‘A dream come true’: Landscape of 58,000 colorful lights opens in Paso Robles

Thousands of color-changing fiber optic lights transform a Paso Robles landscape at the long-awaited art display off Highway 46 East.

The Field of Light at Sensorio — a massive illuminated installation that fills 15 acres of oak tree-lined fields — was created by artist Bruce Munro and commissioned by Ken Hunter, co-owner of Hunter Ranch Golf Course.

The solar-powered display, located at 4380 Highway 46 East, was installed as an introduction to Sensorio, a garden and interactive art attraction Hunter has been planning for years.

Hunter recently put the nearby golf course on the market to allow him to further devote his passion to the project. Sensorio will eventually feature a wine center and resort hotel, in addition to the garden and art display.

“This is a dream come true for Bobbi and I,” Hunter said of Sensorio at Wednesday’s media preview. “It’s something that started in my head some 50 years ago.”

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The Field of Light display at Sensorio in Paso Robles is an art display made up of nearly 60,000 solar-powered lights situated just off Highway 46 East. (Laura Dickinson) Laura Dickinson The Tribune

Connecting to the landscape

Munro has been installing Field of Light displays at locations around the world since the early 2000s.

“Everywhere it goes, it’s different,” he said. “The one constant is it makes people smile.”

Hunter and his wife, Bobbi, first saw Munro’s Field of Light on display in Uluru, Australia, during a vacation and decided to bring the installation to the Central Coast.

The Paso Robles installation is Munro’s biggest to date, with 58,800 glowing “stemmed spheres” that illuminate the hills in a patchwork of ever-changing colors and draw attention to the shadowy outlines of the oak trees scattered around the site.

The display is lit around dusk, but the magic really starts as the landscape transitions into darkness. Walkways built into the landscape guide visitors around the display, giving them multiple angles and heights from which to view the lights.

The installation is perfect for Instagram-worthy photos, but Hunter and Munro both hope visitors will put down their phones and take some time to appreciate the environment screen-free.

“It’s about connecting to the landscape,” Munro said.

Visitors will be able to enjoy the installation while sipping wine or beer, which will be available for purchase on-site. Live music and food trucks will also offer entertainment and refreshments.

Tickets and times

The Field of Light will be on display Wednesdays through Sundays until Jan. 5, 2020. It’s open from 7 to 11 p.m. Adult admission is $27 on Wednesday and Thursday and $30 Friday through Sunday.

Tickets for children age 12 and under are $9 on Wednesday, $18 on Thursday and $19 Friday through Sunday. Children under age 2 receive free admission.

For more information, visit sensoriopaso.com or call 805-226-4287.

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Lindsey Holden writes about housing, North County communities and everything in between for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. She became a staff writer in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. Lindsey is a native Californian raised in the Midwest and earned degrees from DePaul and Northwestern universities.