Gotta Love Gainesville!

Something a little different for this edition of Rusty's Corner. As a life-long local, there is so much that I love about our hometown - We get to enjoy the outdoors year-round, from beautiful springs to amazing parks, with a great small community atmosphere and of course, The Florida Gators. Today I thought I'd mention Five of my favorite local things to do in Gainesville!

1. The University of Florida Campus - No surprise to anyone that knows me, I am a huge fan of the the Gators. Football games and tailgating come in first on my list, but there is so much more to do here. Basketball, Baseball, and Softball games, concerts and live entertainment and even just strolling around campus taking in the architecture and history. If sports aren't on your list of favorite past-times, you have working out running stadiums in The Swamp, riding your bike around Lake Alice, or stop by and check out the bats coming out of the bat houses in the evening. It would be hard to run out of things to do here!

2. Depot Park - As a dad to an active toddler I am quickly learning about all of the great parks and playgrounds in Gainesville. Depot Park is for sure at the top of my list right now with so much going on, a great playground and splash park and walking trails with some great native landscaping. There's also Pop-a-Top and the Box Car for food and beverages, too and lots of planned events going on.

3. Butterfly Museum - Being in the landscape industry it won't come as a surprise that I love plants and wildlife! We take our son here regularly and he absolutely loves this amazing part of our local community. The flowers, butterflies, pond, and overall experience is fantastic.

4. San Felasco Hammock - Biking the trails is a fun way to get some exercise and enjoy nature at the same time.There are jogging trails, too. Thousands of acres and more trails than you can imagine right on the outskirts of Gainesville behind Progress Park.

5. Restaurants Galore - This one might be cheating, but I couldn't pick just one! I love the great selection of restaurants we have in this area, from local favorites like Satchels and The Top, to an ever-growing list of popular chains. Last week, we visited the opening of "The Keys," a dueling piano restaurant and bar in Celebration Pointe. This week, the plan is to visit the Cheesecake Factory in Butler Town Center for their grand opening.

Whether it's enjoying the outdoors, watching local sports teams, feasting on some great food or family fun time, Gainesville has something great to offer for all types of interests. I hope you take the time as the weather cools off to get out there and explore our great community!