Nature & Heritage Events

Morningside has a new phone number: 352-393-8240, and please note pets are not allowed in the park.

The Great Invader Raider Rally 

This year the Great Invader Raider Rally will take place Saturday, January 19, 2019. 

Registrations are open, and are required for this event.

Be a part of this annual tradition to remove invasive plant species from our natural areas! Registration online.
Under trained leadership, volunteers will work to restore preassigned natural areas from 9-11 a.m. and then are invited to head to Morningside Nature Center from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. for a celebration which includes music, t-shirts, prizes, environmental booths and games and food.
Online registrations are required to participate in this event.

You can also visit the Gainesville Greenway Challenge page to find out how you can help our natural areas year-round!


Take advantage of a wide offering of native north Florida plants during the 2018 Fall Native Plant Sale. Native plants are adapted to drought and the heat, which helps reduce water consumption from irrigation, require less upkeep and help save money. The Fall Native Plant Sale is at Morningside Nature Center Saturday, September 29 from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and is open to the public.

Join us for these free walks, all starting from the Pavilion:
Wildflower Walk at 9 AM
Spider Walk at 10 AM
Wildflower Walk at 11:30 AM

An exclusive member’s only sale is Friday, September 28 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. for members of the Friends of Nature Parks (FNP) and the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS). It’s easy to join in person or online, and memberships are available at the gate. Cash, checks and debit/credit cards are accepted. The Native Plant Sale is hosted cooperatively by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, the Friends of Nature Parks and the Paynes Prairie chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society.

The Native Plant Sale features beautiful native shrubs, trees, wildflowers, ferns, grasses and vines grown at area nurseries. Vendors are members of the Florida Native Plant Society, and certify that plants are nursery propagated and grown.

To join the Friends of Nature Parks, please visit To join the Florida Native Plant Society, please visit their website at

The sale is hosted cooperatively by the City of Gainesville's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, the Friends of Nature Parks (FNP) and Paynes Prairie chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS).



Join us at Morningside Nature Center’s Living History Farm for the Fall Old Florida Seed and Story Swap on Saturday, October 6, 2018, from 10 am to 1 pm, presented by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department in partnership with Forage Farm. Help us preserve our precious agricultural heritage, and diversify your own garden by bringing your seeds to swap with others in our gardening community. Please, no live plants, seeds older than five years or seeds from invasive exotics. No seeds to swap? Come on down anyway and meet fellow gardeners, while enjoying Morningside’s historic farm.


Participants will enjoy the spectacular fall wildflower bloom in the piney woods of Morningside Nature Center during a guided walk. The JEAN DORNEY MEMORIAL WILDFLOWER WALKS are free and take place every Saturday in October and start at 9 a.m. at Morningside Nature Center, from the education building. Wear comfortable walking shoes; bring water and field guides you would like to use. These walks are courtesy of a grant from the Friends of Nature Parks in honor of charter member Jean Dorney. 

Jean, a Texas native, moved her family to Gainesville in 1972. She quickly became involved with the Alachua Audubon Society and was a founding member of Friends of Nature Parks. Through the years, Jean was an active advocate of adult education programs at the nature parks and participated in many wildflower walks and natural history classes. For more information about attending the walks and exploring the natural parks as Jean loved to do, please visit page or call 352-393-8240. Click on the link for information on how to become a member of Friends of Nature Parks.Take a WALK on the WILDflower side with us!


Free Admission! Every November on the Saturday after Thanksgiving: Saturday, November 24, 2018, from 10 am-4 pm. Contestants may download, complete and email the registration form between now and Wednesday, Nov. 21, or register on-site the morning of Nov. 24 Sign up 8:30 am–9:30 am; Contest 10 am–Noon. 

Presented by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department and the Friends of Nature Parks. This event is held each year the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and combines traditions of giving thanks and fall harvest with live fiddle, banjo and string-band music, which were major influences on American entertainment for more than 150 years. Bring your holiday guests, friends and family out to Morningside’s beautiful Living History Farm to experience the making and bottling of sugar cane syrup, biscuits hot from the wood cookstove, live roots music, horse-drawn wagon rides and living history interpreters and demonstrators bringing a country day in 1870 to life.

The Longleaf Pine Youth Fiddle Contest portion of the Cane Boil is for musicians 18-years-old and younger who may enter in one of three age group divisions:

  • Sprouts Division (beginner to 9 years-old)
  • Seedlings Division (10-13 years-old)
  • Saplings Division (advanced or ages 14-18)

Contestants may download the registration form between now and Wednesday, Nov. 22, or register on-site the morning of Nov. 24 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Preregistered contestants should also check-in during this time. The contest starts at 10 a.m., concluding with judging and presentation of prizes, awarded to first, second, third place winners and runners-up in each of the three divisions. Traditional music played by talented, local musicians will follow all afternoon.

For registration and complete rules, and more information about judging and prizes, download the registration formor call 352-393-8240. Morningside Nature Center is located at 3540 E. University Ave., approximately three miles east of downtown Gainesville.

Plan to round out your holiday weekend with a relaxing and enjoyable day at Cane Boil & FiddleFest!

Thank you to WCJB for the great PSA Video!