Enjoy unparalleled opportunities for artistic, cultural, personal and spiritual enrichment when you tour the lush landscapes of the Olmsted gardens and hear the music of the Singing Tower carillon.
Bok Tower Gardens is truly a place of historic beauty and serenity. Among the rolling hills of citrus in Lake Wales, Bok Tower Gardens continues to be one of the most remarkable and awe-inspiring attractions in Central Florida.
A Gift from Edward W. Bok
This breathtaking gem has been enchanting those enjoying a Central Florida vacation for over 80 years because founder Edward W. Bok did not settle for anything less than amazing when he created this masterpiece. Bok immigrated to the United States when he was only six years old from Den Helder, Netherlands.
After striving to lead a successful life, Bok became a Pulitzer-Prize winning author along with completing many other noteworthy achievements. He retreated from Pennsylvania to Lake Wales, Florida during the frigid winter months, and during this time, he fell in love with the sunsets, birds, and hills of this area.
With a vision of creating a beautiful place to inspire others and touch hearts, Edward Bok worked alongside landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. to produce a Singing Tower, the gardens, reflection pool and more. In 1929, he presented these gifts to America as a way of expressing his gratitude for the many opportunities this country had presented him.
What makes The Gardens so unique is its ability to produce a different experience for people each time they visit Central Florida. No two days at Bok Tower Gardens are the same due to the ever-changing environment and the seasonal blooms for each special plant. From Giant Victoria Water Lilies spreading up to eight feet in diameter, to the stunning Japanese stone peace lantern, Bok Tower Gardens really knows how to steal the show in Central Florida.
Singing Tower Carillon
One of the most exceptional attributes to Bok Tower Gardens can be found right at its core – a 60-bell, 205-foot Singing Tower Carillon. This majestic Carillon plays 30-minute bell concerts each day at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. – a brief, but fulfilling bit of your visit that would be a shame to miss.
Insider Tip: Bring some quarters; you’ll want to feed koi fish in the pond around the tower.
El Retiro Estate & Cafe
El Retiro is open daily for self-guided tours. This 20-room Mediterranean-style mansion is sure to please. And once hunger strikes, the Blue Palmetto Café is only steps away.
The Blue Palmetto Café, located next to the Visitor Center, features delicious salads, soups, sandwiches and wraps, fruit and specialty desserts as well as beer and wines in an indoor or outdoor setting. The cafe is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden
Featuring almost three acres of nature play, Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden teaches conservation and the vital connection between animals, plants, and people. There is beautiful art, cooling water features, vibrant plantings, a boardwalk, a stage for little performers, and music area. Kids have things to climb on, under and through, as well as places to build, dig and create.
Outdoor Kitchen & Edible Garden
Located adjacent to the Visitors Center, this new area offers a modern design in harmony with the landscape and allows guests to enjoy a celebration of fresh food and culinary programming. The Kitchen is 6,400 square feet and features more than 15 feet of space for chef demonstrations.
The Edible Garden surrounds the Outdoor Kitchen and features a fruit orchard, grape arbors, and raised beds for herbs and vegetables. This area is a hub of horticultural and culinary activity and will showcase lifestyle gardening and the culinary arts.
Blue Palmetto Café
The Blue Palmetto Cafe situated at the Visitor Center serves up a delicious selection of snacks, soups, sandwiches and specially curated wines.