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Explore Windmill Island Gardens with Your Family This Summer!

Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, Michigan is a unique and beautiful destination to visit with your whole family. It is the perfect place to experience natural beauty wrapped up in a historic, educational opportunity.

In order to maximize your time at Windmill Island Gardens, you can use this handy guide to best explore Windmill Island Gardens with your family!

10 Things Kids Love About Windmill Island Gardens

windmill island gardens sign

#1 Watch a Movie in the Post House

Every 15 minutes, a movie describing Windmill Island Gardens plays in the Post House. This is the perfect introduction to your fun-filled day at the Island and gives a great preview to the Windmill Tour.

#2 Listen to the Amsterdam Street Organ

The antique Amsterdam Street Organ plays at quarter to and quarter past the hour. Dance along with your kiddos to the different songs designed to liven up parades. Make sure to take a family photo in front of the organ, too!

RELATED: Find out why the Academy of Music is Grand Rapids’ is Voted Top Music School!

#3 Wander up to the Windmill

After you finish at the organ, wander through the gardens and over the bridge towards the windmill. Each garden bed this year is themed to resemble the colorful patterns of native Michigan Butterflies!

Inside each flower bed is an informational card and photo to teach kids of all ages about the butterfly that the bed resembles. There are a multitude of great photo opportunities along this path!

#4 Tour the Authentic Windmill

Learn a little history with your kids! Go on a guided tour of the De Zwaan Windmill and learn about the history of the mill and also about how it currently operates. This is the last windmill to leave the Netherlands and the only authentic, Dutch working windmill in the United States. This is an experience that you won’t get anywhere else in the U.S.

2014 Windmill Rudbeckia

#5 Watch the Dutch Dance and Style Show

In the summer, between 11 am and 4 pm, there is a dutch dance on the hour next to the windmill. Watch the dance with your kids and learn about the costumes worn by the dancers.


#6 Explore the Little Netherlands Display

Walk through a miniature display of a dutch village. All of the pieces were hand carved and hand painted by early settlers. Children love to see the tiny display.

#7 Send Dutch Mail

Write a note and slip it into their authentic mailbox from the Netherlands. Postcards are available for purchase at the Gift Shop, located right by the Dutch mailbox.

RELATED: Eat Your Way Through Grand Rapids: A Family’s Guide to Kid-Friendly Eats

#8 Take a Carousel Ride

Did you know their carousel is from the Netherlands? Kids can choose from over 30 animals to ride on! Parents can ride on the bench or watch and take photos from outside.

windmill island gardens carousel

#9 Burn Energy in the Play Area

If your kids still have energy to burn, head to the play area (right behind the carousel) and let them run. Enjoy the playground, miniature house, giant checkers, and more! (BONUS: If your kids are into the Pokémon Go craze, Windmill Island has 2 Gyms and 5 Pokestops.)

#10 Walk through the Children’s Garden

Located adjacent to the Play Area, the Children’s Garden is the perfect place to end the day with your little ones. With unique looking and different textured plants, kids will love it!


  • There is a decent amount of walking at the Island, so bring your stroller or wagon along for younger kids.
  • There is a picnic shelter in the park, so feel free to bring a lunch for your family (limited concessions also available in the gift shop).
  • The only restrooms on the Island are located in the Post House.
  • Have questions during your visit? Ask anyone in costume or visit the Visitor Services area in the Post House.

windmill island gardens shop

While this outlines the big attractions at Windmill Island Gardens, there is much more to offer as well. There are many educational and play opportunities at Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, MI!

Be sure to plan a day visit with your family soon.

windmill island gardens with kids

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About the Author:

Peg Theobald
Peg is an adventure-seeker, coffee lover, amateur baker, urban dweller, and self-proclaimed GR-enthusiast. She is passionate about nap time, podcasts, reading to her boys, spicy tacos, emojis and date night.

One Comment

  1. Bobby Saint October 30, 2017 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    That is one huge, fine-looking windmill. I’ve actually never seen one up close and personal. I’ve always been amazed by these windmills and how some of them are able to produce energy without the use of electricity. I will be searching for some sites that offer a windmill tour and tag my kids along for a day of fun and recreation. Thanks.

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