By Jennifer Young

Fall and the approach of the harvest season means that seasonal fun is sure to be laid out like a labyrinth–a maze, to be specific. It is corn maze season and the Midwest boasts a bounty of mazes that attract visitors from near and far. Running through winding stalks of corn is a popular Autumn pastime in America, but mazes actually have a far more ancient past.

The idea for the corn maze can be traced back to the ancient Greek myth of the Minotaur who lived at the center of a labyrinth on the island of Crete. The hero Theseus was able to kill the Minotaur but was only able to find his way out of the labyrinth with the help of the Cretan king’s daughter, Ariadne, who gave him a ball of string to use to trace his way back out. In the English language, the term labyrinth is synonymous with the word maze.

GREEK DEPICTION OF THE MINOTAUR’s MAZE


According to archaeologists, mazes go back even further in time. It’s thought that prehistoric people created mazes to trap evil spirits or for other rituals. Today, it’s primarily young children and their families who enjoy running through America’ corn mazes and most may have little thought of Minotaurs or evil spirits. If you’re looking for a fun fall activity to enjoy with family or friends, grab yourself a thermos of apple cider and head to one of the following mazes–some of the best corn mazes you’ll find in the Midwest.

Deere Farms Corn Maze, Lanesville, Ind.

As the largest corn maze in Southern Indiana, the Deere Farms Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch is a great place to enjoy a crisp fall Saturday. And, if you believe yourself to be a corn maze expert, test your skills with an evening run–but you’ll need to bring your own flashlight!

Blast Corn Maze, Dexter, Mich.

If you prefer a genuine challenge and don’t mind being on your feet for a while, head to Dexter, Mich., to experience the Blast Corn Maze. This tricky maze is set within 10 acres and includes 3.5 miles of trails. Hayrides, treat, and a pumpkin patch are also part of this special seasonal attraction.

Colony Pumpkin Patch, North Liberty, Iowa

The Colony Pumpkin Patch of North Liberty, Iowa, is set on 10 acres, and while there are other long mazes at other locations in the Midwest that are also noteworthy, this one is special as some of the proceeds go to support research into childhood diseases. You can run the maze for a good cause and also enjoy other on-site activities like the train ride, duck races, and more.

Heap’s Haunted Corn Maze, Minooka, Ill.

What’s better than a corn maze? A haunted corn maze, naturally! This night-only corn maze strewn with monsters and ghostly apparitions is perfect for teens and adults who like a little Halloween ambience to enhance their time in the corn. If you’re visiting with younger kids, there’s a less-scary maze to enjoy as well.

County Line Orchard, Hobart, Ind.

Each year, the County Line Orchard creates a new corn maze. In 2015, the orchard celebrated the Chicago Blackhawks with a maze dedicated to the team. This year, the maze will pay homage to the family tradition of baking apple pie. There’s also a Gummi Bear-designed corn maze that’s a little easier for youngsters to run.

In case these locations are a bit far for you to travel to, consider some terrific honorable mentions that might be closer to your home!

Tom’s Maze, Germantown, Ohio

Konow’s Corn Maze, Homer Glen, Ill.

All Seasons Orchard, Woodstock, Ill.

Richardson Corn Maze, Spring Grove, Ill.

Exploration Acres, Lafayette, Ind.

EXPLORATION ACRES IN LAFAYETTE