Introduction to Bok Tower Gardens

Bok Tower Gardens is a 250-acre (100 ha) National Historic Landmark located atop Iron Mountain near Lake Wales, Florida. The gardens were created by Edward W. Bok, a Dutch-American publisher and philanthropist, as a place of beauty and inspiration.

A Brief History

Bok Tower Gardens was founded in 1921 by Edward W. Bok, who envisioned it as a place where people could come to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. The gardens were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., the son of the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The Singing Tower was built in 1927-1929 and is the tallest carillon in Florida.

Bok Tower Gardens is a National Historic Landmark. The 205-foot (62 m) Singing Tower was built upon one of the highest points of peninsular Florida, estimated to be 295 feet (90 m) above sea level, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The national significance of the gardens and its tower come from their associations with Edward W. Bok and his team of designers. The adjacent Pinewood Estate is separately listed on the National Register as El Retiro. (Taken from Wikipedia where you can learn more.)

The Beauty of the Gardens

The gardens are a horticultural masterpiece. Sprawling over 250 acres, they’re meticulously crafted with winding pathways, trickling streams, and vibrant bursts of flora. The gardens are home to a variety of plants, including orchids, palms, and ferns. The gardens are also a bird sanctuary, with over 200 species of birds recorded.

Visitor Activities

Bok Tower Gardens offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy, including:

  • Visiting the Singing Tower
  • Hiking the nature trails
  • Enjoying the gardens
  • Attending a carillon concert
  • Taking a guided tour
  • Picnicking

The Majestic Singing Tower

Dominating the landscape, the Singing Tower is an iconic 205-foot tall Gothic and Art Deco carillon tower. The tower is made of coquina stone and pink and gray marble. It is topped with a 60-bell carillon, which is played daily at 12:00 noon and 2:00 p.m., and on weekends at 4:00 p.m.

See what's inside the Tower! Select the part of the tower you'd like to know more about. A Carillon is an instrument of at least 23 tuned bells in chromatic series. Cast from bronze, which is composed mainly of copper and tin, and then specially tuned. The bells are “hung dead” meaning that the bells do not swing, only the clappers move. The instrument is fully mechanical (there are no electronics). The carillon art began in the low countries of Belgium and the Netherlands in the 17th century. Today, these countries still have the highest concentrations of carillons.

Hiking the nature trails

Bok Tower Gardens has several nature trails that wind through the gardens. These trails offer a variety of scenery, from lush forests to wildflower meadows. Visitors can also see a variety of wildlife, including deer, foxes, and rabbits.

Pine Ridge Nature Trail at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales is a longleaf pine/turkey oak habitat. The 1/4 mile walking trail takes you through a unique and quickly disappearing habitat that once covered millions of acres of the Southeastern United States. It is right next to Bok Tower and offers an opportunity for more trails and hiking opportunities.

Enjoying the gardens

The gardens at Bok Tower are a horticultural masterpiece. They are home to a variety of plants, including orchids, palms, and ferns. The gardens are also a bird sanctuary, with over 200 species of birds recorded. Visitors can relax and enjoy the beauty of the gardens at their own pace.

Attending a carillon concert

The carillon concerts at Bok Tower are a popular event. The concerts feature a variety of music, from classical to jazz. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful music while taking in the stunning views of the gardens. What is a Carillon?

Taking a guided tour

Bok Tower Gardens offers guided tours that provide visitors with more information about the gardens and the Singing Tower. The tours are led by knowledgeable guides who can answer questions and share interesting facts.

The iconic 205-foot Singing Tower, winding paths lined with flowers and lush greenery, secret hideaways, Mediterranean estate, and the cute on-site café combine to make Bok Tower Gardens the perfect destination for a date day trip. This is a photo of that tower amidst the florals and the lake.


Bok Tower Gardens has a designated picnic area where visitors can enjoy a meal outdoors. The picnic area has tables, grills, and a playground.

Picnic on the lawn at bok tower gardens with flannel blanket and a basket next to wine cheese and assorted fruits.
Bring on the flannel picnics and less humidity. Even though it’s still 80-degrees outside, happy first day of fall! This is a picnic of meats and cheeses out on the lawn

Tips for Visiting

The best time to visit Bok Tower Gardens is in spring, when the flowers are in bloom. The gardens are also open year-round, so you can enjoy them no matter what the weather.


The gardens are wheelchair-friendly and have plenty of parking. There is also a café on site where you can get food and drinks.


Bok Tower Gardens is a beautiful and serene place to visit. It is a great place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you are a nature lover, a history buff, or simply looking for a place to relax, Bok Tower Gardens is sure to please.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. How much is the entry fee to Bok Tower Gardens?
    The prices may vary, so it’s advisable to check their official website for the most updated rates.
  2. Can I conduct a photoshoot within the gardens?
    Yes, but there might be certain guidelines and fees associated. It’s best to contact the management ahead of your visit.
  3. Is there a dining facility within the gardens?
    Absolutely! There’s a café that offers a range of delectable treats.
  4. Are there any age restrictions for visitors?
    No, Bok Tower Gardens is a family-friendly attraction suitable for all age groups.
  5. How long should I allocate for a comprehensive visit?
    Generally, 3-4 hours should suffice, but if you’re keen on attending events or taking guided tours, allocate a full day.
  6. What are the hours of operation?
    Bok Tower Gardens is open every day of the year from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (except for Christmas day when the Gardens open at 12 p.m.) with the last admission at 5:00 p.m.
  7. Is there a parking fee?
    Yes, there is a $5 parking fee for cars and motorcycles. There is no charge for bicycles or pedestrians.
  8. What are the most popular activities?
    The most popular activities at Bok Tower Gardens are visiting the Singing Tower, hiking the nature trails, enjoying the gardens, attending a carillon concert, taking a guided tour, and picnicking.
  9. What are the best places to take photos?
    The best photo spots are at The Singing Tower, The Gardens, The Lake, The Observation Tower, and The Hammock.
  10. Are there any special events or festivals happening soon?
    Yes, there are festivals that happen throughout the year. Here are a few from this past year to give you an idea of different activities that are put on throughout the year:
    • Spring Plant Sale (March 11-12)
    • Easter Egg Hunt (April 16)
    • Mother’s Day Tea (May 7)
    • Summer Concert Series (June-August)
    • Fall Festival (October 28-29)

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