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Chill Out at Bok Tower Gardens

Summer 2009

Finding cool stuff to do this summer is no sweat at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales. Even though the 80-year-old National Historic Landmark is one of America’s finest gardens, it’s still one of Florida’s best kept secrets.

Located off the beaten track not far from Orlando in Central Florida’s rolling hills of citrus, you’ll discover the real Florida when you take a walk on the wild side to see plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.

Nearly 700 acres of conservation lands and gardens surround the 205-foot Singing Tower carillon, a pink and gray marble art deco architectural wonder donated in 1929 as a gift from Edward Bok, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, humanitarian and world peace advocate.

“Bok rocks,” exclaims a visitor who saw an eagle and a bobcat while looking for one of two geocache treasure chests hidden on the Pine Ridge Nature Preserve Trail. The haven for wildlife is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail and a great escape from daily stress. All ages enjoy visiting Window by the Pond and feeding the koi in the Singing Tower moat.

Bring a picnic or have a cookout using one of the grills located in the family picnic area where children can climb a willow hut, vine covered arbor tunnel and giant sandbox. Check out free “Discovery Backpacks” filled with blankets, books and activities. Explore secret gardens and hunt for ten picture rubbing posts with tiles of animals kids can draw.

In addition to daily carillon concerts, enjoy all kinds of music each month during the “Live at the Gardens Summer Music Series” along with dinner, beer and wine at the Blue Palmetto Café.

Open daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.