PLEASE NOTE: While this post from 2014 will give you a great overview of the event, please be sure to consult their website to double check details such as hours & pricing.
Pssst! Did you read Mandy’s post on Tuesday about Easy Pickin’s Orchard in Enfield? Because this outing would make a great companion adventure to a morning/afternoon of apple picking! Just sayin… 🙂
Every fall since we’ve had children we face what I call “the corn maze conundrum.” To maze or not to maze, that is always the question.
Here are a few things that I have noticed about many of the corn maze activities in our area:
1. They are often included as a part of fall festivals or at venues with lots of other activities going on. Now, this is not a bad thing, of course. We love festivals! But I’ve found that without fail, it’s the corn maze activity that gets the axe when I’ve got two cranky kids worn out from play areas, hay rides, pumpkin picking, face painting, fritter-eating and all those other wonderful distractions. If my kids are going to have a meltdown, the last place I want to be is lost in a field of corn! Ha!
2. Some mazes may be fun for small children to navigate, but they are really designed for older kids and adults with trivia questions, complex themes, and tricky pathways. That’s okay. Grown-ups are allowed to have fun too! But it can all be a little much for the little ones.
3. Corn maze entry fees can be kind of expensive. If you’ve got two or three little ones, you could easily spend over $30 for your family at some mazes! That’s quite an investment, especially if you aren’t sure if your children will even last for more than a few minutes.
So what’s a family with young kids to do? Go to Garden’s Dream Farm in Enfield, CT of course!
Now, Garden’s Dream is first and foremost a garden center. And let me tell you, they mean business! They have the most gorgeous plants and flowers. And now they’ve got rows and rows of pumpkins and bins overflowing with all kinds of interestingly shaped gourds. So if you’re looking to make your front porch or yard fall-ready, this is the place to go!
And then bonus: There’s this amazing corn maze there! Now, if that won’t entice your kiddos to go shopping, I don’t know what will!
According to the website, the maze covers nearly 7 acres! The cost to enter is a mere $5/person (cash or credit), with children 5 and under admitted free. Now, that is truly a bargain in the world of corn mazes 🙂 Just get your tickets at that little shed at the edge of the parking area and you’re good to go!
But wait, there’s more! This maze has the most adorable theme. It’s like a wild animal hunt, with Bigfoot (that’s right, Bigfoot!) being the ultimate find. All along the way, the kids will run into different animals and clues as to where to find Bigfoot. It’s absolutely adorable. And so much more age-appropriate for the wee ones than trivia questions! Your admission “ticket” is actually a scorecard that you can use to keep track of each animal discovery (crayons are provided for writing).
But first, you have to find the maze 🙂
It’s through the plant display area and back behind the greenhouses.
It’s a big one alright!
Of course there are twists and turns and dead ends, but it wasn’t too long before we ran into some “animals”. (Spoiler alert: I’m going to show you some pictures of the “critters” we encountered, so make sure no little ones are looking over your shoulder!).
None of these creatures are real, of course. But still, coming around the corner this one kind of freaked me out just a little. Boo thought it was fantastic 🙂
There are 12 animals to find, and then the hunt is on for Bigfoot. The estimated time to find all the checkpoints is 90 minutes, and that sounds about right. We missed 2 or 3 of the animals, but decided to keep going forward rather than spend time retracing our steps to find them. Boo did not seem to mind at all. It probably took us about an hour from start to finish.
Now, I know what you are thinking. Stuck in a corn maze for an hour??? But rest assured that there is at least 1 (and possibly 2, although we couldn’t tell if it was the same one we had passed once before) “emergency exit” that we spotted along the way, and yes, it will lead you out to a porta potty in the event that it’s needed. Am I a mind reader or what?! 😉
Fortunately, we did not need to use the emergency exit on this visit (although, we came close to needing to make a snack run to the car for the little guy–I don’t know what I was thinking leaving everything except my phone and wallet in the car and taking on an hour-long corn maze. Good one, Shawna.)
And we found Bigfoot!
As the sign indicates, Garden’s Dream runs a weekly contest where you can post your picture with Bigfoot to their social media sites and be entered in a weekly drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. To that end, you’ll find a big box of props nearby so you can really ham it up with the big guy.
What do you think, are any of these a winning shot?
Finally, we had to stop posing for the camera as another group of maze explorers wandered in for their own Bigfoot photo shoot.
At this point, the kids were ready to be done anyway. Fortunately, the exit was not very far.
Once you’re out, just follow the path straight past the green houses. I have the world’s worst sense of direction, so I had no idea that we were actually right near the exact spot where we had entered the maze.
And that was it. We did it!
Finally! A family-friendly corn maze that the little ones can really enjoy. Plus, you’ll have enough money left over to buy some pumpkins. I think that’s pretty amazing 🙂
Phone: (860) 835-6652
Find them on Facebook!
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day (seasonal; maze opened August 25th for the 2014 season)
Last admission 4:00 p.m.
Ages 6 and up $5/person. 5 and under FREE.
- Stroller Friendly: NOT REALLY. The maze is not really suited for a stroller. It’s bumby terrain and very narrow in places. Bring a wearable baby carrier for your non-walkers or wobbly walkers.
- Coffee Mug Friendly: YES. But you need to bring your own coffee.
- Restroom: YES. Porta potty behind the greenhouses.
- Baby Changing Station: NO.
- Parking: YES.
- Food for Sale: No.
- Outside Food Allowed: Sure. We brought snacks for the kids. But there isn’t a picnicking area available.
- Cash Required: NO. Credit cards accepted for purchases from the garden store AND corn maze admission.
- Dress Code: No clothing requirements, but I might suggest comfortable, closed-toed shoes or boots for your footwear choice (the ground can get dusty in the maze, plus it’s a lot of walking). And be aware that it could be muddy if there has been a lot of rain.
- Evening/Weekend Hours: YES. Open daily.
Tips & Things to Bring
- Be sure to bring your camera for various photo ops.
- Don’t forget to post your photo with Bigfoot to their social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for a chance to win an Amazon gift card worth $25! (A new winner chosen each week.)
- I kind of wish we had brought in our own props for our pictures with Bigfoot. If you think of it, bring something unique to use in your photo. Hey, it might just score you that Amazon gift card!
- Make it a whole day of fall fun by combining this outing with a trip to Easy Pickin’s orchard, also in Enfield.
- 4D Vision Gym – A vision training center located in Cromwell, CT where Dr. Juanita Collier, MS, OD and her staff show members how to utilize Vision Therapy to correct visual issues and make learning and playing easier and more fun.
- Imagine Studio – Under the direction of Karla Kress-Boyle, opening this fall at 97 South Street is West Hartford’s only Creative Arts Studio. Focusing on building imagination and self confidence, our wonderful staff will be sharing their talents in Dance, Art, Music, Yoga and Theater programming.
- The Independent Day School – Located on a rural campus in Middlefield, CT this private pre-school, elementary and middle school serves families from over 20 communities.
- Mandell JCC – The Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT., welcomes and serves families and individuals of all ages, stages, backgrounds and faiths. Our fitness, wellness and recreation, arts and culture, camp, early childhood education programs, classes, clubs and services are open to all. You Belong Here!
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