Top Tips for Visiting a Tulip Festival With Dogs
If you love to take spring-themed photos of your dog, you may be looking for a dog friendly tulip festival.
Photos of dogs in tulip fields are popular on social media, expecially Instagram, but they’re also great memories to cherish for any dog owner.
There are only two tulip festivals where dogs are allowed in the Pacific Northwest.
In this article, I will share information about which tulip fields are dog friendly, share my tips for visiting with your pooch, and offer my insight into capturing the best photos.
Are Dogs Allowed to Visit Tulip Fields?
The rules about dogs will vary by tulip field.
In this article, I’m focusing on two of the most popular tuplip fields in the Pacific Northwest – The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival north of Seattle, WA and the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival south of Portland, OR.
Are dogs allowed at the Skagit Valley Tulip Fesitval?
Up until this year, dogs were not generally allowed at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.
The largest and most popular fields, RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town – don’t allow dogs in the garden.
However, in 2022, a new field began operating. Garden Rosalyn does allow allows well-behaved dogs on leashes.
There are also a few smaller tulip fields that take part in the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival event.
Some are on the map but you may also find some by driving around to look for them.
Some of these smaller, private fields may allow dogs if you ask.
Do note that the road shoulders in this rural area are very small to non exisitent, so parking on the roadside is not allowed.
You will need to find tulip fields that have off-street parking for this option.
Are dogs allowed at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fesitval?
Dogs have been and are still allowed at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Oregon.
They just ask that you follow basic etiquette if you are going to bring your dog – keep them on leash, pick up after your dog, and on’t let them dig in the tulip fields.
Details About the Wooden Shoe and Skagit Valley Tulip Festivals
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
The Skagit Valley is located near Mount Vernon, WA, which is located about 1.5 hours from Seattle.
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is designed as a driving tour. There is no one location that you go to for the festival.
The dog friendly tulip field – Garden Rosalyn – features 6 acres of tulips planted in fun designs, including stars, animals and manicured beds.
Admission is $12 per adult. Children 5 and under free and there is no extra charge to bring your dog.
Tickets available at the gate when you arrive but are also available online.
Garden Rosalyn will be open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day of the festival regarless of the weather.
Please note that drones are not allowed in the gardens or the fields.
Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival
The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is located in Woodburn, OR, which is about 1 hour south of Portland.
The Woodden Shoe Tulip Festival is comprised of just one farm, with 40 acres of tulips, so you can park your car and enjoy the day wandering around by foot.
Ticket prices range from $15 for week day adult day pass to $55 for a car load of people on a weekend.
Tickets must be purchased in advance online and you must select a specific date and time for your visit unless you purchase a season pass.
General field hours for 2022 are Monday through Friday: 9am – 6pm and Saturday and Sunday: 8am – 7pm, rain or shine.
If you purchase a season pass, you can enter the fields as many times as you want during the season and you can visit any day of the week without a reservation.
Most importantly, a season pass also allows early access to the tulip fields for sunrise between 5 and 9 am and late access to an hour after sunset.
A season pass for one person is $60, although I bought mine early season for $40.
Drones are generally prohibited at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival.
If you want to be able to fly a drone over the fields between 5 am and 8 am, you must purchase a season pass AND a drone operators pass.
When is the Best Time to Visit a Tulip Field?
Tulip blooms are influenced by weather so the best time to visit can’t be completely predicted.
During warmer spring weather, the tuplips tend to bloom earlier.
If there is a cold snap, like there was in the spring of 2022, the peak tulip bloom can happen later in the year.
How long the flowers remain in bloom also depends on the weather. Colder temperatures mean a longer bloom while warmer temperatures mean a more compressed bloom schedule.
Also, different species of tulips bloom at slightly different times.
Some tulips come up early at the end of March while others wait until later in April when the ground is warmer.
Generally speaking, mid-April typically has the best overlap of color between the early, mid, and late blooming tulips.
Both tulip fields keep their websites updated as to bloom status during each season.
Do note, if you can’t visit during prime tulip season, some festivals feature other flowers other times of year.
For example, the Skagit Valley also known for Daffodils in March and Garden Rosalyn showcases beautiful dahlias between May and early fall.
What day of the week is the best for viewing tulips fields?
The day of the week you visit a tuilip field doesn’t matter in regard to bloom status.
However, it does matter when visiting a festival to take photos of your dog with the tulips.
Weekends are always going to be way busier than week days.
If you can, I highly suggest visiting tulip fields on weekdays with your dog.
It will be easier to get a photo without other visitors in it.
There will also be less distractions for your dog, which means your dog is more likely to “stay” for a photo and look at the camera (you).
On the flip-side though, you may miss special events that present unique photo opportunities if you don’t go on a weekend (like the hot air balloons at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival).
What time of day is the best for capturing the best photos of your dog with tulips?
Most photographers will agree that sunrise and sunset, when the light is warmer and softer, are the best times of day to capture stunning photos.
In the afternoon, when the sun is directly overhead, the sunlight is harsh and can cast extreme shadows.
If you are “lucky”, the weather will be overcast, but not rainy, all day.
