It’s a welcome sight after a dreary winter and a sure sign that spring has arrived. Tulips present some of spring’s early color, and their incredible palette can’t help but make people smile.
Just ask the three Richardson families that own Richardson Adventure Farm in Spring Grove. For the third year now, their family farm is welcoming visitors to see an incredible collection of tulips that now numbers close to 1 million flowers.
“They’re so colorful,” says George Richardson, who owns the farm with his brother Robert and son Ryan’s families. “People walk around with the biggest smiles on their faces as they enjoy the first bright colors of spring. ”
This year’s Tulip Festival at Richardson Adventure Farm brings out many of the fun, family-friendly activities that have become a hallmark of this tradition.
The centerpiece is the 12-acre layout of tulips, which has grown from 300,000 bulbs in its first year to nearly 1 million bulbs this year. Rows upon rows of colorful blooms spring up in all variety of yellows, reds, purples, oranges and more.
People can’t help but take lots of photos while they tour among the tulips, and the Richardsons have specifically built their flower beds for easy photo-taking. “We’ve created picture places, so folks can have a cute spot to take a picture,” says Wendy. “People put their babies in there, families get in there, and they’re taking pictures right amongst the tulips.”
As much fun as it is to walk among the tulips, people also enjoy the 5-acre lakeside festival area, where there’s an array of food trucks and lawn games.
Compete against friends and family with the giant checkers boards or cornhole game. Then, sit back and relax with a little food, fun and live music. This year’s food trucks are expected to include authentic tacos, pizza, poutine, sandwiches and hamburgers.
The Richardson family’s own food trolley brings out the best of the farm, including fresh fudge, popcorn and doughnuts. The beer tent features fresh brews from Ninth Hour Brewing, a Lake Villa-based brewery that’s partly owned by Robert and Carol Richardson’s son-in-law, who lives on the farm.
“It’s owned by two teachers who do their own brewing,” adds Wendy.
The farm’s gift shop is a must-see. It’s temperature controlled for those especially hot or cold days, and it’s filled with delightful smells of fresh fudge, just-popped popcorn, doughnuts and more farm-fresh goodies.
Richardson Adventure Farm has been a seasonal destination since 2001, when George Richardson and his brother, Robert, started offering a giant corn maze for autumn visitors. The crowds kept coming and the attractions kept growing as the brothers and their families found new ways to bring people to the farm.
“It was probably five years ago that my brother, Robert, and his wife, Carol, saw an article in a farming magazine about a tulip farm in Oregon,” says George.
The family started researching other farms and tulip events, including popular attractions in Holland, Mich. Serendipity struck in late 2020 when the family’s corn maze designer found a contact in California who had a commercial tulip planter available.
“In spring 2021, it was just phenomenal,” says George. “And of course, everyone was still worried over COVID concerns. It was just so pretty that spring, and we saw people taking hundreds of thousands of pictures. What a lot of fun.”
Exactly when the fun begins this year is still up to Mother Nature. Don’t go visiting without checking if the farm is open. For updates, check the farm’s social media, newsletter and website, richardsonadventurefarm.com.
Once the season begins, the grounds are open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Weekday admission costs $16 for everyone age 4 and older. Weekend admission is $19 for anyone over age 13 and $16 for ages 4 to 12. Admission includes one free flower per person.
And while you’re there, be sure to say hi to the Richardsons, who tour the grounds most days.
“We get great enjoyment out of watching everyone have fun,” says Wendy. “That’s what this is all about.”
Richardson Adventure Farm is located at 909 English Prairie Road in Spring Grove, (815) 675-9729.