LAKE WALES, Fla. – It’s a hidden gem on a mountain in Lake Wales, combining music and art with nature and history dating back to the 1920s.
“It’s just incredible, the color and the tile. It’s something to see it,” visitor Kristine Dues said.
Bok Tower stands tall at 200 feet, surrounded by luscious gardens.
“It’s neo-gothic in line with the architecture design, but it’s adorned in art-deco artwork,” Bok Tower Gardens President David Price said.
Bok Tower was built by Edward Bok, a publisher and author in the 1920s, inviting several different artists to showcase their work using tile, Pink Marble from Georgia and Coquina Stone from St. Augustine.
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On the balcony you see Adam and Eve with the serpent between them. Edward Bok was having Milton Medary design the tower. He wanted him to reflect nature and creation inspired by Florida native plants and animals.
There are sculptures of herons sitting at the top of the tower with palm branches and flower below. There are also mosaics of birds, fish and monkeys on the building also known at the “singing tower.”
The top of the seven-level tower houses the carillon instrument, made up of 60 bells, controlled by a keyboard. Bok was inspired by his Netherlands heritage.
Bok Tower has a mote and is surrounded by more than 100 acres of gardens, with thousands of native plants and animals.
“It was built as a meditative garden and as a nature sanctuary,” Price said. “I think people come here to relax and Edward Bok created this place so people can come and find themselves. To walk around and see the beauty of nature. It has that magic for people.”
The magic attracts out-of-town visitors like Kristine Dues and her husband Bill.
“It’s beautiful, we are blown away by the nature and the vegetation and it’s just so well maintained.”
Bok Tower Gardens is open every day.
Recorded carillon music plays every 30 minutes during the day with live concerts featured at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
There’s also a café and small shops on property.
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