Keukenhof Tulip Gardens- Netherlands

Landon and the two-toned tulips

When we found out we were visiting the Netherlands in March and April, we had two things on our must-do list- windmills and tulips. We visited the Kinderdijk windmills, and waited as long as we could to see the tulips to wait for them to bloom. The early bulb flowers were out in March, but we waited until tulips started to show themselves throughout the cities I visited before we spent the day in a giant tulip garden. I was surprised so many varieties were bloomed, and there were more that were not quite there bloomed yet.

Keukenhof is one of the largest flower gardens in the world. Seven million bulbs are planted in the 72 acre garden each year. 800 different varieties of tulips are displayed in the garden. They bloom mid-March through mid-May. I was surprised by the amazing variety of colors and types of flowers in the garden. 
Daffodils
Trying to get a good shot for the calendar competition…

I loved these red tulips above with curling petals. I’m no flower connoisseur, but I had not seen flowers like these before. Another favorite flower from our walk around the gardens were the hyacinths, which were out in force in a host of different shades.

Delft Blue Hyacinths, after the famous pottery paint color

We arrived at Keukenhof by car, so we came in a completely different (and back door) entrance vs. tour buses and large groups. This was a blessing because we could explore the park separate from the swarms of tour bus travelers, and started out at the more secluded end of the park. As we ventured onto the smaller, inner paths, we found less and less people and it was actually quite peaceful compared to the main thoroughfares with thousands of tourists all around.

Swans and hyacinths, and not-quite-bloomed tulips
Many-colored hyacinths
Early bulb flowers along the lake

One obstacle we ran into right away was keeping Landon off of the grass and perfectly manicured flower beds. There were tons of gardeners out making sure everything was absolutely perfect, and we didn’t want our two-year-old ruining the whole thing. The green hills were especially calling his name, but after a few escapes and chasing him around the grass, we strapped him into his stroller until we were in less tempting environs and there were plenty of things to do that did not involve ruining Europe’s flower garden.

My favorite- mixed flower beds

The whole back of Keukenhof gardens were flower beds separated by type and color. My favorite beds were in the middle of the garden, and they were mixed with all varieties of flowers. I loved how the flowers were at different heights and shapes, and so many colors! I like a bit of chaos and these beds were definitely more my style.

Happy in front of a mixed bed

We finally found the kid’s area of Keukenhof. It included several play structures, a petting zoo, and a zip line. Landon also made his own play by balancing on brick walls separating different levels and flower beds. Landon was freaked out by the goats at first, but then really enjoyed petting them and chasing them around the petting zoo pen.

Balancing boy
Not quite sure about the goat on the table
But both boy and goat warmed up…

After the petting zoo and slides and swings, Landon spotted a zip line where bigger boys were playing. After waiting for them to be done, he announced that he wanted to go on the zip line. Austin, being a wonderful husband, asked me first to see if Landon was big enough to go on the zip line. He put Landon on the zip line, and I walked alongside it in case Landon decided to let go mid-zip. Landon did great! He held on tight and loved the rush of zipping along the zip line! He asked to go again so we did two runs before moving on.

Bringing the zip line back
Zipping, holding on for dear life!
Dismount from the zip line, with a happy face
Close up two-tones
Interesting petals
Proof I was there!
Loved the color of the inside of this daffodil!
Loved these, red with black centers!
My boys and tulips!

Orchid, love pavilion

Along with the outdoor gardens, there were several indoor showrooms full of more delicate flowers and tons of varieties of tulips that had bloomed! They were in large boxes all close together with labels for all of the different kinds. It was neat to see all the tulips that had not quite bloomed outside yet.

Circles of purple
Fancy daffodil

In another area of the park, there was a “Miffy” house. Miffy is a beloved Dutch cartoon rabbit character. Landon was intrigued by the stuffed Miffies in the gift shop.

Miffy clogs
Miffy flowerbed
Cute boy
Canal flower boat

Along with the flower gardens, pavilions, and kids’ area, there were typical Dutch canals and a windmill. Landon and I climbed up to the observation deck to see the commercial tulip fields that surround Keukenhof. They let the flowers bloom, then cut the tops off in late April before they harvest the bulbs. Most of the fields closest to us were empty, but there were fields way out in the distance that just looked like bands of color. Keukenhof was the most beautiful flower garden I have ever visited. This is a must-see for anyone going to the Netherlands in April and May!

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