A-MAZE-ing New Attraction Opens in Cave Springs, AR
By Jill M. Rohrbach, Ark. Dept. of Parks and Tourism
First posted on 09-02-2010
With 10,000 feet of foot path containing loops, dead ends, and multiple choice intersections inside of five and a half acres of corn, it’s safe to say that you will, in fact, get lost in the Ozark Corn Maze opening Sept. 2 in Cave Springs. The question is how long will it take you to find your way out?
“It’s not a terribly difficult maze,” said Rod Wallis, the owner.
But the size is equivalent to winding your way through the space of five football fields filled with corn. You can’t see through it; 40,000 seeds per acre were planted. You can’t see over it; the corn stands 8 feet tall.
Wallis said Precision Mazes of Lee’s Summit, Mo. used GPS technology to create and cut the labyrinth design. The unique pattern Wallis chose adds to the degree of difficulty. “We received permission from the University of Arkansas to do a Razorback shape,” Wallis said. However, it’s like the saying “you can’t see the forest for the trees,” he explained, because you can’t see the hog shape from the ground, only by aerial view.
Directional arrows will be posted within the maze for families with younger kids that need a shorter experience. Others can ignore those signs and make their way through on their own.
“We will provide maps if people want them,” Wallis said. “I think it’s more fun to just walk in, take your time, then come out the exit.” After dark, flashlights will be provided.
Wallis has wanted to build a corn maze since seeing an interview on television a few years ago about a guy in Utah who created one. A builder, Wallis was too busy during the construction boom to pursue it.
“Finally we had the time and we just decided to jump in and do it,” he explained. “I just think it will be great fun.”
Wallis and his wife Kate both laud the outdoor experience as entertainment families can enjoy together. “You can come here and interact with your kids or go to a movie for the same price,” Wallis said. While each activity can involve the whole family, he said the maze allows people to engage each other in a shared experience.
Thomas Rohrbach, 8, of Fayetteville got a preview of the attraction. “I kind of felt lost a couple of times and it was kind of spooky sometimes because you could hear the rattling of the corn stalks and feel the wind,” he explained. “It was a little harder than I thought.”
His father Mike added that it was more difficult than he expected as well. “I knew we could find our way out,” he explained. “But was surprised at how many times I questioned whether we had already been through the same area.”
Thomas’ other favorite activity was the Corn Cannon. In addition to the maze, there is a Corn Cannon to shoot at a cost of $1, and a Cow Train kids can ride for $2. A free petting zoo contains goats, pigs, and a calf.
Using compressed air, the Corn Cannon can shoot corn cobs 300 feet into the air. You can aim at two large wooden panels with painted circular targets set at different distances in a field.
The Cow Train was built by hand and is pulled by a 1939 Ford Tractor. Named “Buckin’ Betsy,” it consists of about 12 individual cars that look like cows and move up and down as they are pulled around the farm.
Another part of this agri-tourism destination is the pumpkin patch, where you can purchase a pumpkin at a price based on size. “We’re going to let kids pick their own pumpkins,” Wallis said. “We have a lot of really nice 10-pound pumpkins.” This was 4-year-old James Rohrbach’s favorite. “I got little pumpkins,” he said.
The Wallis family planted 1,500 hills with two varietals of pumpkins. There are Jack Be Little miniatures and Magic Lanterns. The latter are perfect for Jack O’Lanterns, added Wallis’ wife Kate.
The attraction will be open September through Nov. 14. It is closed on Monday, and open by appointment only on Tuesday and Wednesday for field trips for schools, church groups, day cares and children’s organizations.
The labyrinth is open to the public from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday; from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday; and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $7 per individual, and $5 each for groups of 10 or more. Call 479-366-6246 or visit http://www.ozarkcornmaze.com for more information.
Concessions, such as hot dogs, popcorn, sodas, and other snacks, will be available. “And we’re going to try to have some healthier stuff as well,” Wallis added.
The maze is easy to get to from Interstate 540 or Ark. 112. “We’re really in the center of northwest Arkansas here,” Wallis said. “It has that country feel to it but we have great traffic count coming by.”
From Interstate 540, take exit 78 (same exit as Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport) to Ark. 264. Follow 264 to Cave Springs. At its intersection with Ark. 112, turn left (south) and drive approximately one mile. You’ll see the corn maze on the right.