Bok Tower Gardens is a National Historic Landmark that is south of Orlando, Florida, in the town of Lake Wales. We had that opportunity to visit this amazing place just a few days ago and it totally captured our hearts.
Edward W. Bok created 50 acres of gardens as a gift to the American people and it was dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge on February 1, 1929. Frederick Law Olmstead Jr. was the designer for the project that would be the home to palms, oak trees, magnolias, azaleas and many more beautiful plants and trees. Multiple ponds are on the property and over 126 species of birds can be seen all year long.
Visitor Center & Museum:
In the Visitor Center, you can catch a short film that gives so much information on the history of Bok Tower Gardens. The museum is filled with interesting displays and information as well. It is a gorgeous Visitor Center.
The Blue Palmetto Cafe:
Wonderful little cafe to grab a drink and lunch. Super nice! We didn’t have a chance to try anything, but plan to the next time that we visit.
We noticed some picnic areas and grills near the parking lot that would be great for you and your family.
Tower & Garden Gift Shop:
Cute shop that offers items to pick up that will remind you of your visit to Bok Tower Gardens.
Enjoying the garden paths:
We had a really fun time meandering through the paths filled with beautiful trees, flowers and ponds. I also loved that there were so many benches available to take a moment and reflect on the beauty of the area. We didn’t have a chance to see everything because of rain, but we are so looking forward to going back.
The Singing Tower:
This tower is simply magnificent! With a height of 205 feet and neo-Gothic and art deco in style, the Tower houses a 60 bell carillon. If you are like me, I wasn’t sure what a carillon was. I read that it is a musical instrument that is typically housed in the bell tower of a church or municipal building. The
instrument consists of at least 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped bells. These are played to produce a melody. The Singing Tower is one of the world’s finest. You cannot tour inside, just view its exterior. We did that and listened to the lovely music, as there are 2 concerts daily that last about a half an hour. Wonderful!
This estate was originally owned by Charles Austin Buck and it was his winter residence from 1932 until his death in 1945. Mr. Buck purchased 7.59 acres in February 1930 and planned his home after he planned his gardens. When the 12,900 Mediterranean style home and property came up for sale in 1970, Bok Tower Gardens purchased it. It is a wonderful addition to Bok Tower Gardens, and it has its own beautiful gardens as well. In the mansion that consists of 20 rooms, you will find molded and carved cypress wood doors, Cuban tiles, arched ceilings and pretty decor. We thoroughly enjoyed our tour from the wonderful women that volunteer. It was really neat to learn about its history and to view the beautiful rooms in the home. You will need to purchase a separate ticket for this, but I would say it is really worth it.
When we arrived we found that there is some construction going on, and we were filled in on the expansion that began last October. There will be a new outdoor kitchen and edible garden, children’s garden and much more. The construction did not deter us from enjoying our time in the gardens. We look forward to seeing the completed projects.
Bok Tower Gardens is open 365 days from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., and it is absolutely a place that I recommend to visit! You will probably find yourself – like me – wanting to return more than once.
Take a peek at photos that I took while visiting. Click on images to enlarge:
Disclosure: We received complimentary tickets for this experience. All opinions are our own.