by Betsy Natter
Nothing says outdoor fall fun like tramping through acres of cornfields, searching for clues, hitting dead ends, and hopefully finding the exit. Believed to be the first in the U.S., a corn maze created in Annville, PA near Lebanon Valley College in 1993 drew thousands of visitors. Since then, thousands of detailed mazes are created each year all over the country.
Mazes can cover from two to sixty acres and can include miles of pathways. Visitors can search the maze map and try to pinpoint their location as they find their way through. Some farms offer additional puzzles with clues to find and game boards to stamp at various locations within the maze. Other variations include moonlight mazes held after dark to increase the difficulty level and haunted mazes complete with ghosts and zombies jumping out from behind cornstalks!
Some farms hire professional maze builders who design new paths each year. Others create their own patterns by drawing it out on graph paper. Once the corn starts to grow, the farmers count the rows and mow down the stalks where the path needs to be, keeping it cleared throughout the summer growing season. Here we feature nine mazes in and around Montgomery County for your family to try.
2222 S. Valley Forge Rd., Lansdale, PA 19446
A five acre maze offering daytime or moonlight fun. Merrymead is a dairy farm, so the maze this year features a smiling cow face. Also available for the little ones, a smaller corn stalk tunnel and plenty of farm activities. The daytime maze is open each weekend and moonlight maze happens Fri. and Sat. nights. See http://www.merrymead.com/fall-highlights.html for details, hours and pricing.
Northern Star Farm
112 East Third Ave., Trappe PA 19426
Northern Star Farm features two 7 acre fields of corn mazes adding up to 14 acres of fun! Moonlight fun can be arranged for groups of 20 or more, including hay rides and a bon fire. Plenty of other fall activities are available on the site as well. See http://northernstarfarm.net for details.
315 Pughtown Rd., Spring City, PA 19475
This farm’s maze features a pumpkin-headed scarecrow! Find your way through any weekend during the day or by flashlight on Friday or Saturday nights. BYO S’more supplies and meet new friends around the campfire ring while swapping your maze stories. Check the farm’s Facebook page for more details at https://www.facebook.com/OlsFarm/.
R&J Farm Market
325 Allentown Rd., Souderton, PA 18964
R&J’s six acre maze will be open Fridays and Saturdays throughout October. The maze features a shark swimming in a field of bubbles. Call or check the website for pricing and hours at http://www.randjfarmmarket.com/6101.html.
746 S Trappe Rd., Collegeville, PA 19426
This year’s 5 acre corn maze features a barrel racer, which is a horse and rider to weave your way around. The farm is open every day and the last tickets are sold 1 hour before closing. Flashlight mazes are available on Fri. and Sat. nights. Bring your own or buy one at the farm store. For pricing and hours visit http://www.varnerfarms.net/hours.
1134 Reading Ave., Boyertown, PA 19512
Try your hand at the largest maze on our list – 25 acres and 8 miles of trail. Find Farmer Joe (he’s missing) and all the clues as to his whereabouts are somewhere in the maze. Gather clues, keep track of the evidence and find the guilty farm animal. For younger ones not quite up to the challenge, a smaller monkey corn maze and a hay bale maze are also available. Flashlights are available to rent (or bring your own) for fun after dark. Check out all the details at http://www.wilcoxfamilyfarm.com/pages/corn-maze.htm.
Winding Brook Farm
3014 Bristol Rd., Warrington, PA 18976
This dairy farm located just over the border in Bucks County offers a regular corn maze as well as the Cornwalk of Horror and the Haunted Hay Maze. You may find your way out quickly when you are being frightened by ghosts, screaming witches or zombies – or will you? Check out the website for directions, pricing and hours at http://www.windingbrookfarm.com/hayride.
Specially Designed for Younger Ones:
Freddy Hill Farms
1440 Sumneytown Pk., Lansdale, PA 19446
Train the little ones in a corn maze designed to be little kid friendly. This smaller corn stalk maze features a fun exit – climb the ladder and slide your way out! Freddy Hill has four weekends of fall fun with hay rides, pumpkins and more. Visit http://www.freddyhill.com/news/welcome-to-freddy-hill-farms.html for complete details.
Abby’s Pumpkin Farm
2471 Little Rd., Perkiomenville, PA 18074
This is a fun little maze designed with young children in mind. This year’s theme is Spiders and Bats. Open weekends in Oct. from 10 am until dusk, the maze only takes about 20 minutes to complete, but as the name suggests, you can pick up a pumpkin while you’re there.