New Outlook For Life

A Boca Raton landmark is back and better than ever.

The new Gumbo Limbo Nature Center observation tower is now open to the public, providing gorgeous views from Jacob's Outlook high above Boca Raton.

Made possible by a gift of more than half-a-million dollars from the Kosowsky family, Jacob's Outlook honors the memory of Jacob Kosowsky, who lost his life in a traffic accident.

Surrounded by Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District Commissioners, City of Boca Raton Council members and poster-sized photos of Jacob, mayor Scott Singer and Sharilyn Jones snapped the over-sized scissors to cut the ribbon. Doing so officially opened the path for some two dozen attendees to walk the boardwalk to the tower.

Standing 44 feet above the ground, Jacob's Outlook offers a 360-degree view of Boca Raton, including the Intracoastal waterway and the Atlantic Ocean.

“It's beautiful,” said Jones, Jacob's mother. “It's stunning. We are very happy that it's complete and part of the community.”

A nature lover, Jacob Kosowsky spent much of his time as a teenager near the water. That included climbing the original Gumbo Limbo tower, which was removed from service in 2015.

The Kosowsky family held a private gathering at Jacob's Outlook on June 9 before the public opening four days later.

“It was beautiful,” Jones said of the first gathering. “Lots of love, lots of joy - it sort of emanated from everybody. It was like a release because we've been working on this for five years, so there was a lot of emotion – mostly really good emotion.”

During her brief speech before cutting the ribbon, Jones explained why Jacob's Outlook is the perfect place to honor her son's memory.

“Jacob was an outdoors kid,” Jones told the gathering. “He intuitively knew that how we interact and engage with nature could pave a beautiful path to personal growth and spiritual awareness. That stayed with him throughout his life. He constantly sought that environment of oneness with nature - what he and I liked to call 'Sublime Adventure'.”

Unlike its predecessor, the new tower is ADA accessible. Visitors can climb to Jacob's Outlook through a series of stairs or via more than 830 feet of switchback ramps.

In her speech ahead of the ribbon cutting, District Commissioner Suzi Vogelgesang declared that the tower “is sure to be one of our residents' and visitors' favorite places in all of Boca Raton.”

A 2016 graduate of Boca Raton High School, Jacob died in a 2018 Utah traffic accident. At the time Jacob was enrolled at Vanderbilt University – the school that his sister, Mia, also attended and graduated from in 2021.

“On behalf of the City of Boca Raton, it is an honor to be here today to recognize the generosity of the Kosowsky family for this wonderful tribute to Jake,” Mayor Singer said.

The southern exposure of Jacob's Outlook features a plaque honoring Jacob. The inscription on it, penned by Jones, reads:

A vista to inspire the soul 
From the depths of the ocean 
to the skies above 
In loving memory of Jacob Kosowsky
May you be moved by its beauty 
And hold it in your heart

Jacob's father, Stephen Kosowsky, described his son as being “very contemplative.”  Stephen expects to visit the vista often.

“I've got a lot of people who weren't able to attend Sunday, so I'll definitely come with all of them – including [District Commissioner Craig] Ehrnst,” Stephen said. “Without him, this probably never would have happened.”

The Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District funds the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, located on A1A north of Palmetto Park Rd. Stephen credits Ehrnst, a family friend who coached a young Jacob in the Soccer Association of Boca Raton, with suggesting the project.

“Our hope for the tower is that this profound understanding sort of allows us and guides us to live with deep meaning in all of our lives,” Jones said.

Ribbon cutting for Jacob's Outlook

Surrounded by District Commissioners Steve Engel and Suzi Vogelgesang, along with several Boca Raton City Councilmembers, Mayor Scott Singer and Sharilyn Jones cut the ribbon officially opening Jacob's Outlook.

Jacob's outlook walkway

The walkway to Jacob's Outlook rises 44 feet about Boca Raton.

Sailboat as seen from Jacob's Outlook

Jacob's Outlook provides stunning views of Boca Raton.

For more scenes from the ribbon cutting and from atop Jacob's Outlook, visit this Photo Gallery.

This story originally appeared in the June 2024 edition of our District Dispatch newsletter. To receive future newsletters via email, enter your email address below, then click "Send Me District Newsletter Updates!"