This Carlsbad working ranch is secluded in the heart of a magnificently landscaped 27-acre canyon and designated a historic park which contains romantic hand-crafted adobe buildings, antique windmills, a reflecting pool and enough beautiful trees and flowers to keep budding nature-lovers busy and delighted. Visiting Leo Carillo Ranch with kids is like discovering a treasured gem. From oodles of prancing peacocks to authentic ranch and farming equipment, a trip to “Carlsbad’s Sleeping Beauty” is positively dreamy.
Who Was Leo Carillo?
The Leo Carillo Ranch is what Hollywood dreams are made from — literally. In 1937, at the peak of Hollywood actor and preservationist Leo Carrillo’s successful film career, he felt an intense need to find a retreat to re-create an Old California-style working ranch. He came across Los Kiotes, in an area now known as southeast Carlsbad.
What to see at The Leo Carillo Ranch
For kiddos whose favorite lyrics include “And on his farm he had a … ” be sure to check out the cattle chute, a blacksmith and foundry shop, a hay barn and a working tractor called “Big Red.” Whether you’re looking for them or not, you’re sure to run into plenty of peacocks wandering the park and in the trees. We suggest researching some fun facts about peacocks before going to the ranch. You may never be this up close and personal with so many for a while. Kids will love learning that a baby peacock is called a “peachick” and that they don’t grow their fancy tails until age three. Check out other feathery facts to share with your little bird here.
Make sure to check out the abundance of local fauna. Birds of Paradise, bougainvillea and agave can be found throughout the ranch. Also look for the Toyon trees lining the sides of Palm Lane. These trees are known as Christmas Berry because of the red berries dotting their branches.
How to See the Ranch
Guided walking tours are offered on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and on Sunday at 12 and 2 p.m. Tours last approximately 90 minutes. Access to buildings for further exploration are only available on these docent led tours. But, if you have littles that can’t sit through a guided tour, pick up a copy of the ranch guide at the visitor center and go explore on your own. Either way you’ll be able to enjoy the view.
What to Bring to The Leo Carillo Ranch
Make sure you come prepared with comfortable shoes for walking the grounds, plenty of sunscreen and snacks.
Don’t forget your camera! The park is a photographer’s paradise (think perfect setting for family photos). Find the “Bride’s Arch” for some seriously snap-worthy shots.
Leo Carillo Ranch
6200 Flying Leo Carrillo Ln.
Carlsbad, Ca 92009
Have you been to the Leo Carillo Ranch before? What’s your favorite spot to check out?
— Aimee Della Bitta (photos too)