Arts & Culture
Bok Tower Gardens
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 landmarks in Central Florida.
History of the Gift
This breathtaking gem has been enchanting visitors from all around the globe for over 80 years because founder Edward W. Bok did not settle for anything less than amazing when he created this masterpiece. Bok immigrated when he was only six years old from Den Helder, Netherlands to the great America.
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 during the frigid winter months, and during this time, he fell in love with the sunsets, birds, and hills of quiet Lake Wales.
With a vision of creating a beautiful place to inspire others and touch hearts, 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.
Stop and Smell The Flowers
What makes The Gardens so unique is its ability to produce a different experience for each guest on every visit. 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.
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. The Pinewood Estate 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, always serving up delicious farm-fresh food.
For even more things to do, drop by the Visitor’s Center to learn about the area’s diverse history, and pick up maps of the gardens including the Pine Ridge Nature Trail and Preserve Trail. As you exit, you can choose from rare plants and goodies in the popular gift shop!
Deck the Gardens
There is never a dull moment in The Gardens, and each Christmas season is proof. Each year, a new theme is set for the Christmas celebration at Bok Tower Gardens, making it the perfect family tradition for Holiday lovers and nature fans alike. Decorations, classical Christmas music, and poinsettia displays upstage the area during this time of the year. Bok Tower Gardens offers a chorale concert, decorating workshops, a holiday happy hour, and a night tour of the Estate (including cookies and hot chocolate-yum!).
The highlight of the season is the Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate. Volunteers and sponsored designers take time to decorate the mansion to ensure a touching holiday experience for all. What a pleasant alternative to the hectic holiday season!
Events You Won’t Want to Miss
February and March mean the ever-anticipated Peak Bloom at Bok Tower Gardens is back in action! Azaleas, irises, camellias and many other colorful flowering plants are presented in a colorful parade down the serene walking paths. Guests are encouraged to take plenty of photographs to preserve their precious memories.
Boktoberfest Plant Sale & Festival
Every October, unique plants and craft beer is celebrated in unison. Plants from all over Florida combine to fill the gardens with even MORE natural beauty than it already has during Boktoberfest Plant Sale & Festival. Hard-to-find shrubs, ferns, palms, tropical fruits, trees, orchids, etc. are available for pleasure or for purchase during this outdoor two-day event. You can even touch-up your gardening skills with educational workshops and speeches by garden experts. A Biergarten with craft and seasonal beers will be on the property as well, and if you’re looking to pair that beer with some German food, you’re in luck. Choose from authentic German food vendors as live German music fills the air
Summer Concert Series
Chill out in the summertime with great music and savory food. In summer, Bok Tower Gardens hosts a concert series of live music inside the visitor’s center. You may add dinner to your concert ticket and enjoy the fresh food of the Blue Palmetto Café. But be warned, tickets sell out quickly due to the popularity of this impressive musical event.