Fall Family Fun- How About A Corn Maze?

It seems that corn mazes have increased in both popularity and numbers in the last five years. Until three years ago, I had never experienced one. One of my coworkers, the wife of a farmer and a mother to four sons, three in farming related careers and one in 4-H, invited all of us to come and experience their first ever corn maze.

It had been a few years in the making. Initially, there was the idea and desire. Next was the research, i.e. visiting numerous corn mazes and interviewing the architects of each. The third (two years in the making) phase was the design and layout which included finding a land parcel the desired size and location, the schematics of the design, the logistics of planting the corn, care of the crop and harvesting the corn into the desired maze design. This took the corroboration of several groups: the son who was engaged in farming on the family farm, students from the University of Idaho College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the family of the farmer, and local residents with an interest in promoting the final product.

The design of the first corn maze which was created using the University of Idaho’s Vandal mascot and a tribute to 4-H organizations in the form of the 4-H four leaf clover. The cut was achieved utilizing GPS waypoints. Each year a new design is created. The design this year was taken from the Bucking Bronco logo of the local rodeo, The Lewiston Roundup along with the associated “She’s Wild!” catchphrase.

Those traveling through the first maze were given a list of stations throughout the maze along with an agricultural puzzle question to be solved at a specific station. One had to find the station and then answer the question and pick up another clue. It became an educational as well as fun trip through the maze. There were university students throughout the maze to help with clues and to direct maze travelers who were lost. Each year a new puzzle is created to aid maze travelers in navigating the maze.

On Halloween, the students created a haunted maze and though I did not attend, I understand it provided just the right amount of “scary”, i.e. enough to delight older kids and teens, but not too intense for younger children.

Outside the maze were a couple of other activities for families: a pumpkin patch, straw bale maze for young children and a grain play box. These continue to be a part of the yearly experience. Additionally, there was a food vendor on site. In subsequent years, food has been provided by local FFA Chapters. All in all, this was a fun outing and I would highly recommend it as a family outdoor activity this fall.

As a mother and grandmother, I know the importance of exercise, especially outside where kids can run, jump, and expend energy. Equally as important as the exercise is the connection with siblings, adult family members and friends also participating in these activities. The relaxation benefits are immeasurable. I have carefully chosen to list products that I feel promote great family bonding and “teaching moments”.