do around town is to participate in Rockin’ Alachua County, where children paint rocks and hide them around town. You can join the Facebook group to see if anyone finds your rocks and post when you find rocks yourself. It is basically just a huge game of hide-and-go-seek … with rocks!