Winding down from the spending spree of the holidays can an exercise in will power. In the months between gift giving and tax refunds, it is often necessary to start budgeting for the year. After all of the gift cards have been spent and family is no longer right around the corner to help plan and facilitate events, figuring out how to settle back into the routines of healthy spending is a necessary transition into the New Year. With the kids back at school and work swinging back into action, there is less time to keep up to date on what fun events are going on in and around the community. If you’re on the lookout for activities that will get you out of the house and won’t break the budget in the New Year, here are three of the best free activities that Carlsbad has to offer.
Just like the name implies, the Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum is a treasure trove for anyone who is interested in the nuts and bolts of how things are made. The museum is a 501(c)(3) funded by the Joe Martin Foundation. There are hundreds of metalworking and craftsmanship projects on display. Most of the work is miniature in size, making the crafts an extraordinary display of precision and art. In addition to finished products, the museum also has some of the world’s best small machine tools laid out to show how miniature maneuvers are made possible for the engineers working with them. Most of the items in the museum have been donated by expert craftsman, making each of the exhibits an authentic representation of the craft that they feature. Rare gems like world renowned clockmaker William R. Smith’s gold medal winning Strutt epicyclic train clock set the museum apart as one of Carlsbad’s most unique spots for culture and community. The museum is open Tues-Sat and is free to the public. Stop by today to check out the Birk Petersen Collection, featuring 150 engines, toys, guns, clocks and more.
The Batiquitos Lagoon is one of Carlsbad’s most well-known natural wonders. It is a coastal wetland that is one of the few of its kind left in California and the greater United States. The lagoon is managed as an ecological wildlife preserve, featuring over three miles of gently sloped hiking trails. The Nature Center is open daily and offers guests a firsthand look into the plants, animals, and habitats located within. The lagoon is perfect for individual and group hikes and hosts a variety of special events throughout the year. There is a kid’s camp in the summer and lagoon cleanup events for kayakers. Entrance to the lagoon and surrounding hiking trails is free and visiting the lagoon is a truly authentic look at the beauty of Carlsbad’s landscape.
As one of only a few working ranches in San Diego and North County, the Leo Carrillo Ranch is a beautifully manicured homestead with over 27-acres of expansive canyon peaks and valleys. The historic ranch was once home to Hollywood’s finest. Leo Carrillo was both an actor and preservationist and his passion for preserving beauty runs throughout the ranch today. From historic adobe buildings to fields blooming with flowers, windmills, and free roaming wildlife, the ranch has more than enough to keep energetic kids occupied for hours on end. The historic elements of the ranch make it stand out as an educational and beautiful spot to spend the day. There is a blacksmith and foundry shop, working tractors and cattle chute that all give nod to Leo’s vision for the ranch and teach young minds about the inner workings within. The grounds are littered with Carlsbad’s native flora fauna. Free guided walking tours are available on Saturday and Sundays for guests who would like to explore the insides of the buildings. Pack up the kids and some comfortable walking shoes and explore one of Carlsbad’s most historically rich landmarks without breaking the bank.