Every spring, Holland, Michigan celebrates their heritage with the Tulip Festival. Lots of wooden shoes, dancing, and – my favorite – tulips! David and I went last week, but were just a little bit too early to see all the blooms. So my girlfriend and I made plans to come out during peak color. We broke all the rules, and pulled the kids from school early. Something about playing hookie made the day even more fun 😉
Instead of heading downtown and fighting crowds to see small patches of tulips planted along the streets, we headed to the big farm. I don’t know why more people don’t do this. It is acres and acres of tulips. All different varieties and colors. I would love to see Veldheer’s from the sky, because I bet it is just rectangles of color. We spent an hour or so just roaming the farm, and looking at the pretty blooms.
A few tips to make your Veldheer’s Farm trip go smoothly:
- wear closed-toe shoes. I didn’t, and my feet were filthy.
- if you come before or after the tulip festival, admission is free. During the tulip festival, it’s $10-13.
- You can keep track of the number stakes in each tulip plot, if you fall in love with some, you can order them on your way out, and Veldheer’s will ship them to you in the fall!
- Avoid the stroller. You’ll want to walk through the fields, and a stroller is not going to make it.
- The farm will charge you $100 if you pick or damage the flowers. Make sure you tell your kids this about 10 times.
- Bathroom situation: they have about 8 port-a-johns on site. If you have little kids, make sure they go before you get there.
After the farm, we packed up and drove to Nelis’ Dutch Village. This used to be part of an outlet mall, and in the nearby parking lot, stores are still open. However, once you walk in, you’re transported to a Dutch Village! It is a must-see location during the Tulip Festival! All the employees are in costume, and fun, wooden shoes are everywhere.
They have cheese, fudge, and other fun shops. The kids enjoyed the petting zoo, and stable where you can hold bunnies – there is a hand washing station nearby! They had a few rides, and since we went in the middle of a weekday, the kids didn’t have to wait! They had a ferris wheel, a carousel, pump-car trains, and a swing ride. They also had a few play sets, and fun kid toys/activities scattered throughout. Peyton absolutely loved the little, old-fashioned Dutch school house!
A few things to know about Nelis’ to make your visit easier:
- While they advertise parking is always fee, the park is not. I paid $32 for me and the girls. That did get us a wristband, so we could ride any ride we wanted, though.
- We went during the day, and it was empty. The kids could run around, and ride rides more than once.
- They do traditional Dutch dances throughout the day, and will announce it on the loud speaker. If you’ve never seen it, it’s interesting, but your kids will bored in 2 minutes. We opted to skip it. Anyone who was at the park seemed to go, so we had it completely to ourselves for that time!
- The fudge and taffy shop is to the back of the park, and that building has the best bathrooms. You walk through the shops, and into a restaurant. They have a bathroom there that is much nicer than the one inside the village. Still no diaper changing table.
- Bring hand sanitizer. They do have the hand washing station I mentioned, but it was out of paper towel when we went, and there are LOTS of things for the kids to get into!
Overall, despite the cloudy skies, we had the best day. I took about 250 photos, came home with a cheese ball, and a pound of fudge and taffy, respectively. Until next year, Holland!