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“Great day out!”
Review of Bok Tower Gardens

Bok Tower Gardens
Ranked #1 of 34 things to do in Lake Wales
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Explore the landscaped gardens of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and one of Florida’s natural habitats on the Pine Ridge Trail. You can also discover the history of Edward W. Bok and the building of his 205 foot Singing Tower and tour the historic Pinewood Estate mansion to catch a glimpse of the luxurious lifestyle of the 1930s. Enjoy the all new Children's Garden, Edible Garden and Outdoor Kitchen and Wild Garden. Visitor Center includes exhibits on the life of Edward Bok and the Carillon. Enjoy a healthy meal at the Blue Palmetto Cafe and take home a memento from the Tower shop.
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Bob Tower Gardens is about 50 minutes south of the Orlando Theme Parks and is a world away. Beautiful gardens with plenty of walking trails so bring your trainers.A real gem it has a comprehensive visitor centre where you can get maps and timings for daily events. Plenty of parking a cafe/restaurant and gift shop are all located at the entrance.
The Tower itself which stands 205ft high is neo-Gothic and art deco and houses one of the world’s finest carillons. Concerts from the 60-bell carillon are at 1 and 3 p.m.daily.
Also within the gardens is Pinewood Estate, a 20-room Mediterranean-style mansion. Originally named “El Retiro,” meaning “retreat” in Spanish, the Estate was built in the early 1930s for Charles Buck, a Bethlehem Steel vice president. The Estate is open for tours throughout the year to visitors of Bok Tower Gardens and you can buy entrance tickets at the visitor centre for about $6.00 and well worth it. The mansion is staffed by guides that give you an insight into the early days of Florida High Society and is not to be missed.
Plenty to keep the whole family occupied!

Thank jagsUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Erica S, Public Relations Manager at Bok Tower Gardens, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Thank you for visiting and we look forward to your next trip.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

This didn’t come up when I searched for things to do in and around Orlando but was recommended by the tourist office near to where we are staying. Glad they did since we both like National Trust sites in the uk and this offers a similar experience with Florida style.

In the gardens there is a huge and beautiful tower that plays carillon concerts at regular times throughout the day on its 16 bells. The gardens are full of wildlife and flora and we even saw two snakes as we followed the well laid paths.

You can pay extra to visit a house on site which belonged (confusingly to the Bock family - a 1930s steel magnate). Thus has been restored and was enjoyable to walk around.

Tickets in advance for adults were $17 for the house and gardens, or $20 at the gate.

1  Thank AndyY_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Erica S, Public Relations Manager at Bok Tower Gardens, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Pinewood Estate was built by Charles Austin Buck - we have the Boks and Bucks at Bok Tower Gardens - which keeps it interesting for our guests. Thank you for sharing your insight and making the trip to Lake Wales.

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Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

The children loved the garden they had for kids. They have things for them to play on. They loved that lizards were everywhere. We as adults loved the view of the gardens and it was nice. The kids ran around while we enjoyed the peaceful view! You can buy food and drinks while in there.

Thank Melissa P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Erica S, Public Relations Manager at Bok Tower Gardens, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Thank you for visiting.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We've been wanting to visit Bok Gardens since moving to Florida 9 years ago, finally taking the opportunity to walk these lovely pathways and enjoy a beautiful Florida day. Overall this is as lovely as we had expected and we enjoyed our visit.

We arrived a bit later in the day, with about 2.5 hours before closing. This was actually in our favor: the larger crowds were gone, the day cooled off a bit, and we were able to linger in the attached home and roam the gardens almost completely alone. This added to the peaceful setting and our ability to enjoy. This plan was supported by a volunteer who told us later afternoons meant fewer others and easier to enjoy with out buses and carloads of others.

We paid for both the home tour and gardens - we do recommend you visit the home at least once in order to enjoy a wealthy home from the early 20th century. Enjoy a self-guided tour or allow the volunteers to share stories and information about the various rooms. We did both, listening to their insights then lingering to explore each room more fully. Beautiful setting, lovely views, an inside view of how a wealthy northeastern family enjoyed a few weeks of Florida winter each year. Well worth a single visit, but I doubt one needs more than one.

The grounds of the gardens are lovely, but for those of us from Northern states, the "gardens" are not as populated with flowers, but more greenery. This is a bit of a disappointment if one enjoys the many colors of blooming flowers on their walks. Florida is a bit more limited in such things unless planted, and Bok tends towards more natural beauty than add ons.

Because we arrived later and had to complete our house tour we did not enjoy the last Carillon concert of the afternoon, which was a disappointment. One cannot her it from inside the home. However, we did get to listen at the bless charmed the surrounding area with notice of the 5 o'clock hour, adding to the lovely afternoon. As we arrived many were leaving with folding chairs in tow - we assume they'd enjoyed that last concert on the hill in the shadow of the tower.

It's a lovely setting to explore - appears easy enough for anyone in an electric cart or chair and anyone pushing a chair should be ok on the longer, lower graded pathway. We are not sure how much children will enjoy the setting. While there is a children's garden area, we did not make it over there. Certainly exposing children to such a lovely setting is always a great idea, but beyond that this setting doesn't have much to offer younger children who bore easily.

There is a visitors center for information and bathrooms with a small museum. A gift shop offers cold drinks (get them here to keep hydrated rather than eating in longer restaurant lines) and a range of great items. We picked up a lovely blue and white set for our kitchen, matching the overall themes of flora and fauna. The range of items available for purchase includes plants, stationary, books, ornaments, and more. Kids can find a range of fun gifts to remember their visit or encourage young lovers of animals and plants.

There is a small restaurant on site offering some baked goods, cold drinks, and sandwiches. The 2 person staff was overwhelmed during our late afternoon visit with us joining a line that grew from 2 parties to almost a dozen while we waited, second in line. They were not very attentive and didn't mention a special drink offering until we'd already paid and she asked if we wanted our free cold coffee in the Bok Tower souvenir cup we bought. The food was fine, normally priced for a tourist spot, and did the trick. If you are looking for cold drinks do look at the bottled options in the gift shop or otherwise try this option. There is seating outside and inside for different comfort levels.

We did note a few people leaving had picnic type baskets, but are not aware of any policies regarding this or picnicking around the property. It would be a lovely setting for such an enjoyable way to enjoy a meal.

Overall we enjoyed our visit and will return sometime to see other offerings at other times of the year. We are talking about a Christmas time visit. However, it also feels like a 1-time only visit kind of place. Do enjoy, do plan a visit, but view it as what it is: a lovely setting for viewing and peaceful enjoyment, but not a return hot spot - though there are certainly many who would enjoy coming back time and again.

1  Thank RoriTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Erica S, Public Relations Manager at Bok Tower Gardens, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

On your next visit be sure to spend some time in Hammock Hollow. This garden is quickly becoming one of the most favorite spots for both the young and young at heart. The Gardens and Pinewood Estate are especially lovely during the holidays.

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Reviewed 4 weeks ago

It's worth a visit to the Bok Tower Gardens if only to see the carillon and hear it played twice a day. There's an outdoor area near the tower where you can see the carilloneur play a 30-minute concert on a live video feed. However, you can hear the music throughout the gardens. The gardens are beautiful and we had a peaceful walk through them. We took the tour which was very informative. Bok Tower also owns Pinewood Estate which is adjacent to the property. You can tour the house for an additional fee. It's definitely worth admission, especially if you love the Mediterranean architectural style. I was sure glad we spent the money. There's also a café on-site that serves a variety of healthy foods.

Thank Ann D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Erica S, Public Relations Manager at Bok Tower Gardens, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Thank you for visiting and sharing your kind review.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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