Located on the campus of the University of Florida, in Gainesville, the Florida Museum of Natural History is the state's official sponsored and chartered natural history museum, with their main public exhibit facility, Powell Hall and the McGuire Center adjacent to it, all sitting in the Cultural Plaza, that houses the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art and the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The museum houses many outstanding permanent displays that showcase the state's flora, fossils, fauna and the historic people that lived here for centuries, and many descendants of these great people are still living in the state, utilizing their old ways of hunting, fishing, trapping, and now, gaming. There isn't a charge for viewing most of the exhibits, but the butterfly rainforest and traveling exhibits will charge something. The museum was founded in 1891, and then relocated to the campus in 1906, finally being chartered by the state in 1917. In 1988, the former name of the Florida State Museum would become the Museum of Natural History and to stop any confusion that the museum might have with the Florida State University that is located in Tallahassee. The museum, operating for more than a century now, has a few buildings that include the Dickinson Hall, that opened in 1971 and houses more than 25 million objects and relics in its collections that include; paleoboatany, mammalogy, archeology of the Caribbean and Florida, ehtnography of Latin and North Americas, ichthyology, botany, heretology, ornithology, paleontology (both invertebrate and vertebrate), palynology, environmental archaeology, historical archaeology and malacology. Powell Hall was constructed in 1995 and houses additional relics and exhibits, with the Randell Research Center sitting on 53 acres of marvelous land that had been donated by the Randell family in 1996. It is a spectacular museum to visit when you are in Florida, giving you the finest opportunity to learn more about the flora and fauna of the state, as well as the historical peoples that have called this land their home for centuries. The best way to travel around the city and its many outstanding attractions is to rent a vehicle from Enterprise Car Rentals and leave the hassles to other folks, while you choose the times and days you want to travel, without having to worry about trains, buses or planes.
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One of Florida's most endearing and famous writers, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, has been honored by the state and its citizens as they created this historic state park in the former homestead of Rawlings, in Cross Creek, a town that lies between Ocala and Gainesville. The house would be listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006. There are numerous tours and two short hiking trails offered here, with period costumes and stories worn and told by the staff that describes the hard times of the 1930s Florida, long before the invention of air conditioning and other means of keeping well during the oppressive heat and humidity that covered the land during those years. Marjorie and her husband, would live on the homestead for a quarter of a century, taking care of their 72 acre farm and writing prolificly, including the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Yearling, that would put Cross Creek and Marjorie Rawlings in the news across the globe. The cracker styled house and farm would become famous by her writings and has been meticulously restored and preserved so that the generations of today and tomorrow might come and visit the site, learning more about the wonderful writer and her dear Cross Creek. In 2009, Governor Charlie Crist would honor Marjorie as a First Floridian, and the postal service would issue a commemorative stamp in 2008 honoring her and the literary arts. The grounds house a lovely playground and picnic area, making it a great place to spend the day and learn more about the early years of Florida and the type of people that came here to settle and build a new state.