Stop and Smell the Flowers at “Tulip Fest 2012”

Tulip Field

The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm.

Photos @2012, Julia M. Ozab.

Red, orange, pink, yellow, and violet: symphonies of color serenaded cotton-ball clouds and a bright blue sky. It was a beautiful morning last  Saturday at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm; we chose the perfect day to enjoy their 2012 Tulip Festival.

We drove up from Eugene that morning, arriving shortly before noon. The first thing our daughter Anna wanted to do was ride the Cow Train. We bought her a ticket for $2 and walked to the edge of the tulip field. Pulled by a John Deere Gator, a long row of black and white cow shaped cars rolled out alongside us. Each had a different name; Anna chose a cow named Chloe. We buckled her in, and the train rolled into the tulip field.

Cow train in the tulip field

The cow train rides through the tulips.

Anna had a rough ride on a similar pig train a couple of years ago so I followed along on foot in case she wanted off. No worries. She’s older now, and the path was very smooth. They rode up the middle of the field and across the far end—past a large photo platform—before returning back along the near side of the field. The train moved quickly, and I had trouble keeping up, until the driver took them on a loop around a large oak tree and I was able to catch up again.

After the ride, it was time for lunch. The Tulip Fest includes ample food options and seating, but we had packed our own lunch. There are numerous benches located all around the tulip field, giving visitors many places to stop, relax, and enjoy the sights and scents of all the beautiful flowers.

A bumpy slide

The slide is free, but it’s a little bumpy.

For kids, play options include several horse-shaped tire swings and a large corrugated slide. These structures are free year-round, but for the length of the festival there is also a large selection of carnival rides courtesy of Madjeck Jump Tents and Events (prices listed below).

Our next stop was what we had billed as “The Big Surprise.” Anna’s talked non-stop about riding horses for the last few weeks, so when we found out that the carnival area included a pony ride we knew it would be a big hit. As expected, Anna’s eyes lit up when she saw the ponies.

Anna on a pony.

Anna loves the pony ride.

The ponies are well-cared for. The ride area is under a large tent, providing plenty of shade. The ponies have ample hay and water, and they take shifts: there were always two ponies off to the side relaxing as the others took their turns in the circle.

After the pony ride, and a trip to a bounce house, it was photo time. The Tulip Fest is a photographer’s dream-come-true. To give our legs a break, we rode the tram out to the far end of the field, and then took our time strolling along the rows of multi-collored tulips. As we walked among the flowers, beautiful music floated past: a harpist played in the shadow of a cute wooden windmill, which—along with the many pair of oversized wooden shoes—lends a fun touch of old Holland to the farm.

Windmill and tulips

The windmill.

The Tulip Festival runs now through April 30, 2012 at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, 33814 S. Meridian Rd., Woodburn OR. It’s fun for kids, a feast for shutterbugs, and a can’t-miss for flower enthusiasts of all ages.

Tulips

A beautiful arrangement.

Parking: $5 per car, Mon – Fri; $10 per car, Sat – Sun; $20 per bus all week. There is ample handicapped parking a few steps from the gift shop, and the tram doubles as a parking shuttle.

Cow and Wooden Shoe Trains: $2 per ride. Cars comfortably seat kids and shorter adults.

Madjek Carnival Rides: $1 per ticket (most rides run five minutes)

  • Mechanical Bull: 2 tickets
  • “Finding Nemo” Inflatable (bounce and slide): 3 tickets
  • 18ft Inflatable Slide: 3 tickets
  • “Batman” Inflatable (bounce and  slide): 3  tickets
  • Rockwall: 3 tickets
  • “Jurassic Adventure II” Inflatable (bounce, slide, and climb): 4 tickets
  • “Adrenaline Rush” Inflatable (obstacle course and slide): 4 tickets
  • Air Trampoline: 5 tickets
  • Pony Rides: 5 tickets
  • Zipline: 7 tickets

Food and beverages including: Hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, curly fries, elephant ears, ice cream, kettle corn, beer, wine, soft drinks, and espresso.

For parents: Check out this handy Parents Guide to the Tulip Fest from Red Tricycle – Portland.

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