26 Best Things to Do in Ocala, FL

Ocala, FL

Welcome  Ocala, Florida!

Nestled amidst the lush greenery of the Sunshine State, Ocala is where Southern charm meets modern allure.

From its deep-rooted equestrian traditions to its thriving arts and culture scene, Ocala offers plenty for locals and visitors alike.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Robert Stevens, Brett Horn, Bria Harmon, Donna Russo, Blake Brenner, Esteban Kelly and Lillie Walter.

Embrace the Equestrian Charm at the World Equestrian Center

Exterior of the World Equestrian Center
EWY Media / Shutterstock.com

Who knew you could find an entire world dedicated to equestrian in your backyard?

I indeed didn't until I found myself at the World Equestrian Center. This is an experience you can't forget.

One of the most memorable events I attended was the Ocala Comic Con.

I know what you're thinking: a comic con at an equestrian center? But believe me, it was a sight to behold.

The convention center was buzzing with energy, and the combination of comic enthusiasts and equestrian lovers created a unique atmosphere I will cherish forever.

Not to mention, the grounds themselves are stunning.

Every time I visit, I'm impressed by how clean and well-kept the place is.

The refined hotel within the center is simply exquisite, boasting a spa, restaurant, and pool.

Grounds of the World Equestrian Center
EWY Media / Shutterstock.com

Indeed, the World Equestrian Center has a charm that's hard to resist.

Whether you're an equestrian enthusiast, a comic fan, or someone looking for a unique day out, this place has something to offer.

And trust me, you won't regret the visit.

Awards at the World Equestrian Center
EWY Media / Shutterstock.com

Take a Stroll in Walker Park

You'd never guess it, but a charming little oasis is tucked away in our bustling town. It's called Walker Park.

The place has become my favorite spot to unwind and spend quality time with my family.

The park is part of our daily routine.

My kids love swinging on the swings, and I'm always grateful for the sturdy picnic tables where we sometimes enjoy an impromptu lunch.

It's a clean, well-maintained place that feels safe enough for casual strolls or letting the kids play freely.

The park is not just for kids and families, though.

It's also a peaceful spot for solo time.

I often take my dog for walks here, appreciating the quiet locale and the open spaces that give it a sense of serenity.

One of the great features of Walker Park is the grill and pavilion. It's common to find us grilling up a storm on the weekends.

This amenity brings the community together, and it's a joy to see our community gathering for a barbecue with laughter floating in the air.

Walker Park is our little sanctuary amidst the town's hustle and bustle, where memories and friendships are strengthened.

So, if you're in the area, don't forget to stop by and soak in the charm of our lovely little park.

Soar Through The Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park

I've lived near The Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park for years, and I’ve been a frequent visitor to this breathtaking destination set amidst nature's grandeur.

The tantalizing thrill of zipping through lofty canyons with a cool breeze brushing past my face is incomparable.

I recall the first time I strapped on my harness and trusted the professional guides.

Their expert knowledge and humorous anecdotes turned my nervousness into excitement, making me a regular customer from that day on.

The nine zip lines provide different adrenaline rushes, the tallest and longest being my favorite.

Likewise, the two rope bridges and the rappel add to the thrill.

Each zip line course gives a unique view of the beautiful landscape, further enhancing the overall experience.

It's a tour through nature’s beauty, a view of the world from a different perspective.

In addition to zip-lining, I've also tried the horseback riding offered at The Canyons.

Gliding through the park’s scenic trails atop a gentle, well-trained horse is an experience worth trying.

The guides are equally passionate about these majestic creatures, creating an enjoyable environment for horse lovers and first-time riders alike.

Venturing into the water, I signed up for the kayak tour.

Paddling my way through the serene blue waters, surrounded by lush greenery and the sound of birds chirping, was the perfect way to unwind and reconnect with nature.

For me, the Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park is an escape from the mundane into a world of adventure and natural beauty.

Taste Elegance at Katya Vineyards

There's something extraordinary about a night out at Katya Vineyards.

Imagine a rustic-chic space where the atmosphere is as intoxicating as the international wines on the menu.

As soon as you step inside, you're swept up in the warmth of a family-owned venue, where every dish is a testament to their passion.

I remember one evening when I decided to indulge my taste buds.

