Do you Know how They Create The Corn Mazes we all get Lost In?
Every year my family tackles a corn maze. We take it seriously and make a pact beforehand to complete the entire maze. Failure is not an option.
I’ve been exhausted and lost in many corn mazes, my legs sore and feeling like they were going to fall off, quite certain that the walls of corn were going to be the last thing I’d see on this earth. (Corn stalks all look alike.)
Thankfully, my husband passed on his excellent sense of direction to my sons, and with the help of an occasional aerial photo of the maze downloaded in desperation, we’ve always succeeded. (That’s not cheating, by the way.)
There’s definitely a sense of accomplishment when you make it through, and donuts and cider afterward help with the motivation.
So, corn mazes… they don’t just grow that way now, do they? Obviously a lot of planning goes into creating intricate mazes over acres of cornstalk-filled land. To find out what goes into creating a corn maze, we asked the folks at Lewis Adventure Farm & Zoo to clue us in.
The planning process begins as early as January when the new year is evaluated for any upcoming events. Planners consider what themes will be popular that coming summer and fall. A sure-to-be-a-hit summer movie or big anniversary, such as last year’s 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, are common corn maze themes.
Jenny Ferels, brand ambassador at Lewis Adventure Farm, said their six-acre maze is usually planted with 120,000 corn seeds in early June.
First They Plant, Then They Plow the Maze
Ferels said the entire field is planted as a normal field would be. When the plants are around 4-5 inches tall, plowing starts. The field is sectioned off, and a computer-aided design program turns the chosen design into a really big reality.
The program converts rows of corn onto a grid. The plowers know that each row on the grid is equal to a row of corn. They use a grid map to plow up the designated maze paths, and the maze is created.
After that, maze maintenance is a cinch, Ferels said. As the corn stalks grow, the shade they create prevents any sun from hitting the plowed areas preventing weeds from growing. The plowers clear the paths so smoothly that there is no growth to worry about.
And what happens to the corn after the maze season ends? Ferels said at Lewis Farms, nothing goes to waste. They actually “borrow” the corn seeds from a nearby dairy farm. When it is time to bring the maze down for the season, the corn is harvested and and “returned” to the dairy farm to be used to feed the cows.
Moelker Orchards is a favorite destination in West Michigan for fresh fruit, fall fun, and delicious baked goods from our own Old Bell Bakery! Our family-run farm has been in operation since 1907. Join us this fall to make some great memories!
BestMaze is celebrating their 20th anniversary and opening their maze Sept 26. Their corn maze paths are cut wider than usual this year with five separate sections totaling a three-mile maze. As a result, these paths will be wheel chair friendly.
BestMaze has an extensive underground drainage system that keeps trails from becoming muddy even after a heavy rain. There are also towers from where lost maze trekkers can find assistance.
And for those craving a little creep, try out their famous Trail of Terror, accessible from the same location.
“People Helping People” is the theme honoring first responders, doctors, nurses, and others who put helping others first. This maze opens Sep. 5.
In addition to their six-acre Corn Maze, Lewis Adventure Farm has a barrel train, carousel, jumping pillows and a gigantic petting zoo. Find over 100 different kids of animals from the exotic Arabian camel and ring-tailed lemurs, to kangaroos, wallabies, and a giant tortoise.
Wild West is the corn maze theme, and it will be open weekends in September and October after Labor Day. The maze takes about 30-45 minutes to complete. Children can take a ride on the cow train ($3), and the whole family can enjoy a guided tractor-wagon ride for free.
Deep Roots Produce is doing its first-ever corn maze, and it’s huge! Shaped in honor of their two dogs, this maze kicked off on September 5, and is comprised of 12 acres and three trails (including a kids maze). They will be having staggered start times this year to facilitate social distancing.
Visitors can also pick pumpkins and hop on a hayride.
Want More? Check out These Places for Wagon Rides, Activities, Pumpkins and More
Hayrides are harder to come by this fall, as local farms aim for more socially distanced activities for visitors.
As of publication, is looks like Anderson & Girls is offering hayrides this year, but farm fun can be had at many of the mazes mentioned above, as well as Moelker Orchards. They don’t have a corn maze or hayride this year, but they do have epic donuts, cider and of course, lots of upick fun.
Michelle Smith and her husband live in Lowell where they have been homeschooling their children for many years. They are currently educating three of them and have three graduates. Michelle enjoys classical ballet and live theater, especially musicals, both being in the audience and working backstage.