LEHI — New Jersey native Dan Heneghan said he saw ads for Thanksgiving Point's Tulip Festival when he stepped off the plane in Salt Lake City earlier this week, and he immediately knew what he wanted to do during his downtime.
On Friday, Heneghan took time off during his business trip to enjoy the unique festival.
"It's something fun to do, something different," he said. "There are some nice gardens in New Jersey, but nothing quite like this scale."
Esther Henrichsen boasts that the festival would have been "absolute gluttony" in 16th century Holland.
The Thanksgiving Point garden director said tulip bulbs cost anywhere from 16 cents to 35 cents each today. But hundreds of years ago, tulips were much more valuable.
"Back in the day of the tulip mania in Holland in the early 1600s, they were the cost of a house or a ship," Henrichsen said.
Very wealthy people may have had two or three tulips in their garden, she said.
This year's festival features more than 250,000 tulips imported from Holland in 15 themed gardens spanning 55 acres.
Visitors can walk through the gardens, but golf carts and Segways are available to rent.
During the weekends, food trucks, vendors and performances will enhance the festival, said Josh Berndt, Thanksgiving Point's director of communications.
Pleasant Grove resident Ladawn Kastleman said she and her husband have taken their kids to Thanksgiving Point for years. The Kastlemans have attended the Tulip Festival two or three times before, she said, and they braved the cold Friday to visit again.
"This is a lovely thing to do because it's a chance to get out in nature," Kastleman said, adding that the gardens are a family-friendly way to enjoy the outdoors.
Henrichsen said visitors should keep an eye out for a bed of antique tulips donated by a museum in Holland. That flower bed also features tall, glass tulips.
The festival has added a new display in the fragrance garden that has all types of tulips and their names, Henrichsen said.
As the only garden designer for the Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point, Henrichsen has already begun planning next year's gardens, she said.
Every year, the tulips are pulled up and a complete redesign takes place. New tulip bulbs are ordered in May, and the five-week planting process begins in the fall.
Last year, the festival drew a record-breaking attendance of more than 100,000 visitors.
The festival is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday through May 7. For more information, visit ThanksgivingPoint.org.