The major Seminole community in the Gainesville, Florida area in the 18th century was Cuscowilla. While the exact location of Cuscowilla is unknown, it was located near Paynes Prairie and today's town of Micanopy. When Alachua County purchased the 211-acre YMCA Camp McConnell near Micanopy, it honored this history by renaming the property Cuscowilla Nature and Retreat Center. The property was purchased in 2017 using the Wild Spaces Public Places surtax. The same funding source is being used to improve the property. Cuscowilla Nature and Retreat Center is located at 210 SE 134 Ave. Micanopy, Florida 32667.
Renovations for the Nature Center are underway. The center features a screened in classroom and ADA restrooms. Additional site improvements include a Black Swamp boardwalk and nature trails.
The Olympic size swimming pool is open to the public on weekends beginning Memorial Day through Labor Day from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (weather permitting). Day passes are available for $5. Alachua County residents can purchase a $25 season pass. Passes can be purchased onsite or online by clicking “Register & Reserve” and then "Pool Pass", under the Memberships tab. For cash payments, please bring exact change.
Cuscowilla Nature and Retreat Center is available for rentals including overnight cabin stays, primitive camping, archery, pavilion, lodge, grounds, and indoor meeting space. For more information on availability, or for a quote, please email Cuscowilla@alachuacounty.us or call us at 352-574-2372.
Cuscowilla Nature and Retreat Center is open for the public to enjoy our walking trails, picnic areas, 18 hole disc golf course, sport courts and open space. Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday.
Summer Camp 2024 registration will open in early spring 2024. Day Camp (offered Monday through Friday each summer during June and July) is the perfect opportunity for 7-12 year olds to get comfortable at camp. From archery to canoeing, interactive education, swimming lessons, team sports, to arts and crafts, campers will develop relationships, experience achievement, and create a sense of belonging. Each week is different than the last, so come for a week or stay for the entire summer! Breakfast/lunch and bus transportation to/from Lincoln Middle School is provided. The Children’s Trust of Alachua County and Friends of Cuscowilla offer scholarships for eligible campers.
Fish Camp provides 10-14 year olds with hands on and classroom training on Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) curriculum. This weeklong camp will teach fishing basics including rigging a fishing pole, bait, fish ID, fish anatomy, fish handling, ethical angling, knot tying, casting, tackle overview, aquatic habitats, food webs, and basic boating skills. All participants get to keep their tacklebox and fishing rod! Breakfast/lunch and bus transportation to/from Lincoln Middle School is provided by the Alachua County School Board. The Children’s Trust of Alachua County and Friends of Cuscowilla offer scholarships for eligible campers.
Friends of Cuscowilla is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in Alachua County, Florida, formed in 2020. The organization was formed to assist with improvements, programming, special events, tours, and fundraising for Cuscowilla Nature and Retreat Center. This volunteer organization is made up of working professionals, retirees, students, and community members whose mission is to support Alachua County in its efforts by raising funds, recruiting volunteers, and sponsoring events at Cuscowilla Nature and Retreat Center.