Forget Wildflowers, This Field of Light Is the Coolest Springtime Activity in California

Artist Bruce Munro's work is a colorful fusion of nature, technology, and art.

Photo: Bruce Munro ©

Located just three hours north of Los Angeles, travelers will find what can only be described as one of the coolest outdoor art exhibits in the nation. Artist Bruce Munro fully transformed a hillside farm in Paso Robles into an outdoor walk-through art experience known as "Light at Sensorio." The site is comprised of two exhibits: the 15-acre sprawling Field of Light exhibit, and the adjacent Light Towers exhibit. Both pieces are entirely powered by solar, for a completely green display that adds to the awe of their inspiration.

Field of Light

Munro used more than 58,800 thinly-stemmed spheres lit by fiber-optics to "gently illuminate the landscape in subtle blooms of morphing color that describe the undulating landscape," according to the exhibit's website.

The spheres light up at sunset, growing stronger as the sky gets darker, and eventually filling the entire hillside with a colorful fusion of nature, technology, and art. Considered one of Paso's most popular attractions, people come from all around to walk among the oak trees on paths adorned with light.

Light Towers

Munro's second installation, Light Towers, opened in April of 2021. This eco-friendly display is made of 17,388 wine bottles to celebrate Paso Robles' wine country, and will be on exhibit for years to come before the materials are properly recycled at the end of its span.

Light Towers features 69 7-foot-tall towers (each made up of 252 wine bottles) that come alive to music using optic fiber technology. Orlando Gough composed the song "Rise and Shine" — a piece that utilizes rubbed wine glasses paired with a vocal ensemble — specifically for the space. The Guardian describes the entire experience as, " … art you feel, rather than art you view."

Opening Hours and Ticketing

Light at Sensorio is open July through August, Thursday through Sunday, 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. September 1st through the 5th, the exhibit is open 6:30 p.m. to 10:00; and September 8th through the 30th, opening hours are 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Beyond that, check the exhibit's website for future dates.

Several ticketing options are available for purchase. General admission costs $47, and children ages three to 12 get in for $26. General admission guests are asked to show up at 7:30 p.m. to purchase tickets on-site. Once inside, however, you can stay as long as you want, up until closing.

For those looking for a grander experience, the VIP pass is the way to go. It grants you admission to the exhibit, as well as access to a private viewing terrace for the best vantage point. The pass costs $85.00, plus a $6.79 fee, which also includes access to an Airstream bar and fire tables, and one drink ticket, redeemable for either a cocktail or a soft drink. You can also opt for the VIP Experience, complete with a charcuterie and crudité platter add-on, for $110, plus a $7.42 fee.

Food and Live Music

Don't worry! General admission viewers won't go hungry, as the Sensorio Kitchen offers an array of appetizers, entrées, and desserts, all made with local ingredients. The kitchen's menu is also graced with dessert options like beignets and filled churros.

Though the star of the show, most certainly, is the flickering light display, live local musicians take the stage every night from 7 to 10 p.m. Guests can enjoy folk, funk, rock, and blues, depending on the night's lineup, alongside food and drink on the main lawn area.

Sensorio is truly an interactive art experience unlike any other. Come wearing comfortable shoes to enjoy the half-a-mile stroll around the property. It may take some time, but it's wildly worth it.

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