I like to call these days nature’s “softbox” in regard to lighting.
All day, the light is diffuse, soft, and minimizes harsh shadows, making every moment prime lighting time for photography.
Also remember that tulips are flowers that tend to close their blooms in colder weather and spread the petals wider apart in warmer, sunnier weather.
Therefore, visiting in the morning after a cool night may yeld the prettiest view of the blooms (they look more like classic tulips vs like they are dying).
Are Tulips Toxic to Dogs?
You may have heard that Tulips are toxic to dogs. That is correct.
All parts of a tulip plant are toxic to dogs, from root to leaf, stalk, and flower.
The bulbs are especially poisonous because they have a higher concentration of the plant’s naturally occurring chemicals, including the toxic tulipalin.
Toxic chemicals inside the plant can cause skin irritation, hurt your dog’s mouth and throat, as well as poison them and cause gastrointestinal upset.
Poisoning can also interfere with your dog’s nervous system, making it difficult for them to move and in severe cases, they can even have trouble breathing.
Fortunately, except in rare cases, tulip poisoning is mild and unlikely to kill a dog.
However, there is a small risk that a very small dog, a young puppy, or a dog that eats a whole bulb could face severe symptoms and complications that could endanger their life.
So you may be wondering if it’s safe to bring your dog to a tulip field.
If your dog doesn’t have a habit of trying to eat plants, and/or they know the “leave it” command, it’s likely that your dog will just smell the tulips and not eat them.
Also, in my experience, tulip bulbs, which are the most toxic to dogs, are not usually exposed when visiting tulip fields in bloom.
Even though tulip poisoning when visiting a tulip field is unlikely, it’s always good to be pepared – to know the symptoms of tulip poisoning and what to do.
For more information, please read this article.
General Tips for Visiting Tulip Fields with Your Dog
No matter which tulip field you are visiting, there are some general tips.
Scope things out before hand
If you plan to visit a field at sunrise or sunset to photograh your dog, it’s best to visit the field on a prior occasion to check it out.
That way you can deterime where the best tulips are and where sunrise or sunset light will hit the tulips best.
At the very least, arrive as early as you are allowed for sunrise or arrive in the early evening before sunset.
Mind your dog’s manners
All fields require that your dog be kept on leash, are not aggressive or disruptive, and that you pick up after them.
But also, don’t let your dog damage the tulips or tulip fields.
This means, don’t let your dog dig anywhere in the field, potentially exposing tulip roots or causing trip hazards for other visitors.
While some of the best photos are of dogs surrounded by tulips, be very careful how you obtain these as to not damage the tulip roots or bulbs.
From a Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm Facebook Post:
“… do not step on our raised rows… We allow you to walk down the small rows in our field carefully, but if you want to go over one row please walk out and back in from the edge! … Just know, by stepping on the raised rows, you are damaging the bulb underneath, which will bruise the bulbs and actually kill them.”
If you want to get a picture of your dog in the tulips, it’s best do insert your dog between rows at the end and not very far in.
Voice control may be ok for short periods
Wile official rules state that all dogs must be on leash when visiting tulip fields, the truth is that a lot of dog owners don’t like the look of their dog’s leash in photos.
An easy way to keep a leash out of photos is to remove it for the photo.
Definitely do this at your own risk but, in my expeirence, it can be done safely and without getting you in trouble.
Just make sure your dog can reliabily follow the command stay/wait and has an impeccable recall (always comes back everytime you call).
Always put your dog’s leash back on after the photo and before you move to a new location.
Beware of distractions
There are likely to be a lot of dogs at dog friendly tulip festivals and fields.
There may also be guests visiting with cats or other animals.
And many tulip farms are working farms so there may be cows, horses, ducks, pigs, etc on the premisis.
Be sure to stay aware of your surroundings and keep your dog in leash (or under strict voice control for a brief moment while the leash is off for photos).
Prepare for mud
Even on “dry” days, tulip fields can be muddy.
Even if it didn’t rain, irrigation water can create mud puddles and morning dew can make the fine, clay-like soil stick to everything.
Bring a towel so you can wipe off your dog’s feet before they enter any buildings or to prevent muddy paws in your vehicle.
If you’re going somewhere afterwards, bring a change of clothes. Unless it’s a garden partier mud fight.
Give your small dog a boost
If you have a small and/or short dog, you might want to bring something to elevate them.
Some of the Tulip stems are almost 2 feet tall and if you have a really small dog it’s hard to get a shot with them “among the tulip” blooms if not.
Bring the right gear
Did I mention that tulip fields are muddy?
For your dog, use a biothane leash if you have one so you can easily clean it off after your visit.
If you are bringing a bag to carry stuff and might be setting in on the ground, a cotton canvas bag or purse may not be the best choice.
I would suggest using a plastic bag or bag of other material that will wipe or wash off easily.
You may also want to consider wearing rubber boots.
Specific Tips for Visiting the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival with Your Dog
I recently visited the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival with my dogs, Summit and Gretel, for the first time and made a lot of observations.
I wanted to share these with you to help make your visit with your dog more pleasant.
