It’s Not Done by Aliens or Fairies. So How is a Corn Maze Created?
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 Farms & Petting Zoo to clue us in.
Farming + Technology = A Great Corn Maze
The planning process begins as early as January when the new year is evaluated for any upcoming interesting events. Planners consider what will be popular that coming summer and fall. A sure-to-be-a-hit summer movie or big anniversary, such as this year’s 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, are common corn maze themes.
Lewis Farms chose the theme “Sunflowers” in honor of their First Annual Sunflower Festival. Jenny Ferels, brand ambassador at Lewis Farms, said their maze is shaped like sunflowers with petals, stems, and some gourds carved into it.
The Lewis Farms six-acre maze was planted with 120,000 corn seeds in early June. Ferels said the field got off to a late start this year due to a wet and muddy spring, but has now caught up and is growing as expected.
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, the business of 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 any 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.
The Big List of Grand Rapids Corn Mazes (& Other Fall Fun)
Fall in Michigan means all sorts of fun on the farm. My kids love u-pick apples and pumpkins. And especially if it’s paired with a stop on the giant Donut Trail. If you don’t want to miss a single iconic fall activity, you need to use our GIGANTIC GRAND RAPIDS FALL FUN GUIDE! It has everything fall for West Michigan.
3803 Noble Road, Williamston| Facebook
“Smokey the Bear Turns 75” is the theme for this year’s maze at BestMaze. There is a separate “haunted” area with scary actors. Several towers are situated in the maze so you can get assistance if needed.
6054 124th Ave, Fennville | Facebook
The Crane’s 20-acre corn maze is a daytime maze with no scary elements, so it is fun for all ages. This year’s maze has two phases – each taking about 30 minutes to complete. Crane also has a cow train for children and a a tractor-driven hayride for families.
3025 6 Mile Rd, Grand Rapids | Facebook
The Dunneback & Girls corn maze is open on the weekends during daytime hours this fall. Their theme is “Donut Worry, Be Happy” and is for all ages. There are no scary elements. Answer trivia questions as you complete this approximately 30-minute long maze.
11966 Fruit Ridge NW, Kent City | Facebook
“Space Race: 50th Anniversary” is the theme for this 10-acre corn maze. This maze is not scary, but they do have people on hand to help you if you become lost. They also have five hidden stations as part of an interactive game. You can also use a “Maze App” to track your progress. Fruit Ridge also has horse-drawn wagon rides, U-Pick apples and pumpkins, and a farm market.
1999 Cascade Rd SE, Lowell | Facebook
Heidi’s Corn Maze has two mazes for different challenge levels. The Large Maze takes 45 minutes to 1.5 hours to complete the accompanying (optional) game. The Junior Maze is designed for children to complete in 15-20 minutes. Participants punch a card at five hidden checkpoints throughout the maze and receive a Cider Slushie when done. This year’s theme is “Out of This World – Celebrating 50 Years Since the Landing on the Moon.”
4180 West M-20 Stony Lake Rd, New Era | Facebook
The Lewis Farm corn maze is open Aug. 31 – Oct. 31, and is a day maze only. There is a “who dunnit” crime scene game in the maze where participants need to solve a farmyard mystery.
In addition to their six-acre Corn Maze, Lewis Farms has a barrel train, carousel, jumping pillows and a gigantic petting zoo. Find over 70 different kids of animals from the exotic Arabian camel and ring-tailed lemurs, to kangaroos, wallabies, and a giant tortoise.
And you HAVE to check out their massive sunflower field. Ferels says they planted over 100,000 sunflowers in their field, which will include photo opportunity stations.
10991 Vergennes St., Lowell| Facebook
Olin Farm has a corn maze that is fun for all ages. Open Sept. 27 – Nov. 3, this year’s theme is “Horses.” Find a hidden mailbox in the corn maze with a ticket inside, and exchange it for a prize. Olin Farm welcomed two Clydesdale horses to their farm, and also offer tractor-pulled hayrides.
3142 4 Mile Rd NE, Grand Rapids | Facebook
Robinette’s corn maze is honoring the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Guests can take photos of an aerial map of the maze before entering to make the journey easier. There are also “passports” available to help with directions. Their corn maze is open daily through Nov. 2.
1185 9 Mile Rd NW, Sparta | Facebook
The corn maze theme at Schwallier’s has stations throughout where participants find clues or solve puzzles related to the maze theme “Bigfoot.”
All ages are welcome, and the maze takes about 30-45 minutes to complete. On the weekends, children can take a ride on the cow train or the whole family can enjoy a guided wagon ride.
Want More? Check out These Places for Wagon Rides, Activities, Pumpkins and More
9265 Kenowa Ave SW, Grand Rapids | Facebook
Pick your own pumpkins and apples, visit the bakery, and enjoy a 30 minute horse-drawn wagon ride through the orchard. During the ride, you can participate in a scavenger hunt for all ages.
2985 N. Sheridan Road, Stanton | Facebook
Anderson’s offers kid’s train and wagon rides as well as U-Pick pumpkins. They also have animals – lots and lots of barn animals, reindeer, camels, hedgehogs, and lemurs.
1601 Spaulding Ave SE, Grand Rapids | Facebook
Koetsier’s has a “Fall Kids Club” Saturday morning where kids can do a craft or planting activity in the greenhouse.
5081 Bauer Rd., Hudsonville | Facebook
At Post Family Farms you can enjoy a hayride, U-Pick pumpkins, pumpkin or pig train ride, access to the nature trail, covered straw play area, and other fall fun.
1468 West 32nd Street Holland | Facebook
Find wagon-driven hayrides, pony rides, and a hay maze at Teusink’s. Also, check out their barn animals and feed the sheep, goats, and ducks.
Do you know of more mazes or places to find fall fun? Please leave us a comment below!