The Planets – a recommended walk.

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If you have ever driven down 8th Avenue in Gainesville, Florida, you have probably noticed the planetary monuments.  They are “to scale” with the solar system, and yes, Pluto is included, as well as Halley’s Comet.

The Sun is located near the corner of Northwest 8th Avenue and Northwest 34th Sreet, on the southeast side of the corner.  They are located near the entrance to a trail in Loblolly Park, also quite beautiful.

The walk from the Sun to Pluto is just under a mile, with the planets growing farther apart as you walk.  At the beginning and end there are signs explaining the scale in miles: light years.  Each monument has astrological symbols, a likeness of a Greco-Roman god, and inspirational quotations carved into it.  All four sides contain a different quotation, although some require caution when viewing the southside quote.  I managed to step in a fire ant pile, something I do NOT recommend, somewhere around Venus or Earth.  the day I walked the trail, I actually walked it from Pluto to the sun, as I was walking in and around the woods on the north side of 8th Avenue to start.  My rotten little dog enjoyed urinating on some of them, something I probably should have tried to stop him from doing, but I was too busy taking photographs, and I figured he is neither the first nor the last dog to mark his territory on the planet monuments.  Yeah, bad pet-keeper.  I suppose dogs have something in common with humans, who would mark their territory on each of the real planets if given the opportunity through space travel…

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I am glad, personally, that the decision to “downgrade” Pluto to non-planetary status has been reconsidered.  I think expanding the definition rather than diminishing is the way to go.

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The monuments also include minerals and stones inset, and curious patterns.

There are many beautiful places to walk in Gainesville, but if you seek a combination of the artistic and the natural, this is a nice spot… as long as you don’t mind that you are walking along 8th Avenue, which can be a little busy.

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