Corn Mazes and More Offer Fall Fun in Northwest Arkansas

By Jill M. Rohrbach, Ark. Dept. of Parks and Tourism

First posted on 09-20-2011

Plenty of a-maze-ing fun can be found in northwest Arkansas at Farmland Adventures in Springdale, Huck’s Corn Maze in Lowell and the Ozark Corn Maze in Cave Springs.

Farmland Adventures

Farmland Adventures (http://www.farmlandadventures.com) bills itself as “Northwest Arkansas’s newest place for outdoor family fun.” There’s no doubt that friends and family can have a good time with offerings that include a nine-acre giant corn maze, a pumpkin patch, pony rides, a petting zoo, a kids play area and more.

The nine-acre Giant Maize Quest Corn Maze not only has twisting pathways, but also questions, answers and picture rubbings to be found. It’s a maze, game and fun educational experience all in one. The theme is Outback Adventure and the game inside the maze helps visitors learn about Australia. You must find nine creatures unique to the island continent as you wind through a design that is a giant mother kangaroo with a baby joey in her pouch. Along the way you learn about Australia’s history and native people.

A mini corn maze of a koala bear is hidden within the giant corn maze. The mini maze is about one acre and is great for young children.

After dark Farmland Adventures becomes a whole new experience. You can navigate the maze with flashlights for a more difficult challenge. Bring your own flashlight or buy one there. Groups of 20 or more that go at night can also enjoy their own campfire and roast hot dogs or marshmallows. You have to make a reservation and packages vary in price.

The petting zoo and pony rides close at dark, so go early if you want to see farm animals up close. The zoo includes sheep, goats, pigs, calves, ponies, a mule, yaks, and zebu. Feed for the animals is available for $1. Pony rides are unlimited for the day for a price of $5.

The farm’s wagon ride for adults and kids takes about 15 minutes and is included with the purchase of a maze ticket. You can pick your own pumpkin at a cost of 50 cents per pound. Both of these close at dark as well.

Kids can also play, climb and dig at the straw bale maze, hay bale pyramid and corn box. The straw bale maze, much like the corn maze, is created by placing bales in a designed pattern for kids to walk through. The pyramid is a mound of bales stacked together and is specifically designed for climbing around and over. Kids can dig and shovel in the corn box, which is like a sand box filled with corn kernels.

Farmland Adventures is already open for the season from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday through Nov. 5. The cost is $9 for ages 13 years old and up and $7 for ages 3-12. A youth combo pack, which includes pony rides, is $10 per child. Children 2 and under are free with a paying adult. Admission includes the giant and mini corn mazes, kid’s corner, petting zoo, pumpkin patch and wagon rides. Farmland Adventures is open to groups of 20 or more by appointment.

Farmland Adventures is owned by LuDonna and Dwain Parsons. The Parsons family came to the area in the late 1800s or early 1900s and settled in the country on the east side of Springdale by 1910. Over the years, different generations have increased the farm’s acreage and types of farming. By the 40s and 50s they were growing strawberries, grapes, apples and peaches and had livestock such as turkeys, chickens, cows, horses and pigs. In the 60s the land was primarily used for livestock and most of the fruit crops were gone. Turkeys were phased out in the 80s. In an effort to increase the productivity and sustainability of the farm, LuDonna and Dwain added free range laying chickens in 2008 and sheep and goats in 2009. The agritourism venture started in 2010 when a pony ride and a petting zoo business were added with this year enhancing that feature.

Huck’s Corn Maze

Also new on the scene is Huck’s Corn Maze (http://www.huckscornmaze.com) with a five-acre maze cut in the shape of Popeye. Maps are available at the gate, which is good because there are plenty of dead ends and paths that will have people retracing their steps if they don’t choose well.

Huck’s offers numerous other activities. You can build your own scarecrow, pick your own pumpkin, jump in bouncy houses, plunge down the 20-foot inflatable slide or take a hayride. There is also a water balloon slingshot, beanbag toss and corn box. “The kids love it,” explains Whit Parker. “We are looking at doing a huge bubble station for the kids also. We will be having live music nights as we book them. Just keep looking at the website for updates.”

On the grounds, you’ll also find a free photo spot with an antique Johnny Popper John Deere tractor and a hay wagon. Parker encourages people to bring their camera and take as many photos as they like.

“Wagon Wheel Country Cafe is doing our food service with hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, funnel cakes, fried Snickers, sodas—basically the works,” adds Parker.

The maze has already opened for the season and runs from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Thursday, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. For nighttime maze-going, bring a flashlight or rent one from Huck’s. A special trick-or-treat maze night is Oct. 28.

The cost is $5 per person, children and adults. Ages two and under are free. Group rates are $4 per person for the maze. Email a week in advance for schools and field trips. Costs vary for other activities.

“The best part is you will be supporting our [Lowell] fire and police departments. I am giving fifty percent of my proceeds to help buy equipment for the people who take care of us when we need them most,” adds Parker.

Ozark Corn Maze

The Ozark Corn Maze (http://www.ozarkcornmaze.com) is 10,000 feet of foot path containing loops, dead ends and multiple choice intersections within 5.5 acres of corn stalks. Although it is again a Razorback theme, the design has changed significantly from last year. Kate Wallis says the maze is more difficult this time, but does still have an early exit option. Maps are provided for those that want them. After dark, flashlights will be provided.

The attraction first opened last year. Because of numerous requests from maze-goers, the owners added a Haunted Maze this year. The haunted maze is about two acres. Wallis says, “It almost looks like neurons and synapses on paper.” There are four major fright areas and only one way out of each of them. “I think it’s going to be very unique,” she says.

The Ozark Corn Maze opened Sept. 16. The hours are 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The haunted maze is open from dark (6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.) to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights in October. It is open by appointment for groups and organizations.

Other attractions at the maze include a cow train, corn cannons, a pumpkin patch, and concessions. 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. Using compressed air, the corn cannon can shoot corncobs 300 feet into the air. You can aim at two large wooden panels with painted circular targets set at different distances in a field.

A petting zoo contains goats and lambs. New this year is an approximately 30-foot climbing tower for the goats.

The corn maze costs $7 per person with ages 2 and under free. There is a group rate for 10 or more of $5 per person. A ride on the cow train is $2 per person. Shooting the corn cannons is $1. The petting zoo is free. The pumpkin picking varies in price by weight of pumpkin, although the miniature pumpkins are $1. The haunted maze is $10 per person. When you purchase a ticket for the haunted maze you get to do the regular maze, too.

Wallis says there is no age limit restriction for going through the haunted maze. “We would leave that to the parent’s common sense and judgment,” she says. However, Wallis suggests it is appropriate for ages 8 and up. “It involves the element of surprise versus blood and gore,” she explains.

Wallis adds, “The big maze is enough of a challenge at night with the flashlights that younger kids could still do that and have fun with it.”