The minute the sweltering summer heat started to let up, I began planning outdoor adventures for our family. The fact is, Bok Tower Gardens has been on my list for years. It always seemed too far and I wasn’t quite sure what was out there. Rest assured, it’s worth the drive.
A little history on the Gardens, Edward Bok came to the States from the Netherlands as a child. His family spent their winters in Florida, in Lake Wales. As he grew up he became a mega successful publisher, Pulitzer-Prize winning author, and humanitarian. In 1929 he purchased the land that is now Bok Tower Gardens and made a beautiful sanctuary. The Gardens, oh the gardens with lush tropical beauty and winding paths that felt like they stretched forever. But it was really a quick walk from place to place, super important with the kiddos! There’s also the Singing Tower Carillon, a huge bell tower that plays gorgeous music that echoes through all the gardens. And you can buy a ticket to Pinewood Estate, a historic home on property with scheduled tours running throughout the day.
Aside from all this, there’s a special area just for the kids. Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden was a little nature wonderland. Nature wasn’t just the backdrop but the forefront for the kids to explore their curiosity and creativity. There was a sandbox, giant spider web climbing structure, wooden instruments, arts and crafts tables, an outdoor dress-up theater, and a rustic pioneer kitchen play space. I know what you’re thinking, I have all this stuff at home and at the park by my house. And to that I say, yes you do. But do you have it in a gorgeous nature sanctuary that you will swear transports you to Colorado or some other fabulous non-Florida feeling place? No, no you don’t. The kids spent hours exploring and running around. They would’ve spent hours more but the adults were getting hungry. Conveniently, there’s a restaurant on site, the Blue Palmetto Cafe that was quite delicious.
We spent four hours at the Gardens and I know we only scratched the surface of what Bok Tower has to offer. With kids or without this is an awesome place for a day trip.
Note: Bok Tower Gardens is part of the Reciprocal Member Program with Leu Gardens, Orange County Regional History Center, Polasek Sculpture Gardens, Central Florida Zoo, and Art & History Center Maitland so check and see what discount or free admission this provides you! Be smart, don’t wait to learn this after the fact when you’re writing a blog post.