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Set among the rolling hills of citrus trees in Lake Wales you’ll find a remarkable 250-acre National Historic Landmark and one of the most visually stunning and enchanting subtropical gardens found in the Sunshine State.
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With beautifully landscaped gardens, a 205-foot Singing Tower carillon, a 1930’s Mediterranean-style mansion, Pine Ridge Trail, and Pinewood Estate, Bok Towers Gardens is an awe-inspiring hidden Florida gem.
Open since 1929 by the Dutch immigrant and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward W. Bok and his wife Mary Louise Curtis Bok, this husband and wife duo had a vision of creating a tranquil bird sanctuary on Florida’s highest hill 298 feet above sea level.
With the help of the famous landscape artist Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., the plan included planting an astounding 1,000 large live oaks, 10,000 azaleas, 100 cabal palms, 300 magnolias, 500 gordonians, and hundreds of various fruit stubs.
Thus, the Bok Tower Gardens was officially created and has been delighting guests of all ages for over 80 years as one of the most beautiful and lush tropical gardens in Florida, attracting more than a hundred bird species, wild turkey, and sandhill cranes.
The epicenter of this masterpiece is highlighted by the regal Singing Tower. This marble piece of art sits at the highest elevation of the garden decorated with picturesque sculptures, a 15-foot moat, koi pond, and a nearby reflection pool giving off a full image of the Tower in all its glory.
Only adding to its magic, here you’ll find a whimsical 60-bell carillon set amongst the neo-Gothic and Art Deco tower with captivating 30-minute concerts held daily at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m that only enhance your garden-viewing experience.
Pass the Tower and you will be confronted with the famous Gardens, where you’ll find romantic recesses, peaceful resting spots, and exploration-worthy trails amongst a series of breathtaking views of the lush foliage.
In what feels like you’ve stepped into a painting, no two days are the same at these gardens where you’ll find a gorgeous ever-changing palette of over 150 varieties of camellias, hundreds of azaleas, orchids, irises, and other flowering plants that give off wonderfully intoxicating scents.
Nestled within the Bok Tower Gardens sits the luxurious 20-room Pinewood Estate mansion where you can tour the stunning interior of the 1930’s Mediterranean-style estate. You can also explore the 3/4 mile longleaf pine/turkey oak habitat Pine Ridge Nature Trail or the 1.5-mile endangered ecosystem on the Preserve Trail.
To the delight of Bok Tower Gardens fans, the park is currently expanding to add more to its already impressive grounds. Coming in September 2016 you’ll be surprised to find a new Outdoor Kitchen, Edible Garden, Wild Garden, bog, and boardwalk. Open 365 days a year from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., a visit to Bok Tower Gardens is $18 for adults and $8 for children.