On a recent trip to Central Florida, jam-packed with exciting/exhausting visits to amusement parks, it was a peaceful little gem of a garden that stole my children’s hearts. The brand new Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden in Bok Tower Gardens is a delightful destination for families that is not to be missed when traveling near Lake Wales. Make plans to spend a morning climbing, running, hiding, and dreaming in this gorgeous garden designed with young explorers in mind. You’ll be glad you took the time to stop and play!
Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Located a mere 11 miles from LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Bok Tower Gardens is a National Historic Landmark that boasts more than 600 acres of gardens and architecture, including the famous 205-foot art deco and neo-Gothic Singing Tower. Bok Tower Gardens has been a popular tourist attraction since the 1920s, but now, with the recent addition of a children’s garden, it is truly an irresistible destination for families.
Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden
Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden, included in General Admission to Bok Tower Gardens, is a 2.7-acre wonderland, filled with caves, bridges, and magical mist. When we arrived early one morning in late September, my children took one peek through the kid-size entrance and they were sold. “Let’s play Hide and Seek,” one yelled, as they all raced toward Hammock Hollow’s River Walk. Lots of happy screams ensued as they chased each other through the mist.
Bok Tower Gardens: River Walk
Part kid-operated splash pad, part mist machine, River Walk provided the perfect landscape for animated games of tag. My kids got drenched, but that didn’t slow them down! They hid in the fog, jumped off the rocks, and raced around the flora and fauna. Then, in a flash, they were off to check out the rest of the Garden.
Discovering the rest of Hammock Hollow’s features was a blast, with so many unique opportunities for hands-on exploration of nature. Sand, pebbles, logs, and tree stumps made for a grand morning of play!
Bok Tower Gardens: Acorn Chase
My kids love climbing on everything, so the zig-zag balance beam in Acorn Chase was a hit, as was the nearby oversized rope spider web. They also had a lot of fun making music in the woods, on acoustic instruments tucked away in between the trees.
Bok Tower Gardens: Fox Den
Unstructured play in nature’s playground is the very best. My kids loved stacking wood blocks, balancing on logs, and leaping off stumps in the Fox Den section of Hammock Hollow. It was rewarding to watch them entertain themselves, and each other, with very simple tools.
My 10-year-old sighed and said, “We should move to Florida. Then we could come here all the time.”
Bok Tower Gardens: Know Before You Go
- Bok Tower Gardens is open 365 days a year from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- General Admission is $12 for adults and $3 for children ages 5-12. This ticket option includes admission to the Gardens (including Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden), Pine Ridge Nature Trail, Preserve Trail and the Visitor Center complex.
- Parking is free.
- The Singing Tower concerts featuring 60 carillon bells are at 1 and 3 p.m. daily, with short selections played on the hour and half-hour. You can hear the bells throughout the Gardens.
- You may bring a picnic, but must eat in one of the designated picnic areas.
- If you are planning to visit all of the Gardens and Trails, you will want to bring a stroller. You can rent one in the Visitor Center complex, which is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. If you are only planning to visit the Children’s Garden, you don’t need a stroller. It’s an easy walk from the parking lot.
- Arrive early! We entered the Gardens at 8 a.m., and by 9 a.m. it was already hot!
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Disclosure: Heidi & her family were invited to visit Bok Tower Gardens. We were not compensated for this article. All opinions are her own.