The Keukenhof is located in Lisse, The Netherlands. Lisse is in the center of the bulb field region of Holland – where all the tulips grow. The Keukenhof is open at the height of spring for about eight weeks every year (from about mid March to mid May) and houses more than 7 million flowers. We visited this year – the first week of May – with our two kids (ages 2 years and 6 months). What an amazing tourist destination. If you have plans to be anywhere in Western Europe in the spring time, the Keukenhof is a MUST see.
Because Lisse is a small town with very few hotels or travel accommodations, the best way to get there is to stay in a neighboring city and take a day trip by bus into the festival. We recommend staying in Leiden because it’s a bit closer and a lot cheaper than Amsterdam. You can buy a combo bus (round trip) and entrance ticket at the Leiden Central Station for about 22 Euro. (Children under age 4 are free). Buses come and go from the gardens about every 25 min. There is food available for purchase inside the park but the prices are high and the lines are long. So, it’s a good idea to pack your own snacks and lunches before you go. While you can leave and re-enter the park, the Keukenhof isn’t close to anything but flowers so don’t plan on finding a grocery store or a restaurant outside the gates.
It is a very family friendly experience. Once you are inside the gardens, in addition to the flowers, you will find a small petting zoo, a couple of play grounds (with teeter-totters, slides, and swings) and a maze. For older children the front desk offers a scavenger hunt around the park and educational information about the flowers.
Just outside the gates you can rent bicycles for about 10 Euro per person. They offer single and tandem bikes as well as attachable baby seats and bike trailers. Mid-day, our little family took a four-hour bike ride around Lisse to see the windmills and the bulb fields. There is no time limit of the bikes (as long as you have them back by closing time). You’ll ride past millions of flowers planted in straight lines like Iowa Corn. You can even stop and walk through the flowers and take some pictures.
If you live too far away to get your family all the way to Holland, there are lots of regional spring time flower festivals all around the globe. Places like The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Aurora, OR; The Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa; or The Flower Bulb Jubilee in Belle Plain, KS. So get outside this spring time and behold the beauty of the earth.
If you have a flower festival in your area let us know about it in the comments section below.