Polk County is the 39th county of Florida and features a rich slice of nature and history within its 2,010-square-mile area. With its scenic, natural landscapes, parks and lakes; rare plants, birds and wildlife; and a myriad of other attractions, Polk County is the ideal place for a variety of adventurous and fun-filled activities for children. Apart from being easily accessible by road, several Polk County attractions are open 365 days of the year. This makes it easy for parents to plan visits with their children at a time convenient to them.
Bok Tower Gardens
The Bok Tower Gardens is the brainchild of Edward W. Bok, who--through painstaking work and determination during the 1920s--turned the top of a once-arid, 298-foot-high sand hill into what is today widely acknowledged as Florida's best subtropical, botanical garden.
For children, the Bok Tower Gardens offers a variety of fun and nature-learning activities. Some such activities include: playing in a palm-topped hut, giant sandbox and natural, vine-covered tunnel; guided tours to observe and learn about rare and native plant life in the garden; visits to the "Window by the Pond"--an observatory to watch reptiles, butterflies and some of the more than 100 species of birds that take refuge in the garden; A tour of the garden's centrally located, 205-foot "Singing Tower" with its amazing, natural sundial and other attractions; viewing the unforgettable reflection of the tower in the reflection pool; and a lot more.
The Bok Gardens also provides children with maps; "Garden Hunt" booklets; and discovery backpacks that contain books on the garden plus a list of year-round activities for children. It is open throughout the year, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Lake Kissimmee State Park
The Lake Kissimmee State Park is situated off State Road 60 and along the shores of the picturesque Lake Kissimmee. Given its natural attributes and lakeside location, the park offers a range of diverse, nature-related activities for children, and even for the entire family. Some of the many activities for children in this park include:
Kids' playground--located in close proximity to the picnic pavilion and equipped with monkey bars; two regular swings; three slides; and two baby swings. Adult supervision is advised for young children using this facility.
Visit to "Cow Camp"--a realistic glimpse into the lives of 1876-era Florida "cow hunters" and other historical aspects of Florida's rich cowboy heritage.
Hiking and horse trails--13 miles of trails to hike, including six miles of horse trails, set in an area frequented by bald eagles, bobcats, white-tailed deer; plus other animal and bird life.
The park is open year-round, from 8 a.m. to sundown.
Splash Island Water Park
The Splash Island Water Park is one of the most thrilling Polk County attractions. Here, children can enjoy hours of thrill-a-second water entertainment with such Splash Island Water Park features as:
Tonga Tubes--a twin-tube slide facility that offers a four-story-high slide and splash down into a pool at the bottom, with heart-stopping twists and turns along the way.
Kowabunga Bay--an awesome 20,000-square-foot wave-churning pool, which will give children the thrill of their lives.
Polynesian Adventure--a multi-featured water entertainment complex where kids can shoot water cannons, climb rope ladders and raised platforms, enjoy slippery slides, hop aboard a spinning water wheel and more.