Bok Tower Gardens – a little hidden gem in Tampa

There are many different Tampa attractions to visit, but some are a little less known than others. Typically, heading to Orlando and Tampa, it’s about visiting friends and the theme parks – although I have yet to see the Harry Potter exhibit at Universal Studios.

Today’s attraction was the Bok Tower Gardens. It’s about 90 mins away from Tampa and the drive through Lakeland is a picturesque one. No need to rewrite any description 🙂

From Orlando Welcome Center : In 1921, Edward W. Bok was spending the winter months in the residential mountain lake community located adjacent to one of the highest hills of Florida’s Lake Wales Ridge, 298 feet above sea level. He enjoyed taking evening walks to the top of “Iron Mountain,” among the virgin pines and sandhill scrub, to enjoy Florida’s dramatic sunsets and bird life. The idea came to him to preserve this hilltop and create a bird sanctuary – a place of beauty, serenity and peace.

Integral to Bok’s idea was the availability of a famous landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. Having made arrangements to buy land on the hilltop, Bok commissioned Olmsted to change this arid sandhill into “a spot of beauty second to none in the country.” The first year was spent digging trenches and laying water pipes for irrigation, after which rich black soil was brought by the thousands of loads.

With the requisite conditions for a subtropical garden in place, planting of bushes and trees was begun that would provide food for visiting birds. Today, these plantings provide shade to visitors as well as refuge for squirrels and more than 100 bird species.

The main tower is the highlight and from a distance, it felt very “Lord of the Rings”-ish.

As for the wedding, I was pleased with one picture … hence it makes the blog

Information links

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at rishi@rishiray.com

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