I started with their sweet potato fries tossed in truffle oil and topped with delicate crab meat.

It was the pairing I had never dreamed of, but there it was, a masterful blend of flavors dancing in my mouth. And that was just the beginning.

Unable to resist, I ventured further, sampling their Octopus and Wagyu.

Every bite was a culinary masterpiece that made me wonder why I hadn't explored their menu sooner.

I can't forget the live music, a harmonious backdrop to a memorable dining experience.

The sounds of the strings added a secret ingredient to the whole experience, making the food taste even better.

Katya Vineyards has become my go-to place on special occasions or just a night out.

The upscale atmosphere, the exceptional service, and the eclectic yet perfectly balanced menu keep me coming back for more.

Choosing Katya Vineyards isn't just selecting a place to eat; it's choosing an experience, a journey of culinary discovery.

I can wholeheartedly say it's worth every penny.

Take a Stroll Through Time in Ocala's Historic District

Burford House in Ocala Historic District
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There's something special about living in a place brimming with stories etched into every brick and cobblestone.

The Historic District in Ocala, Florida, is such a place.

An incredible journey through time, I often find myself wandering through the streets, absorbing the rich history that infuses the air.

To say that the Historic District is merely a dense cluster of aged buildings would be a gross understatement.

Every building, every monument, every corner holds a tale waiting to be told.

There's the grandeur of the 1890 House with its regal aura, the charm of the iconic Coca-Cola Building, and the unassuming beauty of Fort King Street – each edifice a testament to Ocala's evolution through the centuries.

When friends visit, we always take a stroll around the Historic District.

I take immense pleasure in pointing out the architectural marvels relating the story behind each one.

Then, those impromptu history lessons spring up from the labyrinth of charming streets.

Helvenston house at Ocala Historic District
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There's never a dull moment in the Historic District, yet it's the perfect place to seek solace from the bustling city outside.

It's hard to imagine a better setting for a coffee shop catch-up or a lazy Sunday brunch than in the heart of Ocala's history.

Yes, the Historic District is also a haven for food lovers.

From vintage-style diners serving local specialties to chic cafes offering the perfect brew, there's a culinary delight waiting at every corner.

You wouldn't want to miss a beautiful journey through time and architecture.

Living in Ocala's Historic District is like having a romantic affair with the past while loving the present.

It's a unique blend of history, architecture, and modernity that makes my everyday extraordinary.

And I wouldn't trade this experience for the world.

Bullock house at Ocala Historic District
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover Art at Marion Cultural Alliance at Brick City Center for the Arts

Who knew such magic was tucked away in our little town of Ocala?

The Marion Cultural Alliance at Brick City Center for the Arts was my most delightful discovery.

I stumbled upon it one day, and it's been a remarkable journey ever since.

From the moment I stepped into the courtyard, I was smitten.

The enchanting environment filled with creative expressions of local artists captivated my heart.

I grabbed a brick to show my appreciation and support for the local talents.

It's a unique way to pledge your support, and now, every time I step into the courtyard, I feel a sense of belonging.

But it's not just about the art. There's always something happening here.

I've attended numerous exciting events and performances.

From children's yoga classes to Friday night music sessions with Sean T, there's an unending list of things to see and do.

One of my favorite buys from the center has been the Long Leg Horse prints.

They've added such charm to my new home.

I've also taken up the challenge of the 'Call to Artists' - an exciting opportunity for local artists to showcase their talents.

It was a great experience participating, and the reception was a blast!

The center also hosts free workshops for every age group.

This is the place to be if you're looking for a fun, creative, and supportive community.

My journey with the Marion Cultural Alliance at Brick City Center for the Arts has just begun.

I am excited about becoming an even bigger part of this beautiful community.

Enter a Sanctuary of Serenity at First Presbyterian Church

Stepping into the First Presbyterian Church is like stepping into a haven of peace amidst the city's hustle.

The Church is an architectural marvel, exuding an old-world charm that instantly draws you in.

But it's more than just a beautiful building. It's where you're always greeted with a smile, a place that feels like home.

The choir's angelic voices blend perfectly with the melodious tunes of the piano, creating a divine harmony that stirs the soul.

Their performances are transcendent experiences that resonate with the heart and soul.

