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“Didn't Live Up to My Expectation”

Windmill Island Gardens
Ranked #3 of 60 things to do in Holland
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Windmill Island Gardens is home to de Zwaan windmill, the last mill allowed to be transported from the Netherlands. de Zwaan still functions by grinding locally-grown grain into flour that is sold to visitors and local businesses. A highlight of visiting is a tour of this historic working windmill. Visitors can enjoy music from our antique Dutch street organ given to the City of Holland by the City of Amsterdam after World War II. Children can also ride on our antique carousel from the Netherlands. There are several other replica Dutch buildings and shops. The Island is home to beautiful gardens which feature tulips in the spring followed by beautiful annuals and perennials throughout the summer. Please note that the Island is open seasonally, April 15 - October 1, 2017. Last tickets sold at 5 pm.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase
Reviewed July 3, 2014

We were taking a trip around Lake Michigan and I was looking so forward to going to Windmill Island but once I got there, total disappointment set in. It was late in the day in mid June and the place was pretty empty. I went straight to the windmill itself and waited 15-20 minutes for a tour despite several people waiting and three workers sitting around reading. The tour itself was fascinating despite the young woman giving the tour. It must have been at the end of a long day because she couldn't remember the names of things and seemed somewhat distracted during the whole tour. The organ didn't seem to being played although i did hear it as i was getting in my car to leave. The gift shop wasn't much so I was ready to go......which I did. It was only $8 and when I got back to my hotel, I wish I still had the $8 in my pocket. Maybe it was just me but I would think long and hard before I took a whole family here.

4  Thank casualtraveler2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 2, 2014

Four of us spent a delightful Sunday morning at Windmill Island recently. The draw here is the only authentic working Dutch windmill in the United States, a 260-year-old windmill imported from the Netherlands. It's beautiful. With an engaging young lady as our guide, we visited 4 levels & learned how the mill operated long ago. It is still a working mill that grinds wheat into flour that can be purchased in the gift shop. Prior to the tour we were entertained by 4 young Dutch dancers in authentic dress & wearing wooden shoes. Fascinating footwork, as it has to be difficult to maneuver in those cumbersome-looking footwear. Windmill Island also has an Amsterdam street organ that was given to the community of Holland as a thank you for their support of the Dutch government during World War II. Plays every 15 minutes! One can also stroll around the well-manicured gardens & imagine what they would look like in tulip season. We concluded our visit by perusing the gift shop, which is stocked with everything Dutch including authentic Delftware in its renowned blue & white pattern. If you pland to pay a visit to the lovely city of Holland, I'd recommend making Windmill Island one of your stops. Then spend some time strolling the shopping district. Many unique shops & art galleries! Holland is a destination weekend.

3  Thank funtraveling2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2014

We were surprised that we enjoyed the windmill tour as much as we did. We are a retired couple and stopped there not knowing anything about the park. The organ demonstration and windmill tour were both fascinating and educational. It was so interesting to learn how it all works. Vet he staff was wonderful -- informative, pleasant, and fun!

1  Thank mommak201
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2014

Pros – They have a working organ that is fantastic to see and hear. You get to tour the windmill and go up to the observation deck. There is a carousel, playground, and a larger than life checkerboard for the kids. Great gift shop where you can buy wooden shoes, fudge, the mill’s flour, china and more.

Cons – Cost was a little excessive for what it is. The staff/presenters seemed less than enthusiastic to be there. Our tour guide seemed very scripted and monotone. After the tour a group did some traditional dances in front of the windmill – it was sloppy, and again they seemed less than enthusiastic, they were just going through the motions. It was also a little confusing to the kids – the staff was all female, but some were dressed in male clothes – can they not hire males to work there? While we were there, the mill was not working, that was a little disappointing as well.

All in all, worth the trip, just don’t get your hopes up to be wowed!

1  Thank Tischjaat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2014

It was very cold and windy when we were there for the tulip festival but we had a wonderful time. Delicious food and wonderful staff.

Thank Ellana W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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