Using public transportation to get to Keukenhof Gardens from Amsterdam is a bit involved. Kenny thinks it's a racket to try to funnel tourists to the tour companies.
We stood in line at the tourist office just outside of the main train station. They offered a package deal including transportation and garden tickets.
The trouble was that the transportation involved a train ride to the airport and then a bus ride to the gardens. We were also supposed to buy Sophia's train ticket inside the station because the tourist office didn't sell the reduced fare tickets. We don't have a pin number for our credit card and our debit card wouldn't work in the machine. The line at the ticket counter was prohibitively long so we decided to just take our chances with Sophia and it wasn't a problem on the crowded airport train. The whole process just seemed a little difficult for a wildly popular tourist destination.
Finally we got there and I was able to take a deep breath and enjoy the spectacular gardens. I know how difficult it is to try to keep my own small garden in order so I could appreciate the effort involved in maintaining such a huge garden.
There were of course lots and lots of flowers, but there were also sites to surprise children like a maze, a petting zoo, a playground, a windmill, and stepping stones in water.
Sophia was happy for about an hour and then she said she was bored and didn't want to walk anymore. How did I get a sullen teenager for a 7-year-old? I didn't think it was likely that she was tired like she claimed. She walked all over New York City without complaint when she was four and countless other cities since. We went ahead and sat down to an overpriced lunch to try to regroup. She pulled it together a little bit but was still crabby and we still had a lot to see. I needed a brilliant parenting trick to save the day and happily I found something that worked. I let her use the small camera to take pictures of whatever she wanted. Suddenly the gardens were intriguing to her and she had a fabulous time. Pfew.
We enjoyed the rest of our time in the beautiful gardens, happy that the sun came out to enhance our view.