Lonely Planet review
Edward Bok, editor of the Ladies’ Home Journal from 1888 to 1919, stood at the forefront of modern environmentalism and the promotion of progressive causes. Inspired by his grandmother’s admonishment to ‘make you the world a bit more beautiful and better because you have been in it, ’ he hired Frederick Law Olmstead Jr to design these gardens. In 1929 President Calvin Coolidge dedicated them to the US people. The centerpiece of the 250-acre property is the meticulously carved 205ft stone bell tower, and every afternoon the 60-bell carillon dongs its bells. Children enjoy looking for the iron rubbing posts, each with a different animal to rub onto special paper given upon entry, and there is plenty of room for running and playing in the grass and on the paths. Also on site is a small café, a museum and the beautiful 20-room Mediterranean-style Pinewood Estates , registered on the National Register of Historic Places; tours are offered several times daily. Sweet-smelling orange groves line the drive here, and a sense of calm, order and peace pervades the sanctuary. To get here, take I-4 west to exit 55. Proceed south on Hwy 27 for about 23 miles and follow the signs.