Florida Day Trip: Bok Tower Gardens

 

Outside of St. Augustine and the amusement parks (without the crowds), this has been one of my favorite road trips in Florida. The struggle is to select which photos to post, there's just so much to see. So let's dig in!

I'm not going into the history of it - that's easily done here: Bok Tower History

Once you arrive, you get to see the Tower from quite far away and start realizing how massive it actually is.

The parking lot is full of greenery and beautiful oaks.

"Make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it" greets you - hard to argue.  It's a saying by Edward Boks' grandmother.

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We grabbed a map first and checked out the museum. There's a beautiful cortyard right between Welcome Center/Museum & Cafe on the opposite side.

I'm not much for Inspiration quotes, but there were quite a few scattered around and they were quite good, especially since they were in the appropriate setting.

The park's layout. We started to the right and circled back, saving the Singing Tower for last. That's the main bell tower.

First up was an outdoor kitchen & edible garden set up - both were awesome and quite large. Here's a couple of pics:

 I need this in my backyard

I need this in my backyard

 Fruit trees

Fruit trees

Next up was the kid's area - which was quite epic. We don't have any, but if you're looking for a day out with kids - this will fit the bill beautifully! There's quite a bit more out there, but here's a few shots.

 Little animals made out of river stone

Little animals made out of river stone

 One of about 10 distinct areas for kids (and adults).

One of about 10 distinct areas for kids (and adults).

 The building in the far back is roughly where the outdoor kitchen is at.

The building in the far back is roughly where the outdoor kitchen is at.

 Little gnomes were everywhere. 

Little gnomes were everywhere. 

 A misting area is set up where you can see two people sitting. Perfect to cool off on a hot day.

A misting area is set up where you can see two people sitting. Perfect to cool off on a hot day.

 Sandy area to run around in

Sandy area to run around in

Anyways, out of the kid's area and onto the nature walk to the Estate. Top of the tower is visible over the tree tops.

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Next up: The Estate! It's surrounded by beautiful gardens and has quite a few cool architectural details. It's air-conditioned, too, if by then you'd be ready to take a break from the heat.

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 Almost a castle with a fancy little fountain.

Almost a castle with a fancy little fountain.

Interior is okay, worth a walk through. Some details are beautiful, like the wooden doors especially. You have to take a guided tour though - can't just speed walk the building, so that was a bit painful - listening to all the details of the past that I don't care about. 

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 Cool view of an oak branch and a hill slope.

Cool view of an oak branch and a hill slope.

 Gaudy bathroom from the 1970's redesign.

Gaudy bathroom from the 1970's redesign.

 Fancy door and spiral staircase up to the bedroom.

Fancy door and spiral staircase up to the bedroom.

Back outside - fantastic view. One word of advice - they'll tell you to go down the hill, but there's absolutely nothing there, but a tiny pond. A bit of exercise, if you want though.

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Getting closer to the Singing Tower. 

A little more walking. The main path is asphalt, but there' a couple various paths next to the main one. It started raining slightly, but there were nice shelters here and there. Very civilized. As a Russian I appreciate such luxuries.

And finally, we arrived. The Bok Tower is absolutely enormous. Look at those tiny hoomans! The bells play tunes a few times a day (it's probably on YouTube somewhere). It's pretty neat.

 There's a lot of fish in the pond. The Gold door is incredible as well!

There's a lot of fish in the pond. The Gold door is incredible as well!

 Fancy metal work. 

Fancy metal work. 

 The Singing Tower & the park were built on one of the highest places in Florida and it's nice to see a panoramic view that isn't all flat.

The Singing Tower & the park were built on one of the highest places in Florida and it's nice to see a panoramic view that isn't all flat.

 Nice oak trees surround the Tower.

Nice oak trees surround the Tower.

After 30-45 minutes of staring at the Tower and the views, we headed down the path. 

After the Tower, it was just a short walk back to the Welcome Center actually, with not much else to see. We spent about 4 hours at the park total and it was a perfect day trip. So we headed back home.

A great place to spend an entire afternoon. No doubt, no doubt in my mind.