“FREE FRIDAYS” CONCERT: Catch the next performance of the city’s popular “Free Fridays” concert series from 8 to 10 p.m tonight at the Bo Diddley Plaza downtown amphitheater, located at 111 E. University Ave. The free concert series highlights a different act each week, with Jimmy Young and Passion performing tonight. Jimmy Young and Passion are known for their R&B style. Attendees are encouraged to bring their blankets and lawn chairs to Bo Diddley Plaza to enjoy the concert under the stars. For more information, including a list of upcoming performances, visit gnvculturalseries.org/free-fridays-concert-series.
KANAPAHA BOTANICAL GARDENS GUIDED TOUR: Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is offering a guided tour of its 68-acre facility on the first Saturday of every month starting at 10 a.m. According to the gardens’ website, “During these trying times, access to outdoor facilities and nature is of great importance for both physical and mental health.” Those attending the tour are asked to wear a mask when walking around as a group. Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is located at 4700 SW 58th Drive. Tickets for the tours are $10 for adults, $5 for ages 5-13, free for ages 4 and younger and members. Group rates available. For more information, visit kanapaha.org.
SWEETWATER WETLANDS TOUR: Get out into nature during a ranger-led tour of Sweetwater Wetlands Park on July 3. Online pre-registration through Eventbrite is required. The Eventbrite link can be found on the park’s Facebook page at bit.ly/wetlands21. Only 10 spaces per tour are available. The ranger will lead a comfortable walk around the park and speak about how the park benefits the area’s water, wildlife and surrounding community. Wear comfortable shoes and bring water. The tour will begin at 8:30 a.m. and is free with park admission of $5 per car or $2 per person for bicyclists, pedestrians and buses. The park is located at 325 Williston Road. For more information, call 393-8437 or visit sweetwaterwetlands.org.
JULY 3 AND JULY 4
ROOTERVILLE ANIMAL SANCTUARY SELF-GUIDED TOURS: According to its website, the majestic Rooterville Sanctuary is home to hundreds of rescued farm animals, each of whom came from harrowing backgrounds — narrowly escaping the torment of slaughter that is so common to many farm animals today. Their stories are stories of abuse, neglect, abandonment, cruelty — and then a second chance. Visit the sanctuary for a self-guided tour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year. Take a map of the sanctuary at the gate to see highlights of Rooterville to help you find your way. Guided tours also are available at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. According to its website, Rooterville Animal Sanctuary was inspired by farm animals in need and founded on a singular principle: Compassion. Its owners believe true happiness, a better world and recognition of religious ideals require compassion and mercy for animals. Rooterville Animal Sanctuary is located at 5579 Darwood St. in Melrose. Entrance is a suggested $10 donation per person or $30 for a family of four. For more information, visit rooterville.org.
JULY 3 AND JULY 4
HISTORIC HAILE HOMESTEAD TOUR: The Historic Haile Homestead is unique in the nation for its “Talking Walls.” For a reason lost to time, the Haile family wrote on the walls of their home — more than 12,500 words in almost every room and closet. Visit the historic site on July 3-4 and see this gem of history that has been frozen in time. Let the walls speak to you of joys and sorrows from more than a century ago. Visitors must wear face coverings. Docents will be wearing masks. In accordance with CDC guidance, high-touch areas will be sanitized between tours, and social distancing will be practiced. Size of tours may be limited. The venue is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 3 and noon to 4 p.m. July 4. Attendees also can see the new videos in the Allen & Ethel Graham Visitors Center: “Beginnings” and “Enslavement to Freedom.” The Historic Haile Homestead is located at 8500 Archer Road. Entrance to the site is $5 for ages 13 and older and free for ages 12 and younger. For more information, visit hailehomestead.org.
