Traveling with a baby requires a lot more thought than just hopping into a car (even more thought than with two high maintenance dogs!). We’ve always been an adventurous family, and have committed to keep it that way with our new addition. The Skagit Valley Tulips in Washington were the perfect first outing with our five week old infant, Noel!
This is my third year attending a local tulip festival. Flowers are my favorite part of Spring, and walking amongst the fields has become somewhat of a tradition. This year we knew it would be different, with a teeny tiny baby coming along for the adventure. Thinking ahead proved key in our first big outing with a baby, and we successfully enjoyed our time visiting the multi-colored fields!
About Skagit Valley Tulips
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is a month-long tulip festival in Washington State. The festival usually aligns with the month of April, but can be open earlier or later depending on the tulip bloom. Located about an hour and a half North of Seattle, this farm valley has two main gardens: RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town. RoozenGaarde has more tulips to offer: they have a 5 acre display garden and over 25 acres of tulip fields. Although Tulip Town is smaller, there seem to be more varieties of tulips and they have an indoor display for rainy days!
The easiest way to reach the festival is by car, but there are also tours that take you there. Although we arrived by car, tours may be easier for families, to eliminate the hassle of parking and/or traveling from one field to another.
Rates to enjoy the fields vary on the time of week. On weekdays the cost is $7 USD/ pp and on weekends you will pay $10 USD/ pp. Children aged 5 and under are free! This is for each of the fields, so if you want to visit both in one day I assume you would pay for both. The hours for each field vary slightly. At RoozenGaarde they are open from 9 AM- 7 PM, whereas Tulip Town is open from 9 AM- 5 PM.
Truthful Travel Tips for Families
Plan Parking Ahead!
Planning ahead starts with planning how you’ll get to the Skagit Valley Tulips. If you are going to drive to the tulip festival, you should think of where you will park beforehand! The tulip festival sees upwards of 1 million visitors each year, and that can create some long parking lines and some serious traffic!
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If you have a baby, toddler or young child, you will want to park as close as possible to minimize walking distance to the fields. The festival website offers interactive and printable maps of the entire festival, in which you can see the official parking lots and their proximity to each garden. In my experience, Tulip Town has parking that is closer to the tulip field. We went during a weekday, before full bloom, and there was still a busy parking lot. When we visited RoozenGaarde a different year, we struggled to find parking at the official lot on a weekend day. The lot was located across the street from the field.
My tip? Arrive early or on a quieter day (before full bloom) to try and snag free parking outside of either of the two main flower fields. Other, non-official lots, often require payment and are not right near the entrance of the fields. You can check out the bloom status of RoozenGaarde to see when full bloom will be!
Wear Your Baby!
The tulip fields, although they can look pretty uniform, are still located in nature. The bulbs are planted throughout a field of dirt, and you can imagine how muddy it gets when it rains.
To find advice on proper footwear to bring to a tulip festival, check out last year’s Chilliwack Tulip Fest post!
This creates an environment not really conducive to strollers. On a sunny day this may not be an issue but the mud can get pretty sticky and could potentially create problems. Although we did see families with strollers while we were there, there were many more parents carrying their infants.
We carried Noel in our Lillebaby All Seasons carrier. The carrier is quite sturdy, and has many different options to fit babies from newborn all the way up to toddler age. Walking through the Skagit Valley Tulips hassle-free made our experience much better, and it was easy to get him in and out of the carrier for pictures.
Stray Away From The Crowd!
As noted above, the tulip fields can get quite busy. Although it is tempting to start taking pictures as soon as you enter the fields, it is a great idea to walk to the very edge of the tulip fields and start there.
In our experience, we did not find that the tulips had completely bloomed at the edge of the fields. However, we were able to find some areas further from the crowds that were filled with beautiful pink tulips, and the vibrant red ones were in the distance. From some angles you can get some pretty cool shots on a sunny day: mountains, barns and even the flying kites.
It is much easier to take your time getting an infant or a young child set up from a photo when there are less people around. You can feel rushed if people are waiting to get their perfect shot as well.
Note: You can damage the bulbs and the Skagit Valley Tulips if you walk in between the rows. There are signs everywhere, but people still seem to do it. You can get beautiful shots without breaking the rules, you just need to get creative!
Explore beyond the fields!
Although the main attraction is the fields of tulips, there is much more to explore. Tulips are pretty, but there are only so many pictures you can take with them before you (and your infant/child!) have had enough.
Each of the fields has something to offer. At RoozenGaarde there is a huge display garden with many different varieties of flowers. It is located at the entrance to their tulip field area, and everything is nice and well kept. Tulip Town is definitely the winner for family-friendly activities. Before you even get out to the fields there is a tented area, in which you can purchase food, gifts, or walk around the indoor tulip garden. For older kids there is face painting. Outside of the tent, there are display gardens and kite flyers. The kites are cool animals such as octopus and pterodactyls that fly high in the sky, and little fish closer to the ground.
One thing we did not get a chance to do, but looked like fun, was taking the blue trolley around the field. It would be a cool idea to see the fields from another perspective. This might also be a good way to take a break during what may be a long day out with your infant/child. There is so much to do at each location, you could easily spend hours there after touring the fields!
Other Tulip Festivals
If you’re not close enough to Seattle to make it a worthwhile trip with your infant/child, there are other festivals in the Pacific Northwest.
North of the border (Canada) there are two big tulip festivals:
Tulips of The Valley is located in the Fraser Valley, in Chilliwack (East of Vancouver). It is the largest of its kind in Western Canada! It seems like this year they have added an Instagram-worthy swing with a backdrop of tulips!
The Bloom Tulip Festival is located in Abbotsford, a neighboring city to Chilliwack. Looking at their tagged photos on their Instagram page, it seems like they have really cute props such as a bench and some chairs set up along the perimeter of the fields!
South of Seattle there is another big festival:
Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest is located about an hour South of Portland, OR. These fields probably have the best backdrop, with one of Oregon’s biggest mountains, Mt. Hood in the distance.
Visiting a tulip festival is a Spring tradition, and as we found out this year, that does not need to change once a baby comes along. With a few adjustments and more planning ahead, a day out at the tulip festival can be a positive one, and one that can fill photograph albums (or, let’s be real, more likely Instagram squares) to look back on and enjoy!
Samantha (Adrian & Noel),