Gardens & Parks
A Symphony of Blossoms & Beauty
It’s easy to feel like you have to go full-throttle to have a meaningful experience in a new city, but sometimes the best memories are made when you take the time to stop and smell the roses.
Central Florida’s three gorgeous gardens provide perfect examples of our region’s natural beauty, and each is located steps from locally owned restaurants. We know good food is an important aspect of any excursion.
Hollis Garden – Musical and Magnificent
This gorgeous garden boasts more than 10,000 flowers, beautiful
fountains, a picturesque view of Lake Mirror, and is only a short walk from downtown Lakeland. It’s no
wonder Trip Advisor rates
Hollis Garden as the second best place to spend the
day in Lakeland. We concur – the garden is delightful.
The Sound of Music
Whether you have 45-minutes or 3-hours, are eight or 80, you won’t regret time spent in Hollis Garden. Music actually plays as you drift through the rose garden, butterfly trail, and down a grand staircase of neoclassical design. When you find yourself gazing over lovely Lake Mirror, you’ll be grateful you thought to bring your camera.
If you don’t want the experience to end, you can sign up for a reasonably priced historic tour of the garden and lake.
Bok Tower Gardens – Home of a Sea of Blooms and… a Singing Tower
Think 157-acres of blooms, canopies of oaks and willows, and a spectacular singing tower situated on one of peninsular Florida’s highest points. Bok Tower Gardens is an experience. Paths wind through gardens of blooms and foliage that attract 126-bird varieties, butterflies, and nature-lovers. But as spectacular as the gardens are, nothing tops looking up at the 205-foot neo-Gothic and art deco Singing Tower, which contains one of the world’s finest 60-bell carillons.
- Take a guided tour. As lovely as the gardens and tower are to look at, the story of how they came to be is something you must hear.
- Have lunch at Bok Tower’s Blue Palmetto Café. If you want to try our favorite meal, order the Tropical Salad (mixed greens, all natural turkey, apples, sweetened pecans, mandarin oranges, strawberry, Gorgonzola cheese and Honey Lime dressing).
- Stick around after lunch because at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m., the tower’s carillon “sings.”
- Visit the Pinewood Estate and the Window by the Pond nature observatory. They are cool things to see.
- For goodness sake, don’t forget your camera!
Cypress Gardens – Florida’s First Theme Park
Known as "Florida's First Theme Park," Cypress Gardens opened its gates in 1936 and featured world renowned botanical gardens, water ski shows, and Southern Belles. Today the grounds of Cypress Gardens are home to Florida's newest – and coolest - theme park, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort. The developers took great care to preserve the integrity of Cypress Gardens, keeping the great Banyan tree that was planted in 1939, and even going so far as to retain the garden's main attraction: daily water ski shows, which now feature swashbuckling LEGO pirates. Admission to the historical gardens is included with LEGOLAND® admission – yay!