The centerpiece of the gardens is Bok Tower - a 205 foot tall tower built on the highest point in Florida (298 feet. Florida is just so flat. So, so flat.). The tower itself is architectually amazing with the carefully carved stonework, ornate brass door and glasswork all depicting Florida plants and wildlife. It houses carillon bells that visitors can watch being played live at 1 pm and 3 pm every afternoon via a tv screen set up in the garden. Ellison was very interested in these bells (which I thought was a little surprising because, well, she's 8.) and was quite fascinated by the whole process as she watched them being played. The music was beautiful and you can hear it from any location in the gardens. In front of the tower is a reflection pond, which allows for fantastic views and pictures, especially on sunny Florida afternoons.
The Pine Ridge Trails runs almost a mile from the "Window by the Pond" to the visitor center and is a nice walk though natural Florida habitat. Bok Tower Gardens is making a concerted effort to restore native plants and wildlife and offers a variety of educational material on the subject in the visitor center. Preservation and education are key components in the overall agenda of Bok Tower Gardens, whether it is environmental, historical or musical. This makes for an interesting visit and honestly, Ellison and I both learned so much and each ended up getting books at the gift shop in order to read even more about Edward Bok and the history behind the tower and its gardens. We're nerdy like that.
"Make the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it."