Windmill Island Gardens

Matt Helmus, manager of Windmill Island Gardens, told us of some exciting plans for the park. The city developed the park in the 1960s. The peak number of annual visitors was 100,000-120,000 people early on. Residents of the Holland area can visit the park for free. The park had been costing more than it brought in for years. Matt was hired seven years ago to manage the park. He has made many changes to reduce costs and bring in more visitors. Some of the challenges are the limited parking on the island and the long causeway.
The Island staff is looking at new attractions, mosaic sculptures, and winterizing the venue tent. Next week the Art Gala is happening. There are 48 garden plots for the community. Trees that died on the island because of high water levels were chainsaw carved into tulip sculptures.
Magic at the Mill
The Holland Convention and Visitors Bureau has been looking to promote winter activities. There are other communities in Michigan that have successful winter festivals. The Island staff started researching other winter attractions. LMC ballpark in Comstock Park has a drive-through lighting display. Downtown Grand Rapids has the World of Winter Festival.
Frankenmuth has a large automated singing Christmas tree. Matt contacted the company and got a price quote. The price was higher than the park wanted to spend. However, the company said they were working on a new product, 2 foot high, singing, lighted tulips.
For the first 3 weekends of December, Windmill Island will sell timed tickets to "Magic at the Mill" featuring a 120 X 180-foot bed of singing tulips with a light show. The show will be about 8 minutes long. The rest of the Island will be lit as well.