All this rain has left many of us more than ready to get outside. In my own yard, orange blossoms have begun to bloom, the grass is a vibrant green, doves have made a nest and my kids are happy as clams when they’re out there burning all that energy we adults can only envy.
It’s also that time of year when I look at the calendar and wonder where an easy road trip or getaway might be plugged in, just a jaunt to get us in the sun, soaking up Vitamin D and all that warmth. Recently I was reminded of a great (and seasonal) road trip I took with my oldest daughter when she was about five: The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch.
Open every spring for more than 60 years, this curated hillside is a spectacular flower display that you get up close and personal with. Brilliant ranuculus are planted across 55 acres of Carlsbad hillside, and when I visited years ago, my daughter was thrilled to walk along the dirt paths that edge the fields, noting petals and insects and the fuzzy, gangly stems of these cool flowers. And because I’ve long counted ranunculus among my favorite blooms, I was pleased to be in their company as well.
Every year it seems that the family-friendly offerings here grow and grow, right along with the flowers. There’s a tractor-drawn wagon ride, a two-acre area for u-pick blueberries (always a fun and delicious activity for kids), a greenhouse full of poinsettias (in case that’s among your own favorite flowers) and a demonstration garden to inspire your own plantings, even if the space you have to work with is small. A flower field grown as the American Flag is also rather astounding. Yoga by the fields, picnics, sunset wine tasting and more are part of a very full events calendar, too.
Of course, many families will opt to add this destination to an itinerary that includes Legoland, which is less than one mile from here (and just opened the first ever Miniland, a city with more that five million Lego bricks). Other local points of interest include Batiquitos Lagoon (great for a family stroll) and Carlsbad State Beach.
The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch opened March 1 and will welcome guests until Mother’s Day, May 14. Buying tickets in advance is suggested. Entry is $12 and up, though children under 3 are free. $23 for adults, $21 for seniors 60+ and military, and free for children under three.