Thursday, October 5, 2017

Get Lost! . . . On Purpose in a Corn Field

Corn mazes are a special kind of fun. They test your problem-solving skills (and patience!). They strengthen your team (or family) bond. They happen during a beautiful time of year, giving you a great excuse to get out and walk around in the fresh air. And, they give you a sense of accomplishment and bragging rights.

Ever thought of doing one, but not sure what to expect? Here's one recommendation.

This is the second year we've visited the Rural Hill Amazing Maize Maze. It's less than 30 minutes from uptown and easy to get to. They are offer both daytime and nighttime maze hours. Admission ranges from $8 (day maze for a child age 5-12) to $16 (night maze age 13+). (Visit the Rural Hill Amazing Maize Maze webpage for ticket prices and hours.)

When you arrive, you'll park in a well-marked field adjacent to the corn maze. Follow the signs to the ticket tent where you'll pay admission for the maze. They also sell refreshments (snacks and candy) and tickets for a hayride ($3/person). With your admission, you'll get a maze game board and golf pencil.

Make sure to take a bathroom break before you begin. The only restrooms are porta-potties, but they are clean and well maintained. There's also a hand-washing station available. They also have two large, covered picnic areas perfect for lunch or snack during your visit.

When you're ready, meet a guide at the maze entrance, where you'll get an orientation. Here's how it works: The maze is broken into a grid. Each square section has a numbered mailbox. When you find the mailbox, you'll get a piece of the puzzle to tape to the corresponding grid section on your map. The completed puzzle will show a picture of the maze, on which you can use your pencil to map out your escape. This year's maze is in the shape of a log cabin, similar to the real one you can find on the grounds of the Rural Hill farm.

At the start, you'll get a tall flag to carry with you. Staff members are always monitoring the field from a bridge over the maze. The flag enables them to follow your progress. If at any point you need help (even just a clue!) you can wave the flag and they'll send someone down to assist.

A few things to note . . . You don't necessarily have to find all the puzzle pieces to find the finish line. It's technically possible to make your way to the end without stopping at any mailboxes.

Also, throughout the maze, the pathway is marked with colored tape. The tape corresponds to the part of the picture (in this case, the log cabin) that you're in. For example, the door and windows may be marked by blue tape, while the cabin walls are marked by orange tape. This is only marginally helpful in finding your way to the finish line!

If you need a clue, you can make your way to the bridge and ask for help. You may also run into a staff members out on the course. Everyone there is very friendly.

During the course of the challenge, you'll probably swing from excited, to stumped, to encouraged, to frustrated, to motivated, to exasperated. But when you reach the finish line, you'll feel a well-earned sense of accomplishment. It is especially satisfying to ring the bell indicating you've done it!

So, give it a try. There are other corn mazes in town, but Rural Hill is a good, family-friendly place to start.

How to get there:
Historic Rural Hill is located at 4431 Neck Rd., Huntersville, NC, 28078. The entrance to the farm is well marked and it will be immediately obvious where to park when you arrive.
Don't forget to take:
  • Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen: There's no shade out on the course.
  • Water: They have refill stations throughout the maze course. . . if you can find them!
  • Snacks or lunch: You might want to have a small snack on hand while you're in the maze. There are also lots of shady picnic tables for a picnic lunch when you're done.
  • Shoes: Comfy sneakers will do.

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