Carlsbad Flower Fields

Carlsbad Flower Fields

How is it possible we’ve lived in San Diego all our lives and yet have never been to the Carlsbad Flower Fields?  We’ve been to the shops just below, and I even drive by once a week on average.  Well, today that ended as we set out on another beautiful, sunny San Diego day.

First items on the list?  Load Zoe up with sunblock, get the camera ready and head out.  Once there it was obvious we weren’t the only people taking advantage of such perfect weather.  Parking sucked, bad.  It was like trying to get a spot at the mall on Black Friday.  After that, we jumped in line for tickets.  Was it long?  Yes.  Did it go quick?  Ehhh.  We had some help (thanks Janelle!).  It wasn’t too much longer before we were in.

Just inside the gate it seems almost carnival-like.  Live music on stage playing to maybe 50 or so people (don’t get excited – they won’t be up for any awards).  I swear I smelled some food but I never saw any.  Beyond the music stage were the flower fields.  The official website stated the flowers are 50% in bloom but how do you gauge that?  It looked pretty loaded to us!

The fields are on a gentle slope facing the Pacific Ocean.  There’s a bit of an uphill effort needed but it’s good exercise.  Semi-maintained dirt roads surround the perimeter of the fields.  The facility has tractor rides which share these roads with the pedestrians (us).  They seem to have quite a few of the tractor-trailer setups as there was one passing us every few minutes.  It sounded like they have an automated spiel playing as the driver navigates around the fields.

As it turns out, it was genius of us to put sunscreen on Zoe – we got torched!  The breeze coming off the ocean is so misleading.  It was only 72 (according to the car) when we arrived, and that felt about right.  You’d think we would know better by this age.Giant-Tecolote-Ranunculus

We strolled around for a few hours, up, over and back down, repeatedly.  Along the roads there are small inlets where you can walk “into” the flowers.  These are purely for photo opportunities and we took some at each point along the way.  There are benches at the top which are worth the time to take a break on.  You end up overlooking the fields, the shops below, some buildings and then to the ocean.  It’s a unique vantage point we liked.  TIP – Bring something to drink.  By this point you’ll wish you had some water.  When the tractors aren’t passing behind you it’s rather tranquil, just the sound of the freeway (we’re city folk – we’re used to it) and a little ocean air.

Just before the exit is a little exhibit probably geared toward kids where you can pan for stuff like a prospector.  I say ‘stuff’ because it costs $3 and I doubt there’s any gold in the muck.  Just to the left is the way out/trap.  How clever of the Armstrong Nursery Center.  Well, thousands of people just poured over the flowers, and aren’t you just clawing at the idea of buying some plants now? You almost feel obligated to buy something as if the $10 you just paid to look at the flower fields is inspiring you to take a shot at keeping plants alive yourself.  It’s like exiting the Penguin Encounter at Sea World where they dump you right in to the gift shop.  We bought some seeds – $4 – I’m cheap.

In the end it was a great way to blow a few hours, get outside (of the house and the car), watch Zoe run around smelling the flowers and take some pictures.

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