Celebrate Tulip Time in Pella, Iowa

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Celebrate Tulip Time in Pella, Iowa

Pella Tulip Time, one of my favorite May events, is right around the corner.  The annual event is located in (you guessed it) Pella, Iowa, and is only a 45-minute drive from Des Moines.  This might seem like a little bit of a drive, especially with young kids, but it’s definitely worth it. Where else can you see over 380,000 tulips (conditions are perfect for the tulips this year says my inside source) and get a Dutch Letter?

Tulip Time typically takes place the first weekend in May. Each day you can catch either an afternoon or evening parade where you will see floats, marching bands, and all other sorts of people marching in wooden shoes and dutch costumes. Along with the parade, there are many other activities planned all day long. 

Bookmark these other Pella posts to help plan your trip:

Pella Tulip Time Activities

Two activities that might intrigue you are the inflatable rides for kids and the Grand Stand Shows at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. each day.  Grand Stand shows have lots of great family-friendly entertainment ranging from Dutch Dancers to Street Scrubbers. 

Also for the kiddos, there is the de Kinderhoek (Kids Corner) in the Northeast corner of Central Park. Children of all ages will enjoy games, crafts, and activities in Central Park.  A small fee is charged for some games. Another place to check out would be the Dutch Craft Market in West Market Park.  You will find a large variety of handmade crafts and items to look through plus food and beverage stands.

As you walk through town make sure you stop by the 1882 City Hall and Fire Station. This was very interesting to take a look at all the old suits, fire hoses, and fire trucks.

Pella Tulip Time Food and Drink

So you have all the activities, parades, and beautiful tulips, but the real reason I like to go to Tulip Time is for the food.  Most importantly the Dutch Letters.  I recommend going to Jaarsma Bakery to get this delicious pastry. 

You might be tempted to go to Vander Ploeg Bakery which is only a few stores down from Jaarsma.  You will see there is no line formed outside of Vander Ploeg and think I will just get a Dutch Letter there.  But, let me tell you, waiting 10 minutes is worth it!  If for some reason you don’t like your Jaarsma Dutch Letter, I will gladly come to eat it for you!  Two other foods worth trying are Dutch Tacos and Dutch Nachos.  Both items are full of Pella Bologna!

Other things to do in and around Pella, Iowa

Pella Historical Society

We discovered several other things to do in the city of Pella, Iowa. Be sure to check out the Historical Society and Museum – my family loved it! There were a lot of hands-on activities and the kids (including myself) learned a lot.

Pella, Iowa, Pella Historical Museum, Pella Tulip Time

Elk Rock State Park

Elk Rock State Park located in Knoxville, Iowa is located about an hour southeast of Des Moines, Iowa, and not far from Pella at all! It was the perfect little 1/2 day trip full of hiking, splashing, and tons of birds to see. We also packed a picnic to enjoy after our hike.

North Overlook Playscape

The North Overlook Playscape is a playground made of natural materials. This playground is located in the North Overlook Recreation Area on Lake Red Rock. This is another fun place for kids to get their hands dirty and use their imaginations.


Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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