Martin W. Schwartz
A seasonal tradition that ranks right up there with perusing the pumpkin patch and slipping into cozy flannel, Missouri’s corn mazes seem to grow every year—and not just by acreage. Increasingly impressive feats of landscaping, only truly appreciated from an aerial view, depict cultural icons or pertain to a theme carried throughout the farm’s additional tourist attractions.
These agricultural marvels are made using GPS and a grid system to allow farmers to precisely cut the crops into a shape or design and require months of planning.
An adaptation of the centuries-old English hedge mazes, the corn maze became a mainstay in American autumnal vogue in 1993, when the country’s first maze opened in Pennsylvania at Lebanon Valley College. Here in the Show-Me State, corn mazes range from intricate to not-so-intricate, appealing to both those who have a terrible sense of direction (or small children), and seasoned masters who want the added thrill of spooky creatures chasing them.
Courtesy of Liberty Corn Maze
Liberty Corn Maze
Liberty Corn Maze, Liberty
This maze is for puzzle diehards! At Liberty Corn Maze, you’ll find twenty five acres of cornfields featuring seven different mazes to solve. Three shorter amazes, perfect for the younger adventurers, are made from soybeans, rocks, and rope. The election-year theme is “Rock the Vote.”
For the more adventurous, there is the big maze, made of four individual mazes, each one a different length and increasing in difficulty. Bridges can be found throughout the mazes to get a better view of the path ahead. “Corn Helpers” are also on hand to make sure everyone keeps going in the right direction.
The Liberty Corn Maze is part of Carolyn’s Country Cousins, a working farm with sixty acres of pumpkins, corn, and soybeans, plus another twenty acres set aside for entertainment. New this year is a giant, inflatable jumping pad that is shaped like a pumpkin. You can also hop on a railroad train car, watch a pig race, or mine for gems.
Open Friday 5–10 PM, Saturday 10 AM–10 PM, and Sunday 10 AM–5 PM through October 30. Admission $10 for ages thirteen and up, $8 for children four to twelve