This man-made enhancement wetland was originally created to improve water quality in Paynes Prairie and the Floridan Aquifer. Now a thriving habitat of more than 125 acres of wetlands and ponds, Sweetwater Wetlands Park is a hotspot for rarities and home to more than 260 species of birds, dozens of reptiles and amphibians, bobcats, otters and more! Some of the most exciting birds found there include the occasional Vermillion Flycatcher and park regulars like Snail Kites, Limpkins, Virginia and King Rails, Great Horned Owls, Roseate Spoonbills, Belted Kingfishers and Painted Buntings. Watch for other wildlife like Mud Snakes, Green Water Snakes, Two-Toed Amphiumas, Leopard Frogs, Monarch Butterflies and Round Tailed Muskrats and plants like Alligator Flag and American Lotus. Visitors can experience the lush landscape via more than 3.5 miles of crushed gravel trails and boardwalks, almost one mile of ADA accessible trail on pervious concrete and boardwalk surfaces and viewing platforms. Call in advance to book a ten-passenger tram with a wheelchair mount that can take visitors with mobility challenges around the entire park. The park is open 365 days a year and offers tours where visitors learn about the area’s habitats. Sweetwater Wetlands Park costs just $5 per vehicle and is located only minutes from Downtown Gainesville and I-75.