Give yourself some flexibility
As mentioned above, if you purchase a day pass you must purchase the pass online and select a specific day and time to visit.
If you are going to the tulip festival specifically to take photos of your dog, I highly suggest springing for the season pass.
On the day you first visit, the weather may suck.
You or your dog may be having a bad day so your photos don’t turn out.
Or things don’t turn out like you hoped – like going to photograh the hot air balloons and they aren;t there they day.
Buying the season pass will allow you to make a whole weekend of it and visint the tulip fields with your dog over a period of several days.
Seeing the hot air ballons
My first visit to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival was on a Thursday. I hoped to see the infamous hot air ballons but they weren’t there.
However, I went back on Sunday morning and they were. And they were amazing to see.
The hot air balloons belong to private vendors and not the farm.
The balloons are only able to operate weather permitting (no rain and winds less than 8 miles per hour).
The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is unable to guarantee the balloons will be at the farm at any given date and time, although I hear they are almost always there on weekends (and possibly Friday).
On Sunday, I arrived at the tulip field around 5:15 am. There were no balloons.
They arrived about 5:30 am and set up in the field to the right of the main red building (when looking at it from the entry gate).
They were inflated and up in the air by about 6:30 am.
When I was there, it seemed like each baloon stayed up in the air for about an hour then landed to pick up new people so there will be more than one opportunity for photos of the flowers with the balloons in the background.
However, the first inflation and flight is during prime sunrise lighting.
The steam tractors
There are three steam tractors on the premisis and they are kind of cool.
The Wooden Shoe website says they are a “weekend activity” but they were also on display on a weekday when we went.
However, on the weekday, they were parked in a roped-off area.
On the weekend, they were driven out into the field, persenting a great photo opprtunity.
It’s important to note, the steam whistles are regularly blown on these tractors and they are very loud.
I am not sensitive to noise but it hurt my hears, even from several hundered feet away. I can only imagine how loud it was for the dogs!
Beware if you have a dog that is frightened by loud noises.
Other photo props
There are other great photo props scattered around the fields.
There are several colorful benches for sitting or placing your dog on for photos (but they have an open-wire seat so only do that if your dog is comfortable).
There is a wooden, dutch-like windmill. It’s very popular though so its difficult to get a photo without other people and dogs in it.
There are several old tractors parked around the field and many are painted bright, cheery colors.
I also found a little carved dutch wooden shoe by one of the benches.
Pack your patience
The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival can be crazy busy.
It’s easy for visitors and staff to run low on patience so understand what you’re getting yourself, and your dog into, and remember to keep a positive attitude.
If the primary focus of your visit is to take pictures of your dog, be prepared to wait patiently for others to wander out of your cameras field of view.
Also, your dog will pick up on any irritation or frustrating and they may not want to listen to you as well.
There are a lot of distractions there so it’s already difficult for them.
You can avoid the crowds
I visited the Wooden Shoe tulip fields several times.
Even during the businest time, it was possible to get away from the crowds.
Most people concentrate in the portion of field closest to the parking area and vendors.
You can find more solitude if you walk out to the further end of the tulip rows near the road and horses or vising the smaller tulip field behind the carnival ride area.
Don’t get your car stuck
If the staff have you park in the back field, be aware that it’s kind of mushy.
It seems like they closed off portions when they got too soft, but they had to pull one vehicle out of the parking spot when I was there.
I felt more comfortable putting my 4 Runner into 4 wheel drive when I got to the edge of the field.
I didn’t ask but I think it’s worth requesting an alternative parking spot if you are worried about your car getting stuck.
Specific Tips for Visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival with Your Dog
I have not been able to visit the new dog friendly Garden Rosalyn, which is the only “offical” tulip field of the festival that welcomes dogs.
However, I have taken a driving tour of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival with my dogs.
I also reviewed the most updated information for the Skagit Tulip Festival in regard to dogs and included some of the important notes here.
You can’t stop on the road
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is considered a driving tour but be prepared to only stop in designated parking locations.
The shoulders of the rural road are narrow or non-existent and stopping for photos is probibited and dangerous.
There are farm animals present
As noted above, these tulip farms are also working farms.
Garden Rosalyn has a resident family of goose and ducks on premisis. They “live” in the man made lake but also can be found wandering the property.
Be prepared to manage your dog’s behavior and reactions around them.
I’m going to visit Garden Rosalyn at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival with my dogs next year and will add more tips here based on my experience.
Spring is a great time to capture colors photos of your dog among tulip fields.
The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is probably the best known, and most visited, tulip field with dog owners in the Pacific Northwest.
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is the premier tulip destination in Washington but, up until 2022, dog owners dogs were generally prohibited.
Owners who wanted to photograph their dogs with the colorful tulips were left trying to take photos of their dog with tulips from a distance, sneaking into the edges of fields “illigeally”, or searching, sometimes in vain, for smaller, private tulip fields that would allow their dog.
Thankfully, that changed in 2022 when the dog friendly Garden Rosalyn opened.
I hope my tips for visiting a tulip festival with dogs will help you have an enjoyable time, and capture great phtos of your dog, on your next visit.
About the Author
Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.