As you walk up the grand staircase or take the elevator on the left, if climbing isn't your forte, you'll be greeted by the warm and friendly folks of the church.

They always go out of their way to make you feel welcome, making it a place that's easy to love and hard to leave.

The First Presbyterian Church is a community, a family.

It's a place that fills you with a sense of belonging, where you're not just a face in the crowd but a valued member of a loving community.

So whether you're searching for a spiritual haven or a comforting community, the First Presbyterian Church is the perfect place to find both.

Discover the Thrills of Florida Trail Land Bridge Trailhead

Every morning, as the sun rises, I make it a point to hop on my bike and head straight to the Florida Trail Land Bridge Trailhead.

There's something so refreshing about whizzing past the lush greenery and feeling the soft hush of nature around me.

The wide trail is perfectly maintained, offering plenty of room for fellow cyclists, and is dotted with a series of fun hills and twists that keep the ride exciting.

In the middle of my rides, I never miss the chance to pause at the highest point of the trail, where you can look out and see a stunning view of the highway stretching out below.

There's something oddly peaceful about watching the world rush by from up there while the quiet of nature surrounds you.

On weekends, I swap my bike for my hiking boots and explore the trail on foot.

It may not be a very long trail, but the beauty of the surroundings makes up for it.

Whether on my own or with my dog, it always turns out to be a delightful experience.

The trailhead also features an equestrian parking and wash-down area for those with an equestrian streak.

It’s a thoughtful touch that makes it all the more inviting for various outdoor enthusiasts.

On hectic days, such as Sundays, the trail is abuzz with individuals and families all out to enjoy the beauty of the Land Bridge Trailhead.

And I must mention that the restrooms and potable water facilities are always clean and readily available, making the experience comfortable for all.

Diving into the history of the place, much of the topography was created by the digging for the abandoned cross Florida canal years ago, resulting in these uniquely thrilling trails - notably the Land Bridge, which is my favorite.

It's a piece of history, a living testament to the past, reshaped into a place of joy and recreation.

It always makes my adventures here that much more special.

Next time you're in the area, don't miss out on experiencing the thrill and beauty of the Florida Trail Land Bridge Trailhead.

Unwind at Sholom Park

A pavilion at Sholom Park
Sunshower Shots / Shutterstock.com

I find myself catching my breath as I enter the serene embrace of Sholom Park.

This park is a haven of tranquillity if you seek solace away from the city bustle.

It's my regular retreat for quiet meditation or when I crave a peaceful walk.

The park, adorned with landscaped gardens, is like a green canvas painted with different shades of tranquillity.

Standing tall amidst the greenery, the stately pavilion adds a touch of elegance to the picturesque setting.

The paved paths through the park make for a pleasant ramble; the serenity remains undisturbed, with no dogs, bicycles, or skates allowed.

Likewise, the serenade of nature is often punctuated by the gentle plops of fish surfacing in the pond.

I love feeding them from the boardwalk. It's a simple pleasure that never fails to uplift my spirits.

The park offers plenty of benches, my sanctuaries, where I sit reflecting or simply soaking in the peaceful surroundings.

Though spread across only a few acres, Sholom Park offers a sanctuary that always rejuvenates me.

It's my peaceful nook in the city, where I leave all my worries behind and exist.

Stroll through Ocala Wetland Recharge Park

The first time I stepped foot in the Ocala Wetland Recharge Park, it felt like I had walked into a natural sanctuary.

It's a haven where nature abounds and peace reigns.

The signposts, every few feet, are quite noticeable, reminding visitors of the imposed prohibitions.

At first, it seemed overbearing, almost intrusive, but I soon realized these rules were implemented to preserve the park's serenity and protect the wildlife.

Indeed, the unspoiled beauty of the park is awe-inspiring.

Its charming walkways are a delight, with information posts along the way to feed your curiosity about the diverse wildlife that calls this place home.

From the Common Gallinule and the Great Blue Heron to the Red Wing Black Birds and the distinctive Sherman black-faced Squirrels, there's never a dull moment.

The park is always clean and well-maintained.

It's the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, breathe in the fresh air, and appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature.

I can tell you, there's nothing quite like a stroll through Ocala Wetland Recharge Park.

