Tiny Tourist: Bok Tower Gardens

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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.

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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.