JULY 4 AND JULY 11
WATER PARK COMMUNITY DAY: Camp Kulaqua opens its River Ranch on specific Sundays during the spring and summer at a discounted rate with no reservations required, and it will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. July 4 and July 11. The venue features a 15,000-square-foot wave pool as well as a lazy river, water slide and volleyball courts. The public is allowed to bring food and coolers, but no glass containers or alcoholic beverages are permitted in the water park. Camp Kulaqua requests that modest swimsuits be worn. The water park is located at 23400 NW 212th Ave. in High Springs. The discounted rate is $14 per person; free for children ages 3 and younger. Future community days include July 25, Aug. 1 and Aug. 8. For more information, visit bit.ly/kulaqua21.
ONGOING THROUGH AUG. 4
FAMILY MOVIES: Get out of the heat and enjoy feel-good family movies for $1 each ticket during Regal Theaters’ Summer Movie Express series. The special series will be held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays every week during the summer through Aug. 4. All three Gainesville-area Regal theaters will be participating this year — Regal Royal Park Stadium 16 at 3702 W. Newberry Road; Regal Celebration Pointe at 4901 SW 31st Place; and Regal Butler Town Center 14 at 3101 SW 35th Blvd. Each week will feature two movies that will play both days beginning at 11 a.m. The schedule includes “Croods: A New Age” and “Muppet Movie” on July 6-7, “Lego Ninjago Movie” and “Trolls World Tour” on July 13-14, “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “Sing” on July 20-21, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and “Angry Birds Movie 2” on July 27-28, and “Minions” and “Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” on Aug. 3-4. For more information, visit bit.ly/regalsum21.
ONGOING THROUGH SEPT. 12
CELEBRATING THRIVING ANIMALS: How can slow and steady win the race? Does bigger always mean better? “Survival of the Slowest,” the newest exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History, takes a look at animals that are slow, small or weak and how they use these traits to survive and thrive. Visitors can get an up-close look at wildlife and daily presentations featuring a live sloth, hedgehog, iguana and more. Meet animals that have survived for millions of years despite being very slow, and learn about the puzzling sides of evolution and adaptation. Discover the difference between warm- and cold-blooded, discover why some animals need less food and see the unique ways they hide from predators. This is a bilingual exhibit available in English and Spanish. The exhibit will be on display through Sept. 12. Entrance to the exhibit is $10 for adults; $9 for Florida residents, seniors and non-UF college students; $7 for ages 3-17; and free for UF students and museum members. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, and it is located at 3215 Hull Road. For more information, visit floridamuseum.ufl.edu or call 846-2000.
ONGOING THROUGH OCT. 2
OUTDOOR STORIES: Join the Alachua County Library System for outdoor stories and songs with library staff during their free Story Time on the Green events, which are scheduled four days a week across the county through Oct. 2. Librarians and library staff will read tales and lead activities perfect for infants through 5-year-olds at library green spaces and parks. Join in songs, fingerplays and story boards to spark your child’s imagination and communication and reading skills. Parents and families can bring blankets and chairs to spread out. Story Time on the Green will be held at 10 a.m., weather permitting, on Tuesdays at Possum Creek Park, 4009 NW 53rd Ave., with the Millhopper Branch team; Cone Park Branch, 2801 E. University Ave., with the Cone Park team; and Lois Forte Park, 120 NW 260th St. in Newberry with the Newberry Branch team. Story Time on the Green also will be held on Wednesday at Headquarters Library courtyard, 401 E. University Ave., with that location’s team; Hawthorne Branch, 6640 SE 221st St. in Hawthorne with the Hawthorne Branch team; Wilson Robinson Park, 13975 SW 174th St. in Archer, with the Archer Branch team; and High Springs Farmers Market, 23517 NW 185th Road in High Springs, with the High Springs Branch team. Thursdays’ locations will include the Veterans Memorial Park playground area, 7400 SW 41st Place, with the Tower Road Branch team; Smokey Bear Park, 2300 NE 15th St., with the Library Partnership Branch team; Waldo Branch, 15150 NE U.S. 301 in Waldo, with the Waldo team; and the Hitchcock Baseball Park playground, 15120 Main St. in Alachua, with the Alachua Branch team. Saturdays will host one event at the park by the fire station on the corner of Northeast Cholokka Boulevard and Northeast Seventh Avenue in Micanopy with the Micanopy Branch team. For more information, visit aclib.us.