Wednesday, May 11, 2016

2016 Tulip Time Festival

I've been hearing about the week long Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Mi for about five years now. Each year, I happen to be traveling in a different direction or I simply forget. This year I made sure to plan ahead. Mother's Day happened to be on the first weekend of the festival, so I grabbed my Suzi along for a road trip.

Holland is about a three hour drive from Chicago, so we packed our snacks and headed out at 7:30am. I wanted to avoid the crowds in order to take better pictures. We made a few pit stops on our way, but we were still able to make it by 10am (ET). 

Our first stop was Neil's Dutch Village. It replicates the Netherlands in the 1800s with its architecture and canals, along some beautiful gardens. There are tons of activities for families with small children. A mini farm for petting animals, a carousel, a farris wheel, slides, swings and so much more. 
Besides the family activities there is also a fabulous gift shop, which I found to be super affordable. If you chose to leave your vehicle here you may as there are shuttles available to take you to the festival.


Next we headed over to the Windmill Gardens Island, which I was most excited to see. Unfortunately this spring was much colder than usual, so the majority of the tulips had died and lost its color. There was a patch that seems to been added just before the festival begun.



We made the mistake and parked in the downtown area and walked to the gardens, but there is a lot of spaces available on the island. After we were finished with our photo ops we headed over to the downtown area that had a lot of vendors selling really nice merchandise. 
For someone who actually has traveled to the Netherlands, I wasn't too impressed, but overall I had a fabulous time with my mom no matter the circumstances.

If I happen to go again in the future, I'd probably go a week before the festival starts to see the tulips in their peak and I would definitely avoid the weekends and stay away from the crowds. 

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