But the Gators aren't so mighty this year, and the stadium on the University of Florida campus was quiet when I was in town this past weekend to visit my adult son. It was strange to hang out on University Avenue without the mayhem of a college football game, but it offered another angle on the lovely college town.
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In town, there was a stroll across the UF campus, including a side trip inside the football stadium to watch some future Gators doing drills in what looked to be a holiday youth sports camp. There were plenty of youngsters running around outside the O'Connell Center, too.
It reminded us of the days when our family would make the trek to the Florida Museum of Natural History, another kid-friendly perennial on the UF campus.
This holiday season, the museum offers a program of themed crafts and activities to keep young minds occupied. Upcoming programs include "Swamp Life" on Dec. 28, "Fossils and Prehistoric Beasts" on Dec. 29, and "Sharks and Ocean Life" on Dec. 30.
Students should dress for outdoor activities and all-day students should bring a sack lunch. Pre-registration is required. A half-day session is $27 for members, $30 for non-members. A full-day session is $45 for members, $50 for non-members.
Visit flmnh.ufl.edu to register online. Drop-off for morning and full-day sessions is 8 to 8:30 a.m., with afternoon sessions starting between 12:30 and 1 p.m.
There's also time to catch the museum's current exhibit, CSI: Crime Scene Insects, which runs through Jan. 17. It explores forensic entomology, teaching visitors through hands-on activities how maggots, flies and beetles help solve crimes.