Into the Corn

Have you ever been stuck in the middle of a field of corn so tall you can't see over the top, with no real idea of how to get out? Do you like puzzles and scavenger hunts? Do you like to be out walking around in the crisp fall weather? When you were a little kid did you wish that you had your very own maze so you could hide in the middle and never, ever have to do your chores? If you answered yes to more than one of these questions then you should grab some water, some decent shoes and head to the nearest corn maze to indulge in some serious exploration.

The theme of the corn maze at Lattin Farms in Fallon, Nevada is harvest moon. Adrian Fisher, the UK superstar of the maize maze world, designed this maze. He holds four Guinness World Records for largest mazes. The maze at the Lattin Farms is three acres and has about a mile of trails and takes approximately an hour to solve, more if you are apt to lose your sense of direction easily. Other attractions include a pumpkin patch, hayrides, a bakery, and face painting. You also have an opportunity to help create something fabulous. Every year the farm has a lit tower of pumpkins, two hundred carved pumpkins piled high and glowing. If you want to carve a pumpkin for the tower it is free. If you want to carve a pumpkin to take home the use of the tools is free, you just pay for the pumpkin.

Tom's Maze and Pumpkin Farm in Germantown, Ohio sports a maze that will make anyone with an imagination think of crop circles. Tom stresses that his mazes are designed for maximum enjoyment for the maze solver, not just to look pretty in aerial photos. This maze is on eight acres and has three miles of paths to dazzle and confuse you. Most mazes offer more than just the chance to find your way in and out, they are also a game. There are twelve puzzle pieces in twelve mailboxes scattered throughout Tom's maze. Your goal is to find all twelve pieces. (Lots of people can win so don't worry about not being the first person to the mailboxes, this is a test of your skill, not a race.) Once you do that you get to escape the maze via the victory bridge and then you can brag to everyone you know about how smart and clever you are and then the next time someone tells you to stop and get direction you can say, "I don't need directions. I made it through the maze without directions, didn't I?" The amount of eye rolling necessary to accent that question is left as an exercise for the reader.

Depner Farms in Caseville, Michigan offers something very special. Their website has a testimonial from not one, but two brain surgeons, who say it's the best maze they've ever seen. If it's better and more mysterious than the human brain it must be something very special indeed. This maze has a built in game that may result in you finding the golden nugget. I'm thinking a kernel of corn could be described as a golden nugget so this may not be as exciting as it sounds, but either way, you get to look for five mailboxes and then see what happens after that.

The folks at Davis' Mega Maze in Sterling, Massachusetts, have put a great deal of effort into making their maze appealing. They have a terrific website with sharp graphics and a storyline to go with the maze. They also tout something they call X-treme mazing, with intensity levels going up to seven. If this sounds like it's not for the faint of heart it's not like grading rock faces in mountain climbing, the rating is more of complexity than anything else. Take a look at this quote, "Davis’ Mega Maze is a world-class, cornfield adventure maze. It’s the first 'morphing' field maze on the planet having the capability of changing its configuration each week." Quite frankly I cannot think of anything better than a world-class field of morphing corn, whether it is on this planet or any other.

Are you in a DIY kind of mood and planning for next year? Check out this link to a pdf file from Rutgers Cooperative Research & Extension called "Growing an 'A-maize-ing' Corn Maze." If you do decide to grow your own please send us pictures for next year. I'd like to see a maze in the shape of a pony. It always comes back to ponies, doesn't it?