Find Solitude at Baseline Road Trailhead

I accidentally stumbled upon the Baseline Road Trailhead, one of the best-kept secrets in Ocala, Florida, while searching for a place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

What a discovery it was!

It has become my go-to spot for a peaceful jog along the well-marked trails.

I've often found myself running more than I initially planned to, especially when the weather is perfect, which it usually is.

Likewise, I've tried my hand at disc golf, and even if I'm not the best player, I find it tremendously fun.

But it's not just about the physical activities.

There are picnic pavilions where I have enjoyed many a lazy Sunday afternoon with a good book while my kids run around the playground.

Often, we'd pack some sandwiches and have our meal there, under the shade of the covered tables.

One of the small yet significant things I appreciate about the Baseline Road Trailhead is the clean toilets.

It shows the care taken for the place's upkeep, making it a welcoming spot for locals and visitors alike.

While the heavy road traffic can be heard in the distance, it's a small price to pay for the tranquillity of the place.

It’s a little slice of nature right here in the heart of Ocala.

I'm continually thankful for having such a wonderful place at my doorstep.

If you're looking for a spot to relax, jog, bike, or have a good time, I can't recommend the Baseline Road Trailhead enough.

Spend the Day with Gypsy Gold Horses

A pony at Gypsy Gold Horse Farm
AaronBarlow, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I'd always heard fantastic things about the Gypsy Gold Horse Farm, but it wasn't until last weekend that I finally decided to see it for myself.

I'm telling you, no amount of praise can genuinely capture the enchanting experience that awaits you at this special place.

Of course, the show's real stars are the stunning Gypsy horses themselves.

As I strolled around the verdant pastures, I was greeted by the friendly horses, each one more beautiful than the last.

I had the unique opportunity to interact with them, to touch and rub their gentle bodies.

And I couldn't resist taking a few pictures – I wanted to remember these moments forever.

After the initial introduction, we were taken on a farm tour.

The grounds are picturesque, with large oak trees dotting the scene and vibrant green pastures stretching as far as the eye can see.

It was a 45-minute journey into the world of these magnificent horses and their equally fascinating history.

I can say without a doubt that my visit to Gypsy Gold Horse Farm was a day well spent.

I can't wait to go back and introduce my family to this special place.

Indeed, I feel they will love the experience as much as I did.

Enjoy a Regular Evening at The Corkscrew Winery and Brewery

Thursday nights are my favorite, and the reason is simple - The Corkscrew Winery and Brewery.

There's no better way to unwind after a long work week than with some fine local wine and live music.

And the open mic night? It's a cherry on top! Nowhere else in the area offers such fantastic entertainment.

The ambiance is a unique blend of industrial and steampunk, which meshes perfectly with a local winery's charm.

It's like entering an entirely different world where wine is the lingua franca, and everyone is friendly.

It feels like home. And the wines? They're delectable.

My personal favorite is their white cranberry wine.

It's sweet yet refreshing - a perfect drink for a warm Florida evening.

Once I tried their wine-making class, it turned out to be an enriching experience.

It is fun, educational, and interactive, with a nice cheese and cracker tray to go along with it.

And the bonus? They let you take home a bottle of wine that you've made yourself!

It's an experience, a community, a safe place to relax and enjoy.

While I am lucky enough to live nearby, stop by on a Tuesday afternoon, even if you are visiting.

Whether you're a wine connoisseur or a casual drinker, there's always something for everyone at The Corkscrew Winery and Brewery.

Visit the Reilly Arts Center

The Reilly Arts Center shines at night.

Indeed, this civic auditorium is a bright spot in our town with its modernized lighting and top-notch sound system, making every concert feel like a personal serenade.

Parking is usually a hassle at concert venues, but not here.

A large, well-lit parking area is paved and easy to navigate.

Plus, the restrooms are kept scrupulously clean and never seem to run out of supplies.

With a 700-seat capacity, it's just right - not too small that you're craning your neck to see the stage and not too big that you feel lost in the crowd.

The Reilly Arts Center is a fantastic place to let loose, enjoy some live music, and immerse oneself in the lively local arts scene.

Enjoy Artful Days at the Appleton Museum of Art

Exterior of Appleton Museum of Art
AppletonMuseum, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There's something magical about the Appleton Museum of Art. You can almost feel the creativity buzzing as soon as you enter the door.

