By MIRNA ALFONSO (Patch Staff)
CARLSBAD, CA Every year, San Diego residents -- particularly those in North County -- realize in early spring that all winter they hungered to see the vibrant colors of theFlower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch, a treat of ranunculusflowers in various hues.
Ubiquitously Southern Californian, and perennially San Diegan, the flower fields have been around for years and every year, no matter how long one has lived here, it is a wonderful surprise to see the buds in full bloom.
There are 53 acres of them -- overlooking the mighty Pacific -- and visitors are encouraged to walk among them and well, smell the ranunculus; or is ranunculii?
The paths are really dirt tracks -- it is a fully operating ranch -- so visitors are urged to wear comfortable walking shoes that they do not mind dirtying up a bit.
There are also wagon rides, pulled by antique tractors.
The fields are also handicapped accessible.
The fields are open March 1 to May 8, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week -- weather permitting.
Adults pay $14; seniors -- 60 years old and over -- pay $13; children from 3 years old to 7 years old, $7 and kids under 3 pay nothing.
Pets must be kept outside the gate; the owners do not want the little beasts to eat the flowers.
Photos via Flickr, Creative Commons; city of Carlsbad