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A Guide to Surviving Tulip Time with Kids

posted May 4, 2012 by Stacey Heneveld

Downtown Holland is already buzzing with activity in preperation for the 83rd annual Tulip Time festival, eventhough the festival doesn't officially kick off until May 5! 

Whether you will be visting the festival for the first time or you attend each and every year, here are a few tips to surviving with kids in tow!

1. Check the schedule before you arrive.

There are a lot of events going on during the week of Tulip Time, besides gazing at the lovely tulips, and some pretty fun ones for the kids! Since time is usually of the essense when kids are involved, be sure to check the time and location of the events you want to hitt. Also, remember to factor in time for traffic, parking (chances are you'll have a distance to walk from your car to the event), and unloading the kids and gear from the car!

2. Bring a stroller or wagon.

While your kids may be big enough to do the majority of walking on their own, having a stroller or wagon handy can be a lifesaver! Not only can you use it to carry whatever purchases you make along the way, but, chances are, your kids are going to get tired at some point. You'll appreciate that wagon when you find yourself carrying your toddler, wooden shoes, and a half eaten elephant ear all the way back to the car, which is parked at the opposite end of downtown! (Hint: If you forget your stroller or wagon at home, visit us at the Family Rest Area and we'll help you out!)

3. Anticipate weather change.

This is Michigan, after all! The weather can change pretty quickly throughout a day and making sure your little one doesn't get too hot or too cold can really affect how much fun you have downtown. Simply toss some light jackets, extra clothes (in case of spills), an umbrella, and sunblock into the car before you leave. You will also want that change of clothes if you are planning on dressing your little ones up in some Dutch apparel. Grab some pictures of them all dressed up but then swap out their outfits for ones that you don't mind getting a little messy for the rest of the day! And don't forget to apply and reapply that sunblock during the day!!!

4. Pack a snack (or meal).

It wouldn't be Tulip Time if you didn't indulge in the “culinary arts” of the festival. Eat a corn dog, followed by a funnel cake, and top it off with ice cream. But, if you’re planning on spending the day out you will want to pack something a little more nutritious for snacking or as a meal. Likely your child will have a meltdown at some point, so why tempt fate with a sugar induced crash or a hungry kid? Some carrot sticks, crackers, or granola can help balance out that blood sugar and curb hunger. If you’re going to be out for multiple meals, pack some sandwiches or sit down to eat at one of the many restaurants downtown. And be sure to bring plenty of water for the day! With all that walking and Dutch-dancing, you will want to avoid getting dehydrated!

5. Take a break!

While it may make sense for you to just “make a day of it” and forego naps so you can take in all the festivities, consider breaking your day up. Enjoy some activities in the morning, head home for naps and then head back for some evening fun. It will give everyone a much needed break! Or, stop by Pocket Park and take advantage of this year's Family Rest Area! You'll get to take a break while your kids can still enjoy a few activities!!!

Now, go dust off those wooden shoes, charge those camera batteries, and get ready for a tulip-tastic Tulip Time!

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