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Free admission to Bok Tower Gardens for 85th anniversary celebration

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Bok Tower Gardens commemorates its 85th anniversary on Saturday, February 1 with free admission from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This national historic landmark was dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge on February 1, 1929 as a gift to the American people from Pulitzer Prize-winning author, humanitarian and world peace advocate Edward Bok.

In keeping with Edward Bok’s enduring interest in nature, the Gardens will host a special tree planting ceremony at 2 p.m. The trees serve as a memento of the anniversary and a tangible way to follow the advice given to a young Edward by his grandmother to “make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it.”

Other special activities throughout the day include “Crossing the Moat” from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., giving visitors a rare opportunity to pass through the historic iron gates that surround the singing tower for a closer look at the great brass door. Designed by renowned master metal worker Samuel Yellin, the tower’s imposing door weighs approximately 1,100 pounds and features 32 brass panels depicting the Biblical story of creation.

There will be free tours of Pinewood Estate from 10 5 p.m., free greenhouse tours from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and free conservation tours at 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 p.m. The gardens will also distribute 2,500 longleaf pine seedlings for visitors to plant at home.

There will be “A Look Back” exhibit in the Visitor Center featuring lesser-known facts, stories and photographs from throughout the Gardens’ 85-year history. Situated at 298 feet above sea level, the gardens are one of the highest points in peninsular Florida. They have been attracting visitors since 1929 and their dominant feature is the 205 foot tall Singing Tower carillon.

Bok Tower Gardens is located at 1151 Tower Blvd. in Lake Wales. For additional information, download a copy of the visitor guide and map. An interactive map is located adjacent to this article.

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