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Bok Tower Gardens, A National Historic Landmark


The family and I took a break from Walt Disney World and other Orlando theme parks last weekend and took a day trip down to Lake Wales, Florida.  Located approximately an hour south of Magic Kingdom, Lake Wales is home to the National Historic Landmark Bok Tower Gardens.  Bok Tower Gardens is a 250 acre botanical garden and bird sanctuary and is home to the Pinewood Estate and Singing Tower.

During our visit we first made our way to the Pinewood Estate for it’s holiday home tour.  Pinewood Estate is a 20 room Mediterranean mansion and is housed on 8 acres of the garden property.  The mansion was built from 1930-1932 and has been restored to it’s 1930 appearance.  During the holidays, Pinewood Estate has many of it’s rooms decorate by different sponsored designers and the halls and stairways are decorated by local vounteers who have handcrafted many of the decorations.  This years Holiday Home Tour theme was “Celebrating Traditions”.  Room designers selected decor ranging from old, authentic ornaments to historic themes about the homes original owners, to various holiday traditions celebrated by their own families.  The rooms of in this 1930’s mansion were elegant and full of holiday traditions.  To make things interesting, at the end of the tour we were asked to make which room was our favorite and place into a voting bin.  The winning designed would be provided a special dinner for 8 in the mansions dining room.

After visiting Pinewood Estates, we made our way back out into the gardens.  The moss covered trees made a beautiful backdrop for the many budding roses, Camellia and other flowers.  One of the most beautiful floral arrangements were the sphere shaped poinsettias hanging amongst the moss covered trees.

We continued walking through the gardens and made our way to the 205 foot tall centerpiece, the Singing Tower.  The tower is built on one of the highest points of elevation in the gardens, just south of a reflection pool where it reflects the towers full image.  The towers construction began in 1927 and is designed in a Gothic Revival and Art Deco style  At it’s completion the tower was dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge in 1929.  So what makes this tower sing?  The Singing Tower is home to a 60 bell carillon.  Bok Tower Gardens sponsors live Carillon concerts twice a day, 1pm and 3pm.  We were fortunate enough to hear Carillonneur Geert D’hollander perform.  It was amazing.  The sound of the carillon was heard through the entire garden and there was a special section with benches where you could watch the carillonneur play on a remote television.

Near the end of our day, I decided to take advantage of the beautiful landscape and take pictures of the family.  There were so many beautiful backdrops for pictures that it was almost overwhelming.

We had a great day as the family at Bok Tower Gardens and I highly recommend this road trip to locals and visitors alike.  Below you will find the hours and price for admission, along with a couple of You Tube videos that I posted of the Carillon.

Prices

Bok Tower Gardens is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and is supported by tax-exempt gifts and contributions. All revenue and Membership support continues Edward W. Bok’s dream of helping to preserve and sustain this gift of beauty for future generations.

Year-long Admission

Annual Membership Starting at $45 Purchasing an annual membership to Bok Tower Gardens allows you general admission for 365 days from the date of purchase.

One-day Admission

Christmas Combo Admission Adults $20 – Children (5-12) $9 This ticket option includes General Admission and access to a self-guided tour of the Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate.

General Admission Adults $12 – Children (5-12) $3 This ticket option includes admission to the Gardens, Pine Ridge Nature Trail, Preserve Trail and the Visitor Center complex.

Bok Tower Gardens has reciprocal benefit partnerships with various museums and cultural institutions throughout Florida and the American Horticultural Society. If you are a member of these participating organizations check your membership benefits to see what discount is available to you. These discounts can only be applied at the entrance gate upon arrival.

Admission tickets are valid for one day and do not include admission to specially ticketed events. Parking at the Gardens is always free.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/FE_OC9w1dvQ]

[youtube=http://youtu.be/tr5sj0Rjttw]

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