The museum, with its vast collection of European, American, and Asian artwork, always offers a visual feast, and I find myself lost in the captivating beauty of each piece.

Visiting the Appleton Museum of Art is more than just an art-viewing experience.

The museum's contemporary space uniquely complements its art, making the entire experience feel more immersive.

I've spent countless hours moving from gallery to gallery, each offering a different genre of art.

The Appleton is also about the community. I fondly remember attending the first Saturday event during the holiday season.

An exhibit in Appleton Museum of Art
romarti / Shutterstock.com

A variety of trees all lit up, an inflatable art exhibit, and even a Beauty and the Beast exhibit. It was indeed a day filled with wonder and joy.

Did I mention the museum shop? It’s a treasure trove of unique souvenirs.

I found an interesting piece that now graces my living room, reminding me of my wonderful time at Appleton.

The Appleton Museum of Art has become my sanctuary, where I can lose myself in the beauty of art, learn something new, and make some lovely memories.

It's a haven for art lovers like me, a place that Ocala is proud to call its own.

Statue in front of Appleton Museum of Art
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy the Day at Clyatt Park

Every time I visit Clyatt Park, I can't help but marvel at the transformation.

This once modest green space has blossomed into a hub of recreational activity that has something for everyone.

The ball field is always a hive of action, where children dash around bases, evoking feelings of nostalgia.

I remember times when it was just a simple field, but now it boasts a well-maintained batting cage that adds a professional touch to the park.

The lighted tennis and basketball courts cater to sports enthusiasts like myself, offering an excellent place to engage in friendly competition under the stars.

What I appreciate most, however, is how family-friendly Clyatt Park has become.

The playground may not be the largest, but it's perfect for little ones.

Seeing their bright, excited faces as they enjoy the simple pleasures of swing sets and slides is always heartwarming.

Busy times are inevitable, especially during weekends and holidays, but the park's sense of community shines through.

Everyone enjoys sharing the courts and equipment, making it a comfortable and welcoming place.

Clyatt Park may not be massive or extravagant, but its simplicity, community spirit, and diverse recreational offerings make it a cherished part of my town.

Whether it's playing a game of basketball, watching a little league game, or simply enjoying a quiet moment on a park bench, my visits to Clyatt Park always leave me with a smile.

Check Out the Ocala Skatepark

There's an adrenaline rush that awaits you at the Ocala Skatepark - a sanctuary for skateboard enthusiasts and bikers alike.

The skate park in our city offers a clean, well-kept environment for both young and old.

I've spent countless hours at the park, sometimes with my six-year-old son, who's already head over heels in love with the place.

He's learning new tricks and improving his skills every day, and the park caters to all skill levels, making it a safe spot for him to practice.

Occasionally, we've enjoyed watching professional skateboarders and bikers perform some mind-blowing stunts, leaving the crowd in awe.

The Ocala Skatepark is a hub of energy, talent, and community.

We are lucky to have such a facility in our city.

So grab your board or bike, and see you at the park.

Don't forget to wear your helmet!

Unearth History at Marion County Museum

Exterior of Marion County Museum
DanTD, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You wouldn't believe the amount of history packed into a small building like the Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology.

I popped in one day in 2011, just after it had opened, and it's been one of my favorite spots in town ever since.

The modest-sized museum is a veritable treasure trove of local history, with exhibits that take you on a journey right back to the days of the original Native American inhabitants.

I particularly enjoy browsing the selection of artifacts; every piece has a tale to tell, and something is fascinating about holding a relic from the past in your hands.

It's like being part of an Indiana Jones movie, minus the rolling boulders and deadly traps!

But it's not just a place for old stuff. The museum provides a wealth of literature, offering a deeper understanding of Ocala's roots.

It's an excellent place for me to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life and immerse myself in the stories of our ancestors.

So, if you're in the mood for some time travel, I'd highly recommend visiting the Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology.

It's a small slice of Ocala's past in the present.

Spend a Sunny Day at Jervey Gantt Park

Having a sunny afternoon to burn, I've often decided to spend the day at Jervey Gantt Park.

