Fun Adventures Await in Carlsbad

The city of Carlsbad, about an hour north of San Diego, California, offers much for visitors to do throughout the year beyond the obvious choices like Legoland. In between dining and shopping in the seaside community, check out these five educational yet fun attractions.

Flower Fields boasts 50-acres of gorgeous blooms each spring. Visitors can take a tractor ride around the grounds and purchase seeds to grow their own versions of the flowers on display. Past visitors say this is an excellent location for family and special occasion photos. The fields are next to a mall so a visit to Flower Fields can easily be combined with shopping. The address is 5704 Paseo Del Norte. The park overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is open daily from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

The Museum of Making Music features lots of musical instruments, history, and interactive displays. Exhibits cover the following music themes of the last 125 years: popular music, musical instrument innovations, manufacturing, distribution, marketing and music retail. Plenty of instruments are available for museum visitors to pick up and play, too! The museum is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily except Mondays. Parking is free and includes two electric vehicle charging stations. The museum is located at 5790 Armada Drive.

Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park at 6200 Flying Leo Carrillo Lane includes historic structures like adobe buildings and antique windmills. Once a working ranch owned by film star Leo Carrillo, the property is a designated Historical National Landmark and part of Carlsbad's citywide trail system. Self-guided walking tours are available whenever the park is open, which is daily except Mondays. Guided tours are conducted mid-day on weekends. The park's natural beauty includes trees, colorful bougainvillea and peacocks.

The Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum is located at 3190 Lionshead Ave. Visitors can examine metal and wood crafts. Artifacts include combustion engines, guns, dollhouses, clocks, tools, and even small aircraft. It is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Machine shop and engine run demonstrations are held several times daily. Note that closed shoes are required when visiting the machine shop. This museum is close to several restaurants and admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

The Gemological Institute of America Museum is on Armada Drive, just off of Legoland Drive. It is open weekdays during normal business hours. Those wishing to visit are asked to make an appointment 24-hours in advance. Exhibits change periodically but typically include loose gems, carvings, jewelry, sculpture, and minerals from jewelers, artists and collectors around the world.