Bok Tower Gardens: A Peaceful Florida Retreat
Need an escape from the bustle and crowds of the Florida Theme Parks? I have the perfect place for you to visit. Bok Tower Gardens is nestled among the orange orchards of Central Florida in Lake Wales. It provides a peaceful escape for all ages with breathtaking garden landscapes, the Singing Tower with daily bell concerts, children’s garden, koi pond, nature trails and a historical mansion.
Fun: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (out of 5)
Difficulty: VERY EASY Easy Moderate Hard Very Hard
Distance: 0.1 to 2 miles, depending on where you go in the Gardens
Elevation gain: Small rolling hills and one larger hill to walk up to get to the tower.
Terrain: Mostly paved paths, grassy areas, sidewalk
Time: 1 to 3 hours
When to go: Anytime of the year, but go early in the day during the summer months.
THINGS TO BRING
Good walking shoes
Garden admission includes everything but the Pinewood Estate tour.
$5 children 5 to 12 years old
Free for children under 5
Pinewood Estate Tour, plus Garden Admission:
$10 children 5 to 12 years old
Free for children under 5
Bok Tower Gardens was one of our Florida favorites while we lived there. We had an annual pass to Bok Tower Gardens at the same time as a Legoland annual pass. Our kids would frequently choose Bok Tower Gardens over Legoland. I think it is because the world feels different here.
There isn’t a rush to the next line or a ton of crowds but a peace, beauty and a slowed pace that my kids bloomed in. The goal of Edward Bok, the creator of Bok Tower Gardens was to create “a spot of beauty second to none in the country” where tranquility and peace were present.
The center piece of Bok Tower Gardens is Bok Tower itself. We often joke that this tower looks like one of the towers in Lord of the Rings. It is 205 feet tall and is home to a carillon that consists of a 60 bell instrument that is played via feet on a large pedal keyboard.
You will hear bells ring at each hour and half hour and 30 minute concerts are played at 1 and 3 daily. There is a sitting area near the tower where a TV is set up to watch the performer actually play the instrument in the tower. The large brass door depicts the book of Genesis.
A mote surrounds the tower and contains a koi pond. You can buy fish food on the spot for quarter to feed these large fish. There is a reflection pond that holds the largest lilly pad I have ever seen. On one occasion we saw a fish chase a frog across the water and eat it whole.
There are gorgeous views near the tower of the surrounding orange orchards below. We often let the children just run in this shady grassy area and race from tree to tree. We had a special bench that we would sit on each visit.
The Gardens & Walking Paths
There are various gardens and walking paths to explore within Bok Tower displaying the Sub Tropical flora and fauna of Florida.
My kid’s favorite part of Bok Tower Gardens was the Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden. This area of the Garden and is specifically designed for kids to explore and imagine and I compare it to an outdoor children’s museum.
There is a fairy garden, a stage with dress ups, objects to climb on and jump from, xylophones to play, a small splash pad, hammocks and so much more. We could spend a couple hours just in this one area of the gardens.
Other experiences at Bok Tower Gardens include the visitor’s center, the endangered plant garden exploring Pine Ridge Trail and visiting the Pinewood Estates 1930 mansion.
PROS & CONS
Fun for all ages
Beautiful landscape, gardens and architecture
Daily bell concerts
Close to other Florida attractions
Can get crowded if visiting on a local field trip day --- One such day is usually Earth Day.
Bok Tower Gardens is located at 1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales, FL 33853 Lake Wales Florida. This is just 50 minutes south of Disney World.
OTHER NEARBY ADVENTURES
Legoland (25 minutes)
Circle B Bar Nature Reserve (40 minutes)
Disney World (50 minutes)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi, I'm Corrine! I'm an outdoor enthusiast, mother of four, wife, nurse and runner. I believe God gave us this beautiful earth to explore, enjoy and protect.
My goal is to inspire you to get outside and create your own amazing memories as a family. Life is precious and there are too many adventures to be had to spend life on the couch or in front of a screen.
Join me and my family for "Adventures off the couch!" Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest @outdoorfamfun.