Bok Tower Gardens is a National Historic Landmark located on Iron Mountain, one of the highest points on the Lake Wales Ridge, in Lakeland, Florida. (Of course, being located in Florida, don’t expect a real mountain.) The acres of ferns, palms, oaks and pines create a backdrop of 1,000 shades of green for the seasonal bursts of magnolia blooms, azaleas, and camellias that form an ever-changing work of art. “Window by the Pond,” a nature observatory on the edge of a pond, offers great views of the native birds, wildlife, butterflies, and wetland plants. A sign on the wall reminds visitors: “this is nature’s show not ours. No scheduled performances.” Clever!
The 205-foot neo-Gothic and art deco Singing Tower Carillon is a unique experience. This bell tower, featuring 60 bells, is one of the world’s greatest carillons. Concerts can be heard at 1pm and 3pm daily. The tower was designed by famed architect Milton B. Medary and ornately crafted by sculptor Lee Lawrie Milton.
Featuring a ¾ mile walking trail, the Pine Ridge Nature Preserve at Bok Tower Gardens gives visitors a chance to walk through this ecosystem and view many endangered plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. The variety of animals that live in the Garden emphasizes the symbiotic nature of all environmental areas. Initially having intentions of creating a bird sanctuary, founder Edward Bok would be proud that Bok Tower Gardens is listed on the Great Florida Birding Trail. Visit the gardens and look for the many endangered and threatened birds.
Did you know that ‘bird watching’ ranks as one of the top reasons why tourists come to Florida? Bird watching is the fastest-growing outdoor activity in the United States. Based on a survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 51.3 million Americans report that they watch birds.
Visit Central Florida and discover the beauty of our region and enjoy the great bird watching at Bok Tower Gardens!