It’s often said that beauty comes in different forms. Here at Bok Tower Gardens, there’s always something beautiful in bloom that makes visitors stop in admiration. For those that appreciate the natural beauty of Florida, we’ve got plenty of that here as well. Here are a few ideas for making your visit a little wilder:
Check out the Endangered Plant Garden
Part of the mission at Bok Tower Gardens is rare plant conservation, and you can get a look at a large number of species native to Florida. Just like the formal gardens at Bok Tower, there’s always something in bloom. The Endangered Plant Garden is located near the Window By The Pond on the east side of the gardens, and includes species like Florida Goldenaster, Scrub Lupine, Savannas Mint and Clasping Warea. It’s not likely you’ll see the species that are in the Endangered Plant Garden while traveling through Florida. In fact, Savannahs Mint is so rare that there is only one small natural population left in the world.
Take a Hike
There’s no better way to see the natural beauty of Bok Tower Gardens than on a hike. Once you’ve taken a look at the Endangered Plant Garden, head out on the Pine Ridge Nature Trail. You’ll find the trailhead at the Window By The Pond. It’s less than a mile long, and is the perfect introduction to a longleaf pine and turkey oak habitat. Keep your eyes peeled for gopher tortoises, the landlord of the habitat.
For a longer exploration, the Preserve Trail offers a longer look at the wild side of Bok Tower Gardens as it passes over rolling hills, with a grand view of the tower in the distance. Look up, look down and side-to-side: there’s always something to see along the 1.5-mile linear route. Underneath your feet you may happen upon a fossil or two – the material used to construct the trail is rich with pieces of the past. Geocachers, there are several caches to discover on both trails, so make sure to bring along your GPS.
You are in luck! There are several events coming up at the Gardens where you can introduce the outdoors to the next generation of Florida conservationists. Take part in the Kids Photography Contest, which runs weekly through August 30. Don’t miss Discovery Days, where children ages 6-12 can get up close to nature on several adventures. Coming up on July 10, the Bountiful Birds class will be led by members of the Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society.