Windmill Island Gardens caps record-setting year with extended weekend hours

Holland attraction is celebrating another banner year in 2023. 

After welcoming a record number of visitors through the spring, summer, and fall, Windmill Island Gardens will open for weekends through mid-October and bring back the popular Magic at the Mill holiday light event in December.

Once again, thousands of guests visited the windmill, gardens, and Dutch attractions at the city-owned heritage park.

Home to the historic working Dutch windmill De Zwaan, the park welcomed over 140,000 guests for the second year in a row and the second time in its history. Visitor numbers surpassed record 2022 counts this month and will continue to grow as the park will remain open seven days a week through Sunday, Oct. 1, and selected days beyond that.

Hard work pays off

Development Manager Matt Helmus attributes the park’s continued success to a hard-working staff that provides a friendly Dutch “welkom” to guests during May’s popular Tulip Time festival and throughout the summer.

“After catching our breath from a record-breaking Tulip Time, our staff focused on keeping the park looking wonderful throughout the summer and fall. It’s great when hard work pays off with record numbers,” says Helmus. 

He estimates final visitor counts will end up somewhere around 145,000 for the year. To keep that number edging higher, the park will open on selected days through mid-October. 

Artisan Market and Magic at the Mill

After Oct. 1, the park will be open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Oct. 15 at a reduced admission of $5 for adults and free for kids under 15. Additionally, the park will feature an Artisan Market as part of Holland’s Fall Fest on Oct. 6 and 7.

Hours of the market will be noon to 5 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Hayrides will also be available Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $1 per ride.

Along with planting tulip bulbs this fall, staff will be busy preparing for the second annual Magic at the Mill holiday light event. Guests will be able to enjoy thousands of holiday lights on Friday and Saturday nights from Dec. 1 through 16. The event, which drew around 9,000 visitors in its inaugural year, features a “tulip field” of 1,000 LED blossoms displaying a light-and-music show along with visits from Sinterklaas, holiday music on the Amsterdam street organ, Dutch-style holiday food, kids’ activities and plenty of photo opportunities. Due to large crowds, tickets are designated for specific dates and times and must be purchased in advance. Prices are $10 for adults and $5 for kids.

Public ticket sales open on Nov. 1 at Staff recommends getting tickets early as sellouts are expected once again, even with an increased capacity. More information on these events and more can be found at
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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.