The University of Florida is located in Gainesville, a city of approximately 100,000 located in North Central Florida, midway between the Atlantic Ocean (65 miles) and the Gulf of Mexico (55 miles). Although it is rather warm, in summer the temperature generally drops about 20 degrees at night; in winter there are short but stimulating cold spells, and the seasons do change. In general, the mean temperature is 70°F, ranging from 58°F in January and 81°F in August. The average amount of sunshine per day is nearly 8 hours and the annual rainfall is 50 inches.
The main pleasures of living in the Gainesville area are water-related. The beaches of both coasts (quite different) are easily accessible. There are also many springs within easy access from Gainesville. The springs, and the lakes and rivers they feed, have exceptionally clear, cool water, and (usually) a white sandy floor. Many spring parks offer opportunities for camping, swimming, canoeing, and underwater exploration. It is not uncommon for divers to find fossils or Indian artifacts.
The City of Gainesville is also a community that cares for wildlife and preserves areas within the city limits for conservation and nature exhibits. The Morningside Nature Center is a 280-acre wildlife sanctuary that has a permanent staff of naturalists and a varied program of activities, from natural history, farm, and folklore courses to nature walks, craft workshops, and special events. The 57-acre Bivens Arm Nature Park is also within city limits and accessible to residents, and visitors alike.
Gainesville also has a wide range of cultural activities. The Phillips Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Florida, which opened in 1992, attracts world-class symphony orchestras, jazz ensembles, comedies, Broadway plays, operas, and large-scale ballet productions. In addition, theater is available from the acclaimed Hippodrome State Theater, (one of four performing arts theaters supported by the State of Florida), the University's Florida Players, the Santa Fe Players at Santa Fe Community College, and the Gainesville Community Playhouse. The Gainesville Ballet Theater, Dance Alive!, and the Gainesville Chamber Orchestra are enthusiastically supported by the community.
The University Gallery, on the University of Florida campus, the Santa Fe Gallery, and the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, one of Florida's three largest museums, offer a variety of changing exhibitions and programs year-round. Of the more than 15 radio stations that serve the Gainesville area, the University College of Journalism and Communications runs WUFT-FM, a classical music station, and WUFT the University-owned public television channel.
Gainesville is also the state's main center for medical research and treatment. It has four hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and over 450 physicians and surgeons and 100 dentists in private practice.
The City of Gainesville is a University town without the large city feeling. Smaller than the metropolitan areas of Jacksonville to the North and Orlando to the South, Gainesville is an excellent mixture of culture, history, education, and community. For more information visit the official website of the City of Gainesville at http://www.cityofgainesville.org/ and http://www.visitgainesville.com/.