Bok Tower Gardens
THE GARDENS In 1921, Edward W. Bok was spending the winter months in the residential mountain lake community located adjacent to the highest hill of Florida's Lake Wales Ridge, 298 feet above sea level. He enjoyed taking evening walks to the top of Iron Mountain," among the virgin pines and sandhill scrub, to enjoy Florida's dramatic sunsets and bird life. The idea came to him to preserve this hilltop and create a bird sanctuary – a place of beauty, serenity and peace. Integral to Bok's idea was the availability of a famous landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. Having made arrangements to buy land on the hilltop, Bok commissioned Olmsted to change this arid sandhill into "a spot of beauty second to none in the country." The first year was spent digging trenches and laying water pipes for irrigation, after which rich black soil was brought by the thousands of loads. With the requisite conditions for a subtropical garden in place, planting of bushes and trees was begun that would provide food for visiting birds. Today, these plantings provide shade to visitors as well as refuge for squirrels and more than 100 bird species. The reflection pool was created to entice wild life to take residence. The Reflection Pool gives visitors one of the most memorable experiences in the Sanctuary. Its location captures the reflection of the Tower and offers the first image visitors have when entering the gardens. Hours Bok Tower Gardens is open every day of the year from 8:00am-6:00pm with last admission at 5:00pm. The Visitor Center is open from 9:00am-5:00pm. General admission tickets are good for one day only and do not include specially ticketed events. Rates Rates as of July 1, 2006Adults: $10Children (ages 5-12): $3Children (under 5): FreeMembers: FreeGroup rates are available with preregistration of 20 or more.Fees subject to change without notice. Directions:From Orlando, Take I-4 WestFrom Tampa, Take I-4 East From I-4, East or West:Take Exit 55 and proceed south on U.S. Highway 27 for approximately 23 miles. Proceed two traffic lights past Eagle Ridge Mall. Turn left on Mountain Lake Cut Off Road. At the caution light, turn right (south) onto County Road 17 (also known as Scenic Highway). Proceed on CR 17 for 3/4 miles. Turn left (east) onto Burns Avenue (also known as County Road 17-A). Proceed on Burns Avenue for 1.3 miles. On your left you’ll see a main entrance sign to Bok Tower Gardens. Turn left and proceed to the entrance gate. From Highway 60 East or West:Go to Lake Wales and proceed north on U.S. Highway 27. Turn right on Mountain Lake Cutoff Road. At the caution light, turn right (south) onto County Road 17 (also known as Scenic Highway). Proceed on CR 17 for 3/4 miles. Turn left (east) onto Burns Avenue (also known as County Road 17-A). Proceed on Burns Avenue for 1.3 miles. On your left you’ll see a main entrance sign to Bok Tower Gardens. Turn left and proceed to the entrance gate. From Vero Beach, Take Highway 60 West:Go to Lake Wales. At Buck Moore Road (the intersection just past WalMart), turn North (right) onto Buck Moore Road (also known as 17-B). You’ll turn between SunTrust and Walgreen’s. Proceed approximately 1.3 miles. At the stop light, turn West (left) onto County Road 17-A (also called Burns Ave.). Proceed on CR 17-A approximately .7 mile to the entrance of Bok Tower Gardens on your right. Approximate Distances: Jacksonville–200 miles Miami–200 milesOrlando–55 milesTampa–60 miles Vero Beach–80 miles Carillon Concerts1:00pm & 3:00pm daily; with brief carillon selections throughout the day. Group Rates Group rates are available with pre-registration of a minimum of 20 people. For more information call the Group Sales Representative at 863-734-1209 or e-mail. Pets If you plan to visit Bok Tower Gardens, please be aware that pets are not allowed in the gardens. A shaded, open-air pet pen with water is available for a nominal fee. Limited indoor arrangements can be made for small pets. Please visit the gift shop for more information when you arrive. Wheelchairs and Mobility CartsWhile we encourage our physically challenged visitors to bring their own chairs and carts, we make available, at no cost, wheelchairs and adult strollers. Also available are single passenger electric mobility carts for rent on an hourly, half-day or full day basis. Rentals are on a first-come, first-served basis. Please check with the gift shop for availability. A shuttle for the physically challenged is available during certain times of the year. Please visit the Information Desk in the Visitor Center for times and pick up location. Children's Activities Families visiting the Gardens can check out a Reading Basket free of charge at the Information Desk in the Visitor Center. By leaving a driver's license to hold the basket, children can choose one of the three available themed baskets. Each storytime basket contains books, puppets and a blanket for sitting. While we recommend that all small children use a stroller, there are a limited numbers of strollers available on a first-come, first-served basis in the gift shop. "