Perhaps try posting this on the Gainesville portion of the forum--might get more answers about Museum itself.
It should take about 2 hours to drive to Gainesville using Fla Turnpike to I-75.
Do check the Gainesville forum. There's several other things to do up there, enough to make a good day trip.
The Museum itself has an elaborate live-butterfly display with its own tropical garden, large displays of ice age fossils (Florida had an abundance of big mammals), big sharks, and a lot of human history. The display of Calusa culture from the southwest coast is spectacular.
Nearby is Kanapaha Botanical Garden, and you can drop by Silver Spring on the way back. If you like springs, the Gainesville area has plenty.
Are you going for the Butterfly exhibit?
I went to the museum a long time ago before they had the Butterfly exhibit, I happened to be at the University of Florida on business and had an extra hour or so. The museum was mildly interesting, but I would not have driven out of the way to see it.
Can't speak about the butterfly exhibit, but if that is why you want to go, it is the closest to the Orlando area.
If you do visit here you might also want to visit the Devil's Millhopper State Geologic Site. It is a very deep sink hole with stairs to the bottom.
There is also a nice botonical garden, Kanapaha, also in Gainesville.
Make sure you have a map or SatNav to find your way here.Edited: 11 September 2011, 01:54
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