Tulips & Daffodils: Spring flower festivals for families

There’s still time to see a tulip, although the daffodils have mostly come and gone. Here are some general tips and book suggestions to consider — do you have any tips for field-goers? Any favorite restaurants? Please leave ’em in the comments!

Tulip Festival, Oregon

In Woodburn, over 40 acres of tulips and daffodils paint the Willamette Valley’s Wooden Shoe Farm.  Daily activities include a children’s play area, photogenic fields and weekend music jams and pony rides.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Washington

Washington State’s North Cascades area welcomes spring with a riot of color and events. Drive between flower growers, bakeries, artisan stores and restaurants. Roozengaarde Nursery is the largest bulb grower in the U.S., and offers many family-friendly activities and an adorable Dutch windmill. Check out the field map of growers and stops.

Tulip Festival, BC

Along Highway 1 between Vancouver and Hope, Fraser Valley farms welcome families at Tulip Festival, Tulipmania, and Limbert Mountain Farm locations. Look for live music, kids’ art activities and great photo ops.

General tips:

  • Rain funds our spring flower bonanza. So dress for mud and slime.
  • Pack cash for parking and pony rides.
  • Dress in layers – t-shirts, jeans, sweater, rain layer.
  • Flower colors pop in sunny day photos; early morning and later afternoon are best, so glare doesn’t wash out color.
  • Dress the kids in colorful clothes that will complement the tulips and daffodils.

Three books to continue the journey at home:

From Bulb to Daffodil by Ellen Weiss. How did those flowers grow? Gorgeous photos and clear descriptions help even young children understand a flower’s life cycle from bulb to bloom.

The Great Tulip Trade by Beth Wagner Brust. Can your child imagine tulips being more precious than gold, diamonds and furniture? This beginning reader introduces kids to the tulip craze of the Netherlands.

Hana in the Time of the Tulips by Deborah Noyes. Some parents were once so nutty over tulips that they forgot how to smile. Hana’s dad was one of those parents. This bittersweet book of Dutch tulipomania is reminiscent of recent boom-bust cycles over real estate and the tech businesses.

Lora Shinn writes about family travel, Pacific NW travel, grown-up travel...and travel in general. Her travel-related articles and essays have appeared in Family Fun, Parenting, AFAR, National Geographic Traveler, AAA magazines and Redbook, among others.

One Comment

  • Rebecca

    We’ve just come back from the Tulip Festival in Skagit County.
    I have to say we were a little disappointed, we only found one field which still had tulips in! The traffic around the one field was horrendous. Lots of waiting in traffic. It’s completely our fault for leaving it so late to go, so next time we’ll keep an eye on when they are blooming.

    All in all, a reasonable day. Nice to get out of Seattle, but would have liked more tulips!