This expansive green space is a gem in the heart of our city, featuring a 2-mile exercise path perfect for jogging or a leisurely walk.

The sports courts are always teeming with energy, whether you're in the mood for a quick basketball game or fancy a tennis round.

Likewise, the picnic shelters are a favorite spot of mine.

There is no better way to unwind than laying out a blanket, indulging in a good book, or sharing a bite with friends under the cool shade.

But if you're looking for more excitement, the park doesn't disappoint.

The playgrounds are fantastic, buzzing with the laughter and joy of children, making it a perfect spot for families.

I've seen many of my neighbors spending quality family time while their kids are having the time of their lives.

If you're looking to beat the heat, the water park in Jervey Gantt is the place to go.

The pool is a community gathering that embodies the spirit of our city.

It's pretty affordable, too, making it a popular choice on weekends.

Jervey Gantt Park has something for everyone, making it a cherished spot for locals.

Whether you're looking for an active day out or a tranquil escape, this park delivers.

Explore the Historic Santos Recreation Area

A hidden gem, the Historic Santos Recreation Area, is just around the corner from my house.

It's much more than a typical park – a trip back in time and a unique experience.

My first visit was on a sunny afternoon.

Seeing the old buildings with their rustic charm left me in awe.

The park beautifully preserves the history of the place, giving you a glimpse of the past in the lap of nature.

One of my favorite spots in the park is the island.

It's a sight to behold!

I only wish the bike trail would extend to it. Imagine cycling around the island, soaking in the beautiful surroundings.

The thought alone makes me giddy with excitement.

I've also hosted parties at the park.

Last year, I organized a birthday party for my friend Kayla's co-workers at Kenny's place, a picnic spot within the park.

It was a hit with everyone; the environment added a special touch to the celebration.

I love this park and am grateful it's part of our community.

It's a reminder of our rich history and a place where we can escape our busy lives to appreciate the beauty of nature.

Walk Through History at Fort King National Historic Landmark

Daytime view of Fort King National Historic Landmark
Sunshower Shots / Shutterstock.com

You know you've lived in Ocala long enough when your weekends orbit around the charming little Fort King National Historic Landmark.

This 19th-century army post-turned-historic site is my go-to place for an immersive history lesson or a quiet picnic under the Floridian sun.

From the moment you step onto the historic grounds, you're transported back to a time of frontier wars and pioneer life.

The interpretive trails offer a stroll through history with informative signs dotting the pathway, each telling a captivating story.

However, the show's real star has always been the recently rebuilt fort replica.

It's a sight to behold! Standing tall and proud, this wooden fortification brings you face-to-face with the early days of Ocala.

But don't be fooled by its size.

As they say, "Great things come in small packages."

The fort offers a fascinating glimpse into a bygone era.

Even though it might not take more than an hour to explore, it's still a great way to kill time and soak in local history.

My favorite part, though, is how this historic site engages with the community.

There's always something happening, from enlightening lectures to ax-throwing sessions and even a community garden.

I'd highly recommend checking their event calendar before planning your visit.

The Fort King National Historic Landmark is a place of learning, community, and sunshine-bathed picnics, all wrapped up in a slice of Ocala's rich heritage.

Savor Cajun Delights at Harry's Seafood, Bar & Grille

Let me tell you about a bustling hub for New Orleans-inspired fare - Harry's Seafood, Bar & Grille.

Nestled among several locations, this place has a charm that oozes consistency.

I've lost count of the times I've found myself there, my taste buds ready for the delectable feast that awaits me.

The specialty? Jambalaya. A dish that never fails to hit the spot.

Their Seafood Creole is another treat not to be missed.

It always arrives at your table looking more than you've expected. Trust me, it's worth every bite.

The place is usually bustling, even though on my recent visit, it was a pleasant change to find it not overly crowded.

It was lunchtime, and we secured a window seat with a lovely view—a perfect backdrop to a fantastic meal.

My first visit to Harry's felt like discovering a hidden gem.

And now, it's a part of my foodie habits. The prices? Friendly on the pocket.

The service? Always satisfactory. The food? It's a 4.5-star experience.

Harry's Seafood, Bar & Grille is a little piece of New Orleans in our town.

Unleash Your Curiosity at Discovery Center

Every time I cross paths with the Discovery Center, I feel nostalgic.

