|Address:||1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales, FL 33853, USA|
|Working:||8AM–5PM 8AM–5PM 8AM–5PM 8AM–5PM 8AM–5PM 8AM–5PM 8AM–5PM|
This is one stop you must make if you live in Florida or if you are simply visiting. It is a great place to bring kids but it is also highly accessible to those with physical disabilities. Additionally, if you or a loved one has a disability which makes it very hard to be around crowds, tight spaces, and loud things, you will find respite here. It is honestly one of the best things I have ever been to in this state. So much thought was put into the grounds that it surprised me at every turn. The main attraction of the place is the Bok Tower. This is a giant bell tower called a carillon which you can learn more about inside the exhibits of the Visitor Center. This is a truly unique piece of American history and a feat of architecture and design. Kiddos can feed koi fish with a quarter or run among the tress while you enjoy concerts from the tower at 1 PM or 3 PM. Outside of this though, there are so many things to behold! Rambling garden trails that are well kept, complete with rain shelters and benches, curve around most of the property. The towering old oaks make this enjoyable even in the Central Florida summers. Keep an eye out for monuments and statuary donated to the property. The stories behind them are more interesting than the unique structures themselves. The trails dont just meander around endlessly though! You can enjoy a breathtaking lookout over the orange groves of polk county. The Bok Tower was built on Iron Mountain- the highest point on the Florida Peninsula. Its a treat being this high up after living around such flat land and its especially wonderful when afternoon showers can be tracked across the sky from your bench. There is also a wonderful little hut that has a one-way mirror to see onto a pond. This is well built and can provide shelter in the rain and from most bugs as you sit quietly and watch the ponds wildlife without them seeing you. Dont miss the outdoor kitchen that has a living food garden. Beyond that is a childrens area that I could write a whole review about. So much thought was put into this wonderful secret garden. There are water features where you can get wet, hammocks, misters, musical instruments, climbing logs, make-believe houses, two stages to put on your very own show, and even a fairy garden. Kids can just run all over and let there imaginations soar. Or, if youre like me, an adult can enjoy the heck out of this as well. If youre hungry, there is a great little cafe that seems to be popular, or you can bring your own food and sit in the covered courtyard. There are water fountains and bathrooms. Also, check out the gift shop with its very own plant shop out back.
Bok Tower Garden has a way of transporting you into another time and place. The green grass envelops you as you walk up the slightly steep incline through lush gardens to grand tower itself. Every hour an organist plays live through the tower and out into the hillside serenading the entire area. Its hauntingly beautiful. Please take the time to learn and read the history of this landmark. Lay in the lawn and feel the energy here. The CAFE is a DO NOT MISS. The chef makes incredibly tasty and fresh food and its a fair price. They carry craft beers, some local and ORGANIC. The shop sells fresh local honey and plants to start your own home oasis. If the incline sounds a little difficult for you to manage dont fret! There are adult sized 3 wheel chairs to assist and baby carriages to BORROW for at no additional charge. The park also hosts special events throughout the year including camping on ground, stargazing, and garden activities. I have visited as a child and as an adult and each time I appreciate the magic even more.
Bok Gardens and the "Singing Tower" were Edward Boks gift to us all. It is a peaceful sanctuary from all the "noise" to be found in Central Florida. It is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar upgrade which includes a childrens garden, a new outdoor cooking kitchen we were there will be cooking demonstions, updating the original landscape design of Frederick Olmsted who designed other famous gardens. They also host concerts, our favorite is the fall concert under the stars with The Orlando Symphony. You take your own chairs or blanket, food and beverage and listen to an evening of music. Go for the day, takes the family, food and a black ket for a picnic on the lawn around the tower. Or have lunch in their restaurant which is quite good. Be sure to try the ice cream. We enjoy the theme parks, but there the almighty dollar is the rule, the food is expensive and mostly greasy. Bok is reasonably priced for a pleasant day with friends and family. Enjoy!
Yes parking was a mess... we have gone every year and this was the first bad experience. We did dget in thankfully but right after passing the gate, we saw a grandmother, mom and three little kids walksing. We picked them up and took them in and hope they got back to their car afterwards. They said they had just moved to Lakeland and this was their first time at Boktoberfest. They parked at the church after being turned away at the gate and since there were no shuttles, they decided to walk. They had no idea how far the walk would be... coming out there were walkers the ENTIRE length of the drive in. Old people, a lady with a walker (God bless her!) people with strollers, carrying babies, coolers. My friend is a risk manager and she was freaking out! Very concerned about the safety of these walkers weaving on and off the road. There has got to be a better way to deal with the huge crowds who come to Boktoberfest!
It is truly a beautiful garden! There are places to picnic and Floridas own version of rolling hills are in sight. My wife and I didnt do any of the hiking trails because it was too hot (June). The visitor center has a nice video and small museum. The tower is impressive with a spectacular bronze door. We did the house tour which was nice. You can walk around the outside of the house without a ticket if you dont care to see the inside. Its a self guided tour but there are volunteers throughout who provide some commentary. Overall Bok Tower and Gardens is worth the cost of entrance. Its a ways south of Orlando (over an hour drive) but one of the top gardens Ive seen. You can easily spend 4-6 hours here. Last item is I dont recommend this trip in the summer. There is some shade but Florida heat is too much and you wont get to take advantage of all that there is to do.
We visited this little oasis for the 2nd time last week while we were holidaying in Florida. It was just an easy 40 minute drive from our villa and we found the signage very easy to follow. The gardens are lovely to walk around and the tour of the house is well worth taking. Imagine having that much money to build a house that was only used 7 or 8 weeks a year! The facilities are kept immaculately and its also well worth sitting down by the bell tower itself to listen to the chimes. What really makes this though is the staff. Without exception they were superb and you really do get the impression that they care about the estate and what they do do show it off to visitors. Like someones else says, its not your usual Orlando attraction but that only makes it more important that the place is preserved and that the current standards are maintained.