Have an Ahh-MAZE-ing Time
Atlanta Parent sent five families to scope out the fun at five terrific corn maze attractions north of the metro area. Each family had a grand time following the clues and emerged from the tall stalks with tales to share. The kids especially enjoyed some of the extra features on site, from hayrides and bonfires to “corn boxes,” which are sandboxes filled with dried corn.
Buck’s Corn Maze
1923 New Hope Road, Dawsonville.
About 70 miles from Atlanta
Open: through Nov. 4
Your family can experience Buck’s Corn Maze in the daytime or at night.
In the light of day, Buck’s is perfect for little ones. Owned and run by Truman and June Samples, the 12-plus acres of corn rows – to be decorated for Halloween – have wide paths meant to accommodate most strollers.
The youngest explorers can meander along well-maintained paths cut into a menagerie of farm animal shapes. Along the way, kids use hole punchers at various stations to check their progress on a map.
There are five miles of paths within the full maze. The shorter route took our family about 30 minutes, which included several stops our 2-year-old had to make to pick up dirt. June Samples says most people take about 45 minutes to get through the full maze. If anyone gets “corn-fused,” or if your toddler gets tuckered out, there’s a phone number on your map to get assistance.
What parents like: The scenic drive from the main highway to Buck’s.
What kids like: Hole-punch stations to chart your maze progress; the pretty country landscape.
Extras: Only on Saturdays in October, the maze becomes the “haunted maze” after dark (recommended for ages 12 and up). Hayrides take you around the maze, along a creek and through a shady stand of mature Bradford pear trees. Buck’s also offers a fire pit and a corn hole game. Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic and enjoy the pastoral views. Group tours by appointment.
Oct.: Sun.-Thurs., 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.; Fri., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Nov. 2-4: Fri., 5-8 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.- 9 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Costs: Corn maze only, $7 ages 5-10, $8 ages 11 and older; hayride only, $4 and $5; combo ticket $11 and $12. Ages 4 and younger free with paid adult. Horse rides, $5 all ages.
Tip: Visit nearby apple farms or the town of Ellijay for a full day of fun.
– Sarah Buehrle
Uncle Shuck’s Corn Maze
4520 Hwy. 53 E, Dawsonville
About 50 miles from Atlanta
Open: through Nov. 18
Getting lost with a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old has never been so much fun! Uncle Shuck’s offers three mazes that are open daily – plus a haunted maze that is open on select evenings.
If you have young kids, it’s best not to jump headfirst into the largest maze, as that can take up to an hour to weave through. We warmed up with the short introductory maze that is marked with fun facts about corn. Then we stepped up to the medium-size maze, which contains six checkpoints to find. At each one, you can stamp your map and move onto the next. The boys enjoyed punching holes in their card as much as anything else!
Finding your way from one checkpoint to the next is much harder than you might think. Twists and turns are all along the way. There’s a wooden bridge in the maze that is a great landmark if you get a little turned around. The boys loved climbing on the bridge and trying to get the lay of the land. We found that going through the maze provided great lessons in both math and map reading. Older kids will enjoy solving the F.S.I. (Farm Scene Investigation) mystery, and they can collect stamps along the way. Some older kids may choose to try the haunted maze, but be warned: No flashlights allowed!
What parents like: It’s a fun, fresh-air activity for the whole family. Kids leave happy and tired after wandering through up to four miles of trails.
What kids like: Roasting marshmallows on a giant bonfire. It’s included with the hayride!
Extras: There’s a kiddie maze and a playground. There’s plenty of festival-type food. Visitors are welcome to feed resident goats. A variety of pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn
are for sale.
Oct.: Sun.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.;
Nov.: Fri., 4-10 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: $10 corn maze; $13 corn maze and hayride (includes bonfire); $13 haunted maze (with corn maze); $16 corn maze, haunted maze and hayride. $5 hayride/bonfire only; $1 corn cannon. Children 4 and younger, free.
– Rachel Quartarone
5340 Cornelia Highway, Alto
About 70 miles north of Atlanta
Open: through Nov. 4
Jaemor’s corn maze is celebrating its centennial year. Carved into the maze are the words “100th ANNIVERSARY JAEMOR,” along with several happy jack-o’-lantern faces. Spanning eight acres and with stalks 10 feet high, this maze is full of challenging twists and turns. There are not many dead ends, but there are plenty of opportunities to end up back where you started! Hidden in the maze are nine story boards that answer questions about the farm’s history. There are also picture stations hidden in the maze that can be used for a crayon rubbing. This all resulted in a great maze experience. We enjoyed trying to figure out which part of the jack-o’-lanterns we were in, or which alphabet letter we were walking though. My husband led the way with the help of a Maize-O-Vision map, and our three girls (ages 7, 7 and 8) were more than eager to offer their two cents about which direction to take next.
What parents like: My husband enjoyed the opportunity to use his map-reading skills to lead the family through the maze.
I was happy to tag along, just enjoying the family outing.
