Every college has some version of a weekend devoted to sharing your college experiences with your family, and UF is no exception. Each semester, the University of Florida hosts a family weekend, and the one for Spring 2023 will be held February 24-26 (see the schedule here). It's a weekend that gives families the opportunity to experience everything the Gator Nation has to offer from student performances to lectures to athletic events. Whether you come for the day or the whole weekend, here's a guide of what to expect during UF's Family Weekend.
Family Weekend Events
There are a plethora of planned activities for each day of Family Weekend. The detailed itinerary will come out closer to the event, but in general, Family Weekend begins on Friday, February 24th with a check-in, Gator Resource Open House, and a Family Weekend Welcome. There are some other events there too that cater to children of all ages, but there are also options for you to choose what is best for your family with the "Choose Your Own Adventure" option. On Saturday, February 25th, there are other events that start with another check-in, followed by a tailgate, and the UF baseball game. There is also a post-game event that gives your family the opportunity to visit with other families as well. Finally, on Sunday, February 26th, there will be a breakfast send-off before you have the rest of the day to visit with your student on your own.
Things to Do: On-Campus
The University of Florida's Spring Family Weekend has a schedule packed full of activities for the family to choose from. While the schedule isn't finalized yet, there are several options for you to enjoy your time with your student. The basic schedule is outlined on the UF website and breaks out by day what to expect for your visit. The updates to the schedule will appear on that website, so you'll want to bookmark it for the complete itinerary.
However, in your free time, you may find yourself wandering campus without many ideas on where to go or what to do. Don't worry, we've got you covered.
For those looking to engage with the renowned University of Florida athletic program, there are several events that weekend to do just that. On Friday, February 24th, there is a Women's Tennis match against Pepperdine, a Gymnastics meet against Kentucky, and a Baseball game against Cincinnati. On Saturday, February 25th, there is a Lacrosse game against Maryland and a Baseball game against Cincinnati. And, if you can't make one of the other baseball games that weekend, there's another one on Sunday, February 26th that you can catch before heading home. Spring semester gives you the exceptional opportunity to take in one of the many other sports -- besides football and basketball -- that UF has to offer. Personally, I'd highly recommend attending a gymnastics meet if you haven't experienced one. The energy is palpable and it's a great experience for the whole family!
But what if your family is less sporty and more artsy? Well, there's definitely at least one event on campus for Family Weekend. For instance, on Friday, February 24th, there are two performances from Kings Return, a cappella quartet whose sounds are inspired by gospel and R&B. Or, maybe your family is more interested in visual arts. If that's the case, check out the Harn Museum's AWE-some Exhibition. This exhibition celebrates photographs whose themes reflect the photographers who took them. The Florida Museum of Natural History's Butterfly Rainforest is another place to get lost in. It's free for students but is also open to the public.
It is a great way to immerse yourself in something else that UF has to offer besides sports.
Things to Do: Off-Campus
Maybe you're looking to explore life beyond the campus boundaries. In that case, you can embrace some of the other events happening around Gainesville during Family Weekend.
On Saturday, February 25th, Cypress and Grove Brewery is hosting a screening of Growing Together: A Film about GROW HUB. The event also features live music, food, local craft vendors, activities for kids, and more. GROW HUB is a non-profit plant nursery that supports adults living with disabilities. This event is not only a great way for the family to spend quality time together, but it could also be a great way for students looking for ways to get involved with the Gainesville community to connect to other, like-minded people.
On Sunday, February 26th, Thornebrook Village is hosting a Tarot workshop for families who are looking to try something new and different. The class will give you insight into reading Tarot and understanding the symbolism and meanings behind each of the cards. Tarot reading is a little unconventional for most families, but it could be a fun way to experience something new and open yourself up to new experiences. And later, if you're so inclined, Covey Kitchen + Cocktails has live jazz music and craft cocktails from 6pm to 8pm, which can be a great cap to any Sunday.
Other Things to Do
While the specific events that will be held on campus in honor of Family Weekend are sure to keep you busy, there may be some other ways to spend your time with your student on campus. Wandering around the beautiful campus and having your student give you a tour is a great way to get a taste of what they experience on a daily basis. Visiting some of the great restaurants downtown or checking out the new Celebration Pointe are also options. In the end, it doesn't matter what you do with your Gator because spending time together shows that the purpose of the UF Family Weekend is to show that being a Gator extends to a Gator's family too.
Family Weekend: https://welcome.ufl.edu/families/family-weekend/
Gator Sports Calendar: https://floridagators.com/calendar
Kings Return: https://performingarts.ufl.edu/events/kings-return/
UF Calendar of Events: https://calendar.ufl.edu/day/date/20230226
Harn Museum: https://www.visitgainesville.com/event/awe-some-exhibition/2023-02-24/
Gainesville Events: click here
Where to eat: click here
Things to do: click here