This space holds a special place in my heart as the go-to destination, a place that sparked curiosity and thirst for knowledge in my children.

The Discovery Center, with its modest yet captivating repertoire of educational workshops and classes, has always been a refuge from the endless summer days.

Our last visit holds a special memory.

My eight-year-old was captivated by the animals on the lower level, while my toddler was more intrigued by the science activities upstairs.

Each activity was as educational as fun, with insightful notes accompanying each exhibit.

But what makes this place even more appealing is the affordable admission fee.

For just $8, you are giving your child a day filled with learning and fun.

Although a few of the installations in the main hallway were not in their prime condition during our last visit, the overall experience more than made up for it.

What's even more appealing? The park is across the street!

We usually head to the park after spending a few hours in the center. It's perfect for a picnic and some outdoor fun.

So, if you're looking for a place where fun meets learning, consider bringing your children to the Discovery Center. Their minds will thank you for it.

Visit the Ocala Downtown Square

Gazebo at Ocala Downtown Square
H.J. Herrera / Shutterstock.com

There's nothing like a sunny day at the Ocala Downtown Square.

It's where I go when I feel like I need a break.

The feeling of stepping onto the cobblestone streets, surrounded by charming old buildings, is like stepping back in time.

There's always something going on, from weekly farmer's markets to live music events and local art exhibits.

The square somehow manages to be both soothingly quiet and thrillingly vibrant at the same time.

I usually begin my day at the square with coffee from one of the small cafes that line the streets.

There's nothing quite like sitting outside, watching the world go by.

Then, I stroll around the square, popping into the boutique shops that sell everything from handmade jewelry to vintage clothes.

I've spent countless hours relaxing by the beautiful fountain at the heart of the square.

It's a great place to sit, read a book, people watch, or take in the ambiance of this delightful place.

I often also visit the museums and art galleries nearby to immerse myself further in the local culture.

No visit to the square is complete without indulging in some local cuisine.

The restaurants around serve delicious food that caters to all tastes and preferences. From cozy diners to upscale bistros, there's something for everyone.

The Ocala Downtown Square, with its charm and vibrancy, is a place that offers a unique experience every time.

It's a place that feels like home yet always has something new to explore.

I encourage anyone in Ocala, Florida, to spend a day at the square.

Experience History at the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing

When you have lived in Florida as long as I have, the thrill of weekend road trips to the beach slowly wanes.

When the allure of the ocean started to fade, I found myself drawn to the roar of engines and the vast history of speed in my backyard.

Yes, I am talking about none other than the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing.

One step into the museum, and you can feel the pulsating energy of the place.

It's as if the vintage hot rods and drag racing cars are itching to break free from their static display and zoom onto the race track.

The collection is extensive and well-preserved - a testament to the legacy of drag racing.

Every car there had a story to tell, a history meticulously displayed for visitors.

The information about the drivers and their vehicles is fascinating, and it's clear the museum takes great pride in preserving these narratives.

What struck me most was how, even though relics of the past surrounded me, the museum felt vibrant and alive, a testament to the timeless appeal of speed and competition.

Apart from the vintage hot rods and drag racing cars, the museum also houses an impressive collection of antique cars.

These aren't cordoned off like museum exhibits but are proudly displayed, with their polished finishes gleaming under the lights.

Even though you can't get as close as you would like, these restorations' craftsmanship and attention to detail can't be missed.

But what I enjoyed the most was the sneak peek into Don Garlit's racing days.

With memorabilia, trophies, and parts from his racing cars, it felt like stepping into a time machine and being whisked back to the golden days of drag racing.

The museum has done an exceptional job of presenting this slice of history.

If you're a resident or a visitor with a love for car history or just looking for something different to do over the weekend, the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing is a must-visit.

And if you've driven by it a million times and never stopped - like I had - you're missing out on a hidden gem.

So hop in your car and make the drive. It's an experience you won't regret.

Final Thoughts

Ocala, Florida is a treasure trove of cultural, historical, and natural wonders, perfect for any explorer.

Each corner of the city offers a unique experience, making Ocala a place that never stops surprising.

So whether you're a history buff, nature lover, or wine connoisseur, Ocala always has something for you.

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