Since its opening in 1929, Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida has catered about 23 million visitors from various walks of life. Its historic landscape gardens, spectacular 1930s Mediterranean-style mansion, and magnificent Singing Tower carillon have inspired a lot of artists, photographers, outdoor enthusiasts, nature-lovers, and other kinds of tourists.
The Budding of Bok Tower Gardens
Bok Tower Gardens was a brainchild of the great Edward W. Bok. He was an immigrant from the Netherlands who became a successful publisher, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, humanitarian and an advocate of world peace and environment. Mr. Bok was inspired by the peacefulness and beauty brought by the Iron Mountain during his winter months in the Mountain Lake community near Florida’s Lake Wales Ridge. This inspiration led him to create “a place that would touch the soul with its beauty and quiet.” A vast land was purchased and transformed into a beautifully landscaped garden with a magnificent Singing Tower that houses a 60-bell carillon. This was opened in February 1, 1929 as the Mountain Lake Sanctuary and Singing Tower.
The Magnificent Colors of the Gardens
Bok Tower Gardens takes pride on the masterpieces of the great landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. The gardens are specially designed to reflect romance, tranquility, and beauty. The dazzling colors of azaleas, camellias and magnolias, coupled with the lush green hues of ferns, palms, oaks, and pines provide a breathtaking view that transforms every season. The Gardens provide not only beauty but also a home for wildlife species. It houses 126 different species of birds, as well as endangered fauna such as the gopher tortoise and eastern indigo snake.
Various Ways to Enjoy Bok Tower Gardens
This marvelous place offers various ways to enjoy it. For photographers, capture the beauty of nature and be overwhelmed with the many fantastic subjects that the garden offers. Take exceptional photos at the Reflection Pool, Window by the Pond, and Exedra overlook at the sunset. You can also make it as a venue for pre-nuptial photo shoots, wedding, birthdays, reunions, and other portrait photograph activities. If you are an architect, prepare to be mesmerized with the great design of the Singing Tower, and the artistic styles of the landscaped gardens. The outdoor enthusiasts and nature-lovers can find great pleasure in bird-watching, hiking, and geoaching. For families, the Garden Adventure Guide is a perfect way to explore and learn about the cultural and natural history of the place. Kids are also provided with backpacks (to be returned before 5pm) that are filled with exploration materials such as binoculars, bubbles, books on plants and wildlife, interesting facts about Bok Tower gardens, compass, and other tools to complete their wildlife adventure.
Bok Tower Gardens is open all days of the year from 8am to 6pm. A one-day general admission which is inclusive of entrances to the Gardens, Pine Ridge Nature Trail, Preserve trail and the Visitor Center complex costs $12 for adults and $3 for children while a one-day combo admission inclusive of a general admission and access to a self-guided tour costs $18 for adults and $8 for children.