Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales, FL

Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you. – Edward Bok

Eloquently spoken or written words from Edward Bok. The Bok Tower Gardens are a great depiction of his words as this lush, beautifully crafted garden lies across 50 acres of land located at the highest point in Florida. Bok wanted to gift the American people a place that was both enchanting and quiet. Edward Bok did just that in 1929 and still holds true today.

A small daytime trip from Tampa on a Saturday morning, I drove down to Lake Wales to be engulfed in this awe inspiring landscape. After a 1.5 hour drive, an admission ticket of $14/adult allowed me to enter to start my journey. I opted out of the tour of the interior of the Pinewood Estates, which was an additional $6, making it $20/adult ticket.

A whimsical road after passing through the admissions booth will lead you to the Visitor’s Center. Here, I became oriented with the history of the gardens and glimpse into the life of Edward Bok. Before venturing through the gardens, I stopped at the Blue Palmetto Cafe to energize myself with a bite to eat. This was a quaint cafe with several vegetarian options. I wholeheartedly recommend the vegetable wrap. The vegetables were so fresh as if they were picked straight from a garden.

After my delicious meal, I started my trek down the paved road making my first stop at the 205 ft Singing Tower. Sitting in front of the golden door is a koi pond. Making your way around the tower is an open space overlooking a natural, green shrubbery and forest space.

From here, I ventured over to the Pinewood Estates and Gardens where ringing a doorbell will grant you entry to view a Mediterranean style home from the 1930’s. I did not purchase an additional ticket for this tour, but the gardens surrounding the home were enough for me.

Next stop was the Window by the Pond, a small observatory into the Florida bog ecosystem. Unfortunately, I was not able to catch any wildlife activity during the few minutes I spent here, but there were a few species of birds that perched on the bird feeder located right outside the observatory. Exiting the observatory, I walked across the Wetland Boardwalk before stumbling upon the Hammock Hollow Garden and then back to the Visitor’s Center.

I spent a few hours here taking in the beauty of the gardens. There were several species of plant and animal life to be seen. I am glad I was able to experience this gem.

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