Waterdrinker Tulip Festival returns with new u-pick option, tulip tunnel
More than 2 million tulips and spring bulbs cover nearly 100 acres of colorful fields at the Tulip Festival at Waterdrinker Family Farm & Garden in Manorville, opening April 15. This year, for the first time, visitors will be offered the option to pick their own flowers from the grounds, says manager Marc Weiss.
At $1 apiece, festivalgoers can pick from “hundreds of different colors,” like reds, pinks and purples, one shade of purple so dark, Weiss calls it a “black” tulip. There will be “every color you can think of,” he says, adding there are “upward of 100 varieties” planted. Before heading out, someone on staff will help cut and sleeve the florals into bouquets.
Jillian Riegger, 40, of Bethpage, says she doesn't mind taking the 45-minute drive to the farm every year for the festival because of its "awe factor." Last year was her first time visiting and she was "pleasantly overwhelmed with the amount of color, the variety," she says, adding that she plans on making it a yearly tradition. "Flowers are just kind of my thing. And this is the closest thing to Holland that I am going to get to," she says, referencing the Netherlands' famous tulip fields.
Weiss estimates peak bloom by April 25, with flowers continuing to bloom until at least Mother’s Day (May 14). Throughout and near the tulip fields, photo-ops with vintage cars and boats that visitors can sit in will be set up alongside wood cutouts, oversized Dutch shoes, bicycles and a miniature village reminiscent of Amsterdam.
Aside from taking your own photos, the farm welcomes photographers to get their golden-hour shots. Emily Goodwin, 26, of Center Moriches, says last year she took professional photos at the farm's Sunflower Festival, but this year she plans on incorporating tulips in her photography. "This year, I'm jumping on the ball. I'm not going to wait," she says about booking clients for the tulip festival. "It’s perfect for Mother's Day photos," she says.
A tulip tunnel has been added this year, too — a semi-darkened greenhouse that will feature music and offer “a tour of Amsterdam and Dutch culture where people can learn a little bit about the tulips,” says Weiss.
When not frolicking through the tulips, guests can take part in activities like mini golf and obstacle courses, play in a wooden playland, jump on a jumbo pad and hang out in a bull-riding pen.
The farm is also home to barnyard animals like KuneKune pigs, alpacas, donkeys, chickens and Nigerian dwarf goats. Although guests cannot pet or feed them, they can get close enough to take pictures.
A greenhouse stocked with gardening supplies and flowers, and a gift shop are on-site. Sharing parking lot space with the farm is the Long Island Farm Brewery, which will be serving an exclusive tulip festival-inspired Dutch Pilsener.
As many as five food trucks will be on the property on weekends offering sweets like crepes and stroopwafels, an authentic Dutch caramel cookie, and savory eats like cheeseburgers, hot dogs and chicken nuggets. There will also be live music from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
The pet-friendly festival, which debuted with 50,000 tulips in 2019, costs $20 per person (cost is for farm and festival admission and is paid at the gate); children 2 and under are free.
Up next: the farm’s sunflower festival in July.
WHEN | WHERE April 15 until the blooms die off; 663 Wading River Rd., Manorville; Open Mondays to Thursdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Fridays 10 a.m. to sunset; Saturdays 9 a.m. to sunset; and Sundays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
INFO 631-878-8653; water-drinker.com