What kids like: Our 8-year-old enjoyed the challenges of the story boards and rubbings, while the two 7-year-olds liked trying to figure out which way to go in the maze.
Extras: You’re welcome to bring your own picnic to enjoy. Restrooms are available. There are also a hayride and Pumpkin Train, plus added attractions such as apple cannons, hand-pump duck races and a farm slide.
Oct.-Nov.: Fri., 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., 1-6 p.m. Corn maze and hayrides open all day. Other attractions 4 p.m. to close on Fridays and all day Saturdays and Sundays.
Cost: $9 corn maze (ages 4-9), $10 (ages 10 and older). $3 mini maze, ages 4 and older. Last ticket sold one hour before closing. $4 hayrides (ages 4 and older); $3 Pumpkin Train (ages 3 and older); $12 “value access pass” includes maze, hayride plus three attractions. Kids under age 3 admitted free with paying adult.
– Leigh Middleton
Cagle’s Family Farm
362 Stringer Road, Canton
About 54 miles from Atlanta
Open: through Nov. 11
I’ve been leery of trying corn mazes in the past. The thought of being trapped in a cornfield with two young sons and trying to figure our way out was just not something I wanted to do. But I decided to face my “fear,” and we set out to enjoy the early fall weather at Cagle’s Family Farm in Cherokee County.
With more than three miles of paths, the maze offered plenty of farm fun. We followed clues and navigated our way through the maze in about 20 minutes. We liked that the Cagle farm designed its maze to raise awareness for the Brian Tumor Foundation for Children; on opening weekend, a portion of proceeds was donated to that cause. With its easy twists and turns, the maze was fun for our 8-year-old, who enjoyed reading the clues. Our 5-year-old, however, was anxious to get to the other activities. Dad and our 8-year-old decided to do the maze again, while younger brother hopped his way to other fun.
What parents like: The farm tour offered a lot of bang for the buck; it was an educational experience that the entire family enjoyed.
What kids like: Our 8-year-old was intrigued by the idea of visiting the “haunted barn,” but settled for a peek from the outside. Our 5-year-old enjoyed the giant jumping pillow (50-by-20 feet) and the pony rides. Both boys enjoyed roasting marshmallows at the bonfire and picking out pumpkins for us to bring home.
Extras: Hayride, petting farm, full farm tour with dairy cow milking demonstration and more. A nicely shaded open-air picnic pavilion offers ample seating to enjoy snacks and concessions. You can bring your own picnic to enjoy under one of the many shaded trees.
Oct. & Nov.: Fri., 5-11 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: $10 corn maze; $7 “Ag-Venture” farm tours (Sat. and Sun. only, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.); $7 bonfire/hayrides (Fri. and Sat., 6-10 p.m.); $12 “Haunted Barn” (Oct. 5-27 only, Fri.-Sat., 7 p.m.-midnight, ages 13 and up). Combo tickets (excluding haunted barn): $15 for two events; $20 for three events.
$28 All-Access Pass (includes haunted barn). Kids younger
than 3 admitted free with paying adult.
– Dana diLorenzo
Buford Corn Maze
4470 Bennett Rd., Buford
About 30 miles from Atlanta (from Spaghetti Junction)
Open: through Nov. 4
This family-run corn maze is a fun-filled place and a great outing for all ages! The corn maze is moderately difficult; its pattern is likely to lead even a group of teenagers to a few dead ends. Younger children will enjoy navigating the map with their parents, family or friends, while trying to figure out the Secret Phrase! The path within the maze is a little bumpy, but can be navigated with a jogging stroller. Once you are inside the maze, there are not many clues to guide you along the map – so it’s important to focus on any turns you make. We decided it was reasonably challenging, but not enough that we needed to call for assistance. It took our family of four (with jogging stroller), about an hour to complete the maze. We felt very accomplished when we successfully came out!
Extras: The 20-minute hayride takes you around the maze and into a forest. Kids ages 1-5 will love the corn box. Pony rides cost $5, while a bounce house is $2 per jumping session. The haunted forest (ages 8-12 must be accompanied by an adult) is only open at night: Thurs. and Sun., 8-10 p.m., Fri. and Sat., 8 p.m.-midnight; encounter creatures and ghosts during this scary adventure on foot. Chopper, the Gwinnett Braves mascot, is set to visit Oct. 13, 2-3 p.m. Relax in a shaded pavilion. There are 20 snow cone/slushie flavors for sale at the concession booth. You’ll also find great spots for taking group photos.
Oct.: Mon.-Wed., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thurs., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri., 10 a.m.-midnight; Sat., noon-midnight; Sun., 1-10 p.m.; Oct. 31, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Nov.: Thurs., 6-10 p.m., Fri., 6 p.m.-midnight; Sat., noon-midnight; Sun., 1-10 p.m.
Cost: $12 maze/hayride package or haunted forest/hayride package; $18 combo maze/haunted forest/hayride package. Kids 3 and younger are free.
– Sharie Basset
For additional area corn mazes see our Halloween Calendar.