LAKE WALES, Fla. — A Polk County national historic landmark is in the running to be North America's best botanical garden.
- Bok Tower Gardens listed in USA Today top botanical gardens ranking
- National historic landmark has hosted millions of visitors since 1929
- Vote for Bok Tower Gardens in USA Today's reader's choice voting
Bok Tower Gardens Marketing Director Erica Smith said they last heard that Bok Tower Gardens was in third place.
"To be on a list with some of the top gardens in the world is pretty exciting," she said. "We’re right up there with Missouri Botanical Gardens, with Denver, with Chicago, with Chanticleer (Garden of Philadelphia), with really great spectacular gardens that have just as much great history as we do. So we’re in real good company."
Smith said it was a surprise that Bok Tower Gardens was even nominated. This is the first time she recalled the gardens being on the list.
Bok Tower Gardens' 60-bell carillon inside its "singing" tower make it unique. Since 1929, it has attracted more than 23 million visitors, according to its website.
"I’m blown away by the nature and peacefulness. It’s very quiet. It’s relaxing," John Meier of St. Petersburg said. "It’s just nice to be one with nature and see someone who has that same mindset."
Its meandering trails give visitors a glimpse of Florida's native plants and birds, earning it a spot on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. It’s also known for its Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden.
The winner of the 10 Best Botanical Gardens in North America readers' choice will be announced May 3.