Holidays at the Bok Tower Gardens

Photo Credit: Bok Tower Gardens Instagram

If you find yourself in the Central Florida area this December, you may want to make a pit stop at Bok Tower Gardens in Lakes Wales, Polk County, Florida. Bok Tower Gardens is home to some of Florida’s most historic landscape gardens. The Bok Tower “sings” a lovely melody every day, and especially during Christmas. The spirit of the holidays surrounds Bok Tower Gardens with a natural hue of red and green. The lovely red cardinals and seasonal greenery throughout the Gardens lend to that aesthetic. On the property also sits a magnificent 1930s Mediterranean-style mansion, the Pinewood Estate.

Visitors to the Bok Tower Gardens will enjoy the 25th Anniversary Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate. You will also find poinsettia, bromeliad and amaryllis displays. Live music will be on the 205-foot Singing Tower Carillon and a Sunset & Symphony Holiday Concert with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra (December 7). You can take winter walking tours and take advantage of many seasonal programs. There is a fun hide-and-seek game where children can participate in a search for a family of Pinewood squirrels, Tucker and Tillie, who are hiding throughout the Estate.

The property has had over 23 million visitors since it was opened in 1929. The Bok Tower and Gardens was a labor of love from founder Edward William Bok. Bok was born in Den Helder, the Netherlands on October 9, 1863. He was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who came to the United States when he was six and became inspired to make the world a better place. He sought to do this by taking inspiration from the natural beauty of the Florida landscape.

The Christmas experience at Bok Tower Gardens is a Central Florida holiday tradition. The Walking Tours of Pinewood Estate are a must-do when traveling in the area. Nestled in the heart of seven and one-half acres of lush gardens, the 20 rooms of the mansion are given a holiday-inspired them every year, and with that the dedicated staff decorates every corner of the room with festive decorations, transforming the home into a winter wonderland. Time and talent go into decorating these rooms with the utmost care. 

The Pinewood Estate was constructed in 1932 and served as the winter home of Charles Austin Buck, vice president of Bethlehem Steel. Mr. Buck hosted many guests during his winter visits. Christmas was a special time. The mansion was always decorated and still is to this day. It is on the list of National Register of Historic Places since 1985. It was originally named, “El Retiro,” or “retreat” in Spanish.

The Singing Tower is the focal point. Dedicated by President Calvin Coollidge in 1929, it is an architectural treasure that has tile mosaics, sculptures, carvings and custom iron-works inspired by the landscape of Florida. There are acres of ferns palms, oaks, and pines fashioned in a lush backdrop of flowering foliage. The spectacular seasonal color of azaleas, camellias and magnolias showcase an ever-changing work of art.

You can schedule a walking tour of the premises for yourself and your family. You won’t regret it. Best of all, Bok Tower & Gardens is open 365 days a year from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m with the last admission from the entrance gate being at 5 p.m.

Tickets are $25 for adults and children ages 5-12 get in for $12. You may purchase them here.