The Ultimate Summer 2020 Bucket List for Polk County, FL
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The Ultimate Summer 2020 Bucket List for Polk County, FL

The must-dos of Lakeland, Bartow, Winter Haven, Auburndale, and other hidden gems in Central Florida.

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The Ultimate Summer 2020 Bucket List for Polk County, FL
Emmie Pombo

Everyone knows the classic Florida places: Disney, Universal, Miami Beach... But only the real FL peeps know that some of the best bucket list items come from Central Florida.

1. Visit Bok Tower Gardens - Lake Wales, FL

This large, outdoor garden has a section specifically for kids, a place for weddings and events, nature trails, and admission to the vast gardens that are on the grounds. Also on site is a store and coffee shop.

2. Go (safe) alligator hunting at Circle B Bar Reserve - Lakeland, FL

Originally a cattle ranch a long time ago, this nature preserve is notorious for having alligators pop out of the water here and there - but don't worry, you're completely safe. Other cool things about this park include hiking and biking trails, tram tours, and the Polk Nature Discovery Center.

3. Witness the Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture - Lakeland, FL

Frank Lloyd Wright, an architect and designer from the 18 & 1900s has work on display at Florida Southern College, which was deemed the most beautiful campus in the nation. With six tour options, you'll be able to experience all of the amazing work that Wright has built.

4. Creep around the haunted landmarks - Polk County

There are a few places in Polk County that are said to be haunted:

1. Stanford Inn and Breakfast - This place was actually featured in the 1991 film "My Girl" that starred Jaime Lee Curtis and Macaulay Culkin, and visitors say that doors open and close on their own and footsteps can be heard in the hallway.

2. The Annie Pfieffer Chapel & The Buckner Theatre at Florida Southern College - People claim that the ghost of Frank Lloyd Wright himself lives in the chapel, and doors shut randomly with phantom hands in the curtains.

3. Camilla Hall at Weber International University - Apparently a shadowy figure is said to be lurking around the all-girls dorm.

4. Old Polk County Courthouse - This landmark dates all the way back to the 1800s and people claim to hear screams in the basement, see a "lady in white" on the second floor, and find cold spots on the first floor.

5. Spook Hill - This place is a gravity hill meaning cars appear to be rolling up the hill.

6. James McCabe Theatre - A popular spot for ghost tours and groups to hunt weird sounds and appearances.

7. Center Place - This location has a little more detailed background, claiming that a ghost woman named Matilda lives there and interacts with people... Although most say she's very friendly and oddly artistic.

5. Walk around Hollis Garden - Lakeland, FL

Hollis Garden is one of the most popular places to go in Lakeland, with its fountains, architecture, and endless amounts of beautiful nature.

6.  Take in a movie at the Silver Moon Drive-In - Lakeland, FL

Thought drive-in movies were a thing of the past? The Silver Moon Drive-In has $6 tickets, an extensive snack bar, and two movies back-to-back.

7. Fly over to the Florida Air Museum - Lakeland, FL

The Florida Air Museum provides historic exhibits on everything airplanes.

8. Take a walk around Lake Hollingsworth - Lakeland, FL

Not only is Lake Hollingsworth the prime spot for biking, walking, running, dog-sitting, etc., but the perimeter of the lake is almost exactly 3 miles long, which is the perfect bonus for the exercise lovers.

9. Catch a game at the Publix Field at Joker Merchant Stadium - Lakeland, FL

This ball field is the place where the Detroit Tigers hold their spring training. When they're not practicing, there are many other teams that take the chance to show off their skills for the fans.

10. Adventure through the Safari Wilderness Ranch - Lakeland, FL

For the exotic animal lovers, get a chance to drive through the "jungles" of Lakeland to take in the sights and sounds of the wild.

11. Travel around the world at the International World Market - Auburndale, FL

From produce to live gators to amazing textiles, this market will take up a whole day - at least.

12. Race to the Auburndale Speedway - Winter Haven, FL

Ticket and parking prices vary, but there's something for everyone at this adrenaline-filled spot.

13. Ride around at LEGOLAND Florida - Winter Haven

Everyone needs a break from Disney and Universal (yes, I said it). Take a trip to this theme park and resort for a day of endless fun and creativity.

14. Strike a pose in front of the color wall - Lakeland, FL

One of Lakeland's most famous landmarks, this mural is the location of all of the insta-worth pics you see on your Central FL feed.

15. Poke around at Polk Theatre - Lakeland, FL

Elvis actually performed in this very theater back in 1956. Grab your blue suede shoes and shake your hips down to the iconic theater and catch a show.

16. Visit The Joinery - Lakeland, FL

This new business encompasses what it's like to join together as a community and just enjoy each other's company. Inside the communal hang-out spot are different vendors and pop-up restaurants that will fulfill any craving you may have.

17. Sightsee at Southgate Plaza - Lakeland, FL

Did you know that Southgate Plaza was the filming location for "Edward Scissorhands?" It's true! See for yourself and take a trip to this shopping plaza where you can still see the iconic sign and the shop inside where it was filmed.

18. Grab a Pub Sub - Polk County, FL

If you've heard of the legendary Pub Sub but have never tried one, I guarantee it exceeds the hype. One of Publix's most famous sandwiches is the chicken tender sub - trust me, it's unmatched.

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