Florida Getaways of the Day
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Gainesville: The devil lies in a sinkhole
In past times, it was said that if the devil were to be found anywhere in Gainesville, it would be at Devil's Millhopper. But visitors who work up the courage to face this damp, mysterious, 120-foot-deep hole are treated to a delightful fairyland of green, where streams trickle from rock walls and tree frogs croak in delight.
The sinkhole has given up some of its mysteries -- in the forms of ancient sharks' teeth and fossilized bones of extinct animals. However, many more remain. Consider: Many of the plant and animal species found here are common to the Appalachian Mountains, hundreds of miles away.
After taking in exhibits at the visitors center, you can follow a 236-step stairway that descends to the bottom of the sinkhole. On Saturdays, a ranger-led walk begins at 10 a.m.
INFO: Admission is $2 per vehicle; hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays. The park is two miles northwest of Gainesville at 4732 Millhopper Road. Details: 352-955-2008.
On the Web, go to www.floridastateparks.org/devilsmillhopper