[heading]by KELLEY GUSICH | photos by Soul of Photography[/heading]

Here’s Adventure!

As a child, Leopoldo Antonio Carillo traveled frequently from his home in Santa Monica to visit the rancho that belonged to his Tio (Uncle) Machado. The warm and inviting feeling of the sun-dried adobe brick walls, the handmade red tile roofs, the aroma of wood smoke emanating from the fireplaces, and the sights and sounds of the brightly colored peafowl that freely roamed the property fueled his dreams. As he grew to adulthood, and Leo made his living as a Hollywood actor, the dream persisted. He envisioned and created his own authentic Spanish Rancho—The Rancho de los Quiotes, purchased from the Kelly Family in the 1930s. He drew a picture of his perfect Rancho in the dirt, and between 1937 and 1940 built what is now the Leo Carillo Historic Ranch.

Here’s Romance!

The City of Carlsbad acquired the Ranch in 1978, but the park did not open to the public until 2003. Alan and Joan Kindle took a special interest in Leo Carillo’s dream when they moved to Carlsbad in 1985 and they formed the Friends of Carillo Ranch, Inc. Recreation Supervisor Charles Barlteria explained, “Kindle was successful in getting the ranch designated as a California State Historic Landmark as well as being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.” Recently, Carlsbad received a Governor’s Historic Preservation Award for its work restoring the barn at the Ranch and converting it into a modern visitor center and theater.

Here’s the Famous Robin Hood of the Wild West!

Leo Carillo Ranch is unique to other historic parks because of its Hollywood connection. Although Leo Carillo acted in nearly 100 movies, he is most famous as the lovable sidekick “Pancho” in the 1950s TV show The Cisco Kid where Cisco and Pancho played Robin Hood type desperadoes who assisted the downtrodden. It would surprise many to know Leo was already in his 70s when the series began in 1950, and it also may be interesting to learn The Cisco Kid was one of the first television series to be filmed in color.

Here’s the Leo Carillo “Ranch of the Spanish Daggers” for Your Visiting Pleasure!

Guided tours at the Ranch teach visitors Leo Carillo’s legacy, which includes his acting career, but also shows us a man who cared deeply for his native California. Take a trip to the Leo Carillo Ranch and visit a fabulous piece of California History!

Annual Events at the Ranch:

Wild West Fest: 

In May, the City of Carlsbad Parks & Recreation Department presents the Wild West Fest at Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park. Activities include salsa tasting, food vendors, cultural demonstrations, crafts for kids, guided tours of the historic Hacienda, refreshments and entertainment.

Carrillo Ranch Film Festival:

On Friday evenings during August and September, the City of Carlsbad Parks & Recreation Department presents the Friday Night Film Festival at the Park. Exact dates and movies to be screened are TBD. Attendees are invited to bring a low back chair, flashlight, and a blanket to watch rare historic films from the Golden Age of Hollywood featuring Leo Carrillo. Visitors may bring a picnic, or refreshments are sold on site to benefit the Carrillo Ranch Trust Fund. The Hacienda is open for tours, and admission to the event is free. Advanced reservations are required. Films start promptly at sunset, beginning with a showing of an episode of the popular The Cisco Kid television series.

 Holiday at the Rancho:

On the first Saturday of December, the City of Carlsbad Parks & Recreation Department presents the Holiday at the Rancho. Families flock to Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park to stroll amongst a gorgeous landscape of brilliant peacocks, romantic hand-crafted adobe buildings decorated in the spirit of the season, antique windmills, and reflecting pool while reveling in a unique variety of holiday festivities. Activities include a handmade craft sale, holiday tree lighting, vendors, crafts for kids, a holiday themed movie shown under the stars, guided tours of the historic Hacienda, food and entertainment.

[box title=”At A Glance” color=”#333333″]

Location: 6200 Flying Leo Carrillo Lane Carlsbad, CA 92009

Website: www.leocarrilloranch.org

Email: carrilloranch@carlsbadca.gov

Phone: 760-476-1042

90 Min. Guided Tours: Saturdays 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sundays 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Hours of Operation: Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sundays 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Closed on Mondays & City Holidays[/box]