Exploring the Breathtaking Bok Tower Gardens – Lake Wales, Florida

As many of us travel to central Florida for our vacations, we make plans in advance regarding which theme parks we will be visiting, how best to deal with the crowds, how many attractions can we squeeze in during the time allowed. We spend long days from the wee hours of the morning to the twilight hours at night walking around these parks, often not all too different from the rat race we left behind for this vacation. Sometimes we all need to just take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy some of the natural beauty in our world too.
One such hidden gem where we can do this is the Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales,Florida. Just a 50 minute drive south of Orlando, the Bok Tower Gardens was created in 1929 by Mr. Edward W. Bok. While traveling to his family’s winter retreat in the Lake Wales area for years from their home in Pennsylvania, Mr.Bok became enthralled with the areas natural beauty. Awed by the tranquility of the area, he wanted to create a place that would “touch the soul with its beauty and quiet,” and chose it as the perfect setting for a bird sanctuary. He purchased land to transform into a sweeping landscape of lush gardens featuring a majestic Singing Tower housing a 60-bell carillon. Originally called Mountain Lake Sanctuary and Singing Tower, he presented this extraordinary gift to the American people Feb. 1, 1929 as an enduring token of his appreciation for the opportunities he had been given. You can read more about the history of the gardens, here.

Bok Tower Gardens is open 365 days a year from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.Last admission from the entrance gate is at 5 p.m. The Visitor Center, Blue Palmetto Café and Tower & Garden Gift Shop are open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. with limited hours on holidays.*

To tour Pinewood Estate purchase our Combo Admission Ticket. Adult tickets are $18 and child tickets are $8. Members can purchase individual tickets at the Entrance Gate for $5.

Pinewood Estate will be closed the following dates.
2016: October 22-31, November 1-24.
2017: January 9-29, February 14, April 22
Subject to change.

Summertime Pinewood Estate Operating Hours
Open daily from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. except blackout dates above.
Best time to visit Pinewood Estate is 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Estate busy hours are from 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

The Singing Tower carillon concerts are at 1 & 3 p.m. daily with short selections played on the hour and half-hour. The carillon schedule features live concerts by Geert D’hollandermid-October through mid-May, Thursday to Sunday. Recordings from the Anton Brees Carillon Library collection can be heard during the summer months from mid-May to mid-October. Concerts can be heard throughout the Gardens and there is no additional ticket required. Entrance into the Singing Tower is available to certain membership levels during select events throughout the year. *All hours and schedules are subject to change without notice. The Café and Gift Shop are open noon – 5 p.m. on Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Bok Tower Gardens is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and is supported by tax-exempt gifts and contributions. All revenue and membership support continues Edward W. Bok’s dream of helping to preserve and sustain this gift of beauty for future generations.

Year-long Admission

Annual Memberships start at $45
Purchasing an annual membership to Bok Tower Gardens allows you general admission for 365 days from the date of purchase.

One-day Admission

Combo Admission Adults $18 – Children (5-12) $8
This ticket option includes General Admission and access to a self-guided tour ofPinewood Estate.

General Admission Adults $12 – Children (5-12) $3
This ticket option includes admission to the Gardens, Pine Ridge Nature Trail, Preserve Trail and the Visitor Center complex.

Bok Tower Gardens has reciprocal benefit partnerships with various museums and cultural institutions throughout Florida and the American Horticultural Society. If you are a member of these participating organizations, check your membership benefits to see what discount is available to you. These discounts can only be applied at the entrance gate upon arrival. Admission tickets are valid for one day and do not include admission to specially ticketed events. Parking at the Gardens is always free.

Now we invite you to enjoy this absolutely beautiful 3 part photo essay by Orlando Theme Park News of The Bok Tower Gardens. We have taken the liberty of combining all 3 parts of their essay into one article so you don’t miss any of the stunning photographs.

Exploring the Breathtaking Bok Tower Gardens – Part 1

For the past seven years, Readers of this site have been able to enjoy weekly photo-reports covering all of Orlando’s major theme parks and attractions. While those amazing places are undoubtedly still the focus of our site, there are many other wonderful attractions located around the Central Florida area that may not be as popular but that are equally as impressive and definitely worth visiting.
Today we’ll accompany you inside Bok Tower Gardens, located in Polk County.
Guests can either purchase tickets to the gardens online or at the entrance of the parking lot (parking is free, so the shelter acts as a drive-through ticket booth). This is the actual entrance to the gardens:
ge9b.jpgBeautiful flowers adorn the walkways leading to the Welcome Center:


Plenty of new additions were recently introduced to Bok Tower Gardens:


Going through the entrance arch:


The Welcome Center includes a seating area, and information desk, a theater, and an exhibit:


The exhibit includes interesting details about the park’s founder and the beautiful gardens:


Going back outside:


The Blue Palmetto Cafe’ is the only full-sized restaurant Guests will find at the park:


This inspiring message welcomes Guests to the hub of the gardens:


These gardens are truly amazing. We love trees, so we fell in love with this place very quickly:


The famous tower that serves as the centerpiece of the park is incredibly impressive:



A tribute to Mr. Bok can be found before reaching the tower:


More trees and beautifully-maintained grassy areas surround the tower:


Getting closer:


The tower is located on one of the highest hills in the area!:


Don Korta
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