After months of construction and the successful conclusion of the Preserve the Legacy, Steward the Future capital campaign, new Bok Tower Gardens expansions will come into full bloom with the grand opening of several highly anticipated garden areas on September 10.
The Bok Tower Gardens expansions of the Pollinator Garden, Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden, Wild Garden, Outdoor Kitchen, and Edible Garden will be celebrated on Saturday, September 10. The Gardens will open at 8 a.m. and general admission will be free for this event.
The celebration will begin at 10 a.m. with a special ribbon cutting dedication and remarks from Gardens’ president David Price, Board of Directors Chair Cindy Alexander, Board of Directors Vice Chair Dr. Tomas Bok, and Dr. Nick Place, Dean and Director of University of Florida/IFAS Extension. Keeping with the theme of celebrating the future, children will be invited to commemorate the ribbon cutting moment with a native pollinator release.
The day will also feature culinary demonstrations in the Outdoor Kitchen with special guest Tyler Zager, a Florida native and recent winner of the Food Network’s Kids BBQ Championship along with a full schedule of special activities, music and demonstrations.
Schedule of Events for Grand Opening Celebration
•Nature guides and educators, animal encounters, live music, Native American demonstrations, creative play activities and more in the Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden from 10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
•Guided tours of the Wild Garden at 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. & 2:00 p.m.
•Interpretive guides in the Pollinator & Edible Garden from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
•Hands-on science projects in the Alexander Discovery Center from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
•Cooking demonstrations by guest chefs in the Outdoor Kitchen at 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. & 2:30 p.m.
•Live carillon concerts featuring childhood music favorites at 1:00 p.m. & 3:00 p.m.
“It has been a long journey since construction began in October 2014, and we are so excited to share these new Gardens with our visitors,” said Gardens’ president David Price. “This grand opening celebration salutes the work of our board, donors, members and staff who recognized this vision would lead to big improvements without changing the spirit of the Gardens.”
These new Garden areas provide nearly one mile of pathway connecting to the historic Olmsted gardens and offer a world of discovery and biodiversity. Native plantings, picturesque vistas and distinctive ecosystems are spotlighted by the expansion and provide visitors with a new way to experience the Gardens.
Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden and Alexander Discovery Classroom: Featuring almost three acres of nature play, this garden will teach conservation and the vital connection between animals, plants, and people. There will be beautiful art, cooling water features, vibrant plantings, a boardwalk, performance stage, and music area. Children will have things to climb on, under and through, as well as places to build, dig and create. The Alexander Discovery Center located at the entrance to the Children’s Garden will offer a contemporary meeting and gathering space for programs, small classroom learning, and staging for field trips.
Wild Garden: Visitors will discover four diverse native Florida ecologies as they walk through eight acres of native plantings including a pine savanna, oak hammock, wetland prairie and bog. Over 175 different native plant species were used to re-create these habitats mirroring the biodiversity and beauty of Florida’s Pine Ridge. The Wild Garden also features a spectacular boardwalk that overlooks the Wildlife Pond.
Outdoor Kitchen and Edible Garden: The Outdoor Kitchen features 6,400 square feet of culinary delight punctuated with a wood fired pizza oven, top-of-the-line outdoor appliances and much more. Festive café string lights, ceiling fans and vine trellises make the kitchen functional, beautiful and intimate despite its large size. A center island with granite countertop provides more than 15 feet of space for chef demonstrations. The Edible Garden includes fruit orchard, grape arbors, and raised beds for herbs and vegetables. This area will be a hub of horticultural and culinary activity showcasing lifestyle gardening and the culinary arts. The Edible Garden also complements the Gardens’ new UF/IFAS educational partnership.
Pollinator Garden: This colorful 22,800 square foot garden features native and non-native perennials along a meandering path. The garden provides a botanical wonderland for birds, butterflies, bees and other nectar- and pollen-loving insects known as pollinators.
Bok Tower Gardens is a National Historic Landmark located 10 miles from Legoland Florida, 55 miles southwest of Orlando and 60 miles east of Tampa near Lake Wales. Open every day of the year from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Visitor Center, Café and Gift Shop are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults and $3 for ages 5-12. Members and children under 5 are admitted free. LEGOLAND ticket holders will receive free admission for children under 12. For more information contact Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Boulevard, Lake Wales FL 33853; 863-676-1408 or visit boktowergardens.org.
To learn more about Bok Tower Gardens, watch this recent episode of Daycation Kingdom: