You all survived a rainy winter, so take your little ‘buds’ to see that everything’s coming up ranunculus 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 and at the sweet pea maze and whimsical playground. 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 open this Wednesday.

the-flower-fields-vin-weathermon
Photo: The Flower Fields

Stop and smell the roses… and the ranunculus, sweet peas and more!
The fields are alive with more than 50 acres of flowers including multi-colored giant Tecolote ranunculus, roses, orchids, poinsettias, petunias, sweet peas, and more. The flowers are planted in stages so there is never a shortage of blooming plants to see. 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: Wear close-toed, comfortable shoes to make it easy to walk on the dirt pathways.

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Photo: The Flower Fields

Poinsettias Popping Up!
Debuting at The Flower Fields this season is a new greenhouse dedicated to the evolution of the poinsettia flower. Sneak some fascinating trivia/history into your visit by taking the kids here. They’ll learn that the original owners of The Flower Fields, The Ecke Family, used to grow bright scarlet poinsettia flowers. Since these flowers bloomed during the winter, in 1911 Albert Ecke decided to market them as a Christmas flower!

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Photo: The Flower Fields

Wondrous Wagon Ride
Make sure you bring pocket money for an open-air wagon ride through The Flower Fields. An antique tractor takes you and the kiddos right through the gorgeous flowers and includes an audio recording of the history of The Flower Fields. Rides are $3 for little ones (ages 3 – 10), and $5 for adults. This is truly the best way to experience the rainbow of blooms right in front of you.

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.

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Photo: The Flower Fields

Activities for Kids
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. 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. You can get a $1 discount on the mining experience once your little ones complete their passports.

santa village flower fieldsPhoto: Leah Singer

After you’ve had a chance to check out the flowers, ride a tractor, roam the Sweet Pea Maze, and fill the passport, it’s time to play at the Santa’s Village 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 doll house 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.

blaze-pizzaPhoto: Nina H. via Yelp

Where to Eat and Shop
Once you’ve had your fun at The Flower Fields, 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.

disney store

Photo: Leah Singer

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
Carlsbad, Ca 92008
760-930-9123
Online: theflowerfields.com

Hours: Open daily, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Mar. 1 – May 14, 2017)
Cost: $7-$14/person (free for kids under 2)

Carlsbad Premium Outlets
5620 Paseo Del Norte
Carlsbad, Ca 92008
760-804-9000
Online: premiumoutlets.com/carlsbad

Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Have you been to The Flower Fields? What is your favorite thing about this day trip?

––Beth Shea