Playtime: A day trip to the tulip fields, plus other spring break ideas

Spring brings out the people and tulips. Tulip Town, Mount Vernon. (2017 file photo by David Carlos)

It’s officially spring break in the Edmonds School District. According to my dictionary, (read: Google) Spring Fever is “a feeling of restlessness and excitement felt at the beginning of spring.” I don’t know if it’s Spring Fever or the excitement of not being in school for a week, but I’ve noticed a special level of wackiness not only at home, but also at school when I most recently was in my youngest son’s class.

My oldest son asked me what our plans were for the week and instead of a laundry list of things I’d planned (I’ve been more motivated in the past), I think I might have sighed. I thought a range of things, from ‘you’ll ask me to play video games a million times’ to ‘we’ll sleep in a bit and you’ll make your own breakfast.’ What’s most likely is we will start the days slowly and have more steam for fun stuff at the beginning of the week than at the end of the week.

One fun option for spring break, than can be done fairly inexpensively if you have your own transportation, is the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, which is happening in the month of April. A Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announcement says “visitors travel in from all over the world” for this event, so it’s good to plan your route ahead of time if you decide to see the tulips.

First, let’s discuss when the tulips will actually be up. According to the Tulip Festival website, “the prediction that the tulips will likely START to bloom toward the end of March, appears to be right on track” They added that, “Once the fields begin to show color and blooms of tulips, it generally takes several days for them to be in full bloom.” As of Thursday, March 29, Roozengaarde’s Bloom Map says, “We may see the first of the blooms by the weekend, or early next week — Mother Nature will decide.”

WSDOT put together a video with tips on how to get the most out of your experience while avoiding as much traffic as possible and following the rules of the road. They also offer an alternate route if you’re heading from Edmonds. The route chosen by many travelers is I-5 to exit 226 (State Route 536/Kincaid Street), which heads into Mount Vernon, easily connecting you to shops and restaurants. They warn though that during peak weekend visiting hours, traffic can quickly back up onto the highway. WSDOT suggests using exit 221 and then heading west, toward Conway, in order to enter the flower fields from the south.

We have had varying degrees of luck seeing the tulips with the kids. The drive is definitely a factor. Google Maps says the travel time between Mount Vernon and Edmonds is 54 minutes during non-peak hours, and WSDOT reminded us that there are no public restrooms in the tulip fields. It is often very muddy and at the very least, very dusty. Last year, my youngest slipped and got wet/muddy to a level no amount of baby wipes could fix. We ended up stopping at Cabela’s on the way home, which was interesting and there were free fudge samples, and he ended up in an extra pair of suit pants that had been left in the back of the van from the school play.

This trip was too early to see anything but the daffodils, which are great, but not as abundant in the fields as the tulips. We ended up at Roozengarde, which resulted in some cute pictures, a nice walk, and the aforementioned pants. Locations like Roozengarde Display Gardens and Tulip Town have parking lots and restrooms, but also charge admission of $7 — kids under 5 and 6 respectively are free. Both locations note that no pets or drones are allowed at their locations.

There are different events, listed HERE on the festival site, each day including a salmon barbecue, bike tours, and “Art in a Pickle Barn.” If you’re headed up mid-week during spring break, it’s not likely to be weekend-level busy, but this week is still a crap shoot for seeing the bright colors. For more information, including maps, events and a Bloom Map, head to

Another local option is Glazed and Amazed. They offer a spring break camp Tuesday, April 3 through Friday, April 5. What’s great about this option is you can choose to attend all three days of camp, which runs from 12:30 to 4 p.m., or just one. This camp, for ages 6 and up, includes two projects each day and a snack. I called them to make sure there was still space, and you can still register for all three or any one day of camp. For more information and registration, you can visit their Events Calendar or call them at 425-673-5474.

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, a mom of two young boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time. You can find her on Twitter trying to make sense of begging kids to ”just eat the mac n cheese”

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