Open through Mother’s Day, the Flower Fields are fun for the whole family
Need an instant mood booster? Take your little “buds” to see the amazing colors of the ranunculus bloom at The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch. You’ll have a bushel of farm-related fun on a wagon ride through a sea of blossoms (on a clear day you can see the ocean from your wagon ride, which is pretty spectacular) and at the sweet pea maze and U-pick blueberry field. Read on to learn how to get the most flower power out of your visit and where to go for the best food and shopping near the Fields, which are open through Mother’s Day, May 14.
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Blooming Flower Fields From March-May
The nearly fifty acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers are the showstopper at The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch. They’re in bloom for approximately six to eight weeks each year so a visit during this annual burst of color is such a treat. Introducing your kiddos to nature’s official way of announcing the arrival of spring in Southern California can help them appreciate the beauty and bounty of Mother Earth. In addition to the ranunculus flower, roses, orchids, poinsettias, petunias, sunflowers, and petunias are planted in stages so there is never a shortage of blooming plants. Kids can run around the spacious garden checking out the fields of flowers, visit the artists’ gardens, and find their way through a living maze of sweet peas.
Insider’s Tip: Tickets are only available online so make sure you snag those before you head over. Wear close-toed, comfortable shoes to make it easy to walk on the dirt pathways, and be sure to check out the full event calendar for other happenings (ahem, sunset wine tastings!) going on throughout the season.
photo: The Flower Fields
Wondrous Wagon Ride
Make sure you bring pocket money for an open-air wagon ride through The Flower Fields. The tractors will take you and the kiddos right through the gorgeous flowers. Rides are $4 for little ones (ages 3-10) and $8 for adults. This is truly the best way to experience the rainbow of blooms right in front of you and a view of the Pacific Ocean in the background. Tickets can be purchased after you enter The Flower Fields on a mobile device or with a credit card. Cash will not be accepted.
Insider’s Tip: Don’t leave without checking out the full-size American Flag created completely out of red, white, and blue petunias. It’s hidden from the main flowers, but worth the view.
Photo: Aimee Della Bitta
Activities for Kids
"Eight Flags" Treasure Hunt
Boredom will not be a complaint when you take the kids to The Flower Fields. Aside from the thrill of a tractor ride, little explorers should make sure to pick up a copy of their Flower Fields passport when they enter the site. They will then embark on a "treasure hunt" to find eight flags hidden throughout the Field. At each flag is a stamp that goes into the passport.
Carlsbad Mining Company
The Flower Fields is also home to the Carlsbad Mining Company. Kids will love using the miner’s old method of sifting sand in water to find polished gemstones.
Wander and wonder in the renovated garden celebrating the butterflies that help make flowers bloom. Be sure to get a photo on the colorful butterfly bench.
U-pick Blueberry Field
This year, the U-pick blueberry field is available. When open, you can purchase your 1-pint baskets for $8 each at the blueberry stand to enjoy the U-Pick experience.
Sea of Sunflowers
Escape in the 5-acre sea of sunflowers. The test patch features all colors, shapes, and sizes. Some are as big as small moons and others over 12’ high! The best time to visit and see the sunflowers is mid-April.
Photo: Leah Singer
The last stop of the day should be Santa’s Playground. Yes, we said Santa! Nestled in The Flower Fields is a playground that’s home to whimsical playhouses and gigantic mushrooms that were part of Santa’s Village in Lake Arrowhead years ago. Come see the dollhouse and crooked treehouse, and play on the structures to get those last-minute wiggles out.
Insider’s Tip: The Flower Fields is family-friendly with plenty of restrooms, picnic areas, and lots of free parking.
Where to Eat and Shop-In and Around the Flower Fields
There are plenty of food and drink options in and around The Flower Fields. If you’d like to stay within the fields you can start your day with a lavender latte from Rollin’ Beans Coffee Co. located right at the ranch and then enjoy lunch at The Pizza Trolley. The Pizza Trolley serves only the best authentic artisan pizzas and fresh salads. Everything is made from scratch on the trolley from dough to sauce. Close out your day with a cool treat from The Strawberry Shack which serves soft-serve ice cream, strawberry shortcake, and strawberry cannolis. Yum!
Or you can walk a short distance to the Carlsbad Premium Outlets where you’ll find lots of great places to eat and shop. We love Blaze Pizza, the perfect restaurant for families who have picky eaters and/or a variety of preferences. Each person orders their own inexpensive pie and can pick their own perfect toppings. There’s also a gluten-free pizza crust option.
Another family favorite is the 1940s-themed Ruby’s Diner. Kids will be captivated by the trains that move overhead and they’ll marvel at the airplane models hanging throughout the restaurant. Each young diner also receives a cardboard train or automobile they can assemble and decorate at the table.
After lunch or dinner, indulge in some retail therapy at The Disney Store Outlet, Carter’s, Baby Gap, Sketchers, Stride Rite, OshKosh B’gosh, and more.
Insider’s Tip: Carlsbad Premium Outlets offers stroller rentals and has clean bathrooms with changing tables.
The Flower Fields
5704 Paseo Del Norte
Additional reporting by Kate Loweth & Beth Shea