Historic Bok Sanctuary (2)

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Florida Guide > Other Florida

Historic Bok Sanctuary (2)

Tired of the hustle, bustle and noise of the theme parks? Why not try a peaceful half day at Historic Bok Sanctuary, home of the Bok Carillon Tower?

The Sanctuary is off the 27. You turn left a few miles after the turn off for Cypress Gardens and before you get to Lake Wales.

You will start your visit at the visitor centre and you can enjoy a 9 minute film that tells you the essentials about the Sanctuary and also browse the small museum. However, you will probably be keen to see the ground and the tower. A word of advice here; if one of your party is using an ordinary wheelchair change it for one provided by the Sanctuary. These are free and have much wider wheels and tyres so when you are going over sandy paths they don’t dig in. We only discovered this as we were leaving having struggled mightily with my mother’s wheelchair!

The grounds are on a hill so it is quite hard work getting up to the tower if you have mobility problems; however, it is great when you get there. The tower itself is beautiful and there is a great view over the Florida countryside. There are recordings of the Carillon played every hour but live concerts are at 1 and 3 o’clock. You can watch the player on a television screen outside.

The gardens are very well landscaped with a wide variety of plants and you can join a tour with a gardening guide.

There is also a 20 room Mediterranean Revival Mansion, which can be toured for an additional fee but we didn’t visit this.

There is a hide created by the pond where you can sit and watch the birds. They obviously try to attract birds there by putting seed down but it was quite quiet when we were there with a heron being the main attraction.

We thought the most attractive parts were around the pond by the tower as there were wonderful reflections in the water and the plants were all in flower in late February and the orange and grapefruit trees were heavy with fruit.

Some interesting walks had been created, including the Pine Ridge Preserve Nature Trail, which is ¾ mile long and goes through the pine-turkey oak plantation.

The whole Sanctuary was set up by Edward Bok for the birds and people of Florida.

It is probably not a very exciting trip for children but it is a tranquil haven for adults interested in gardens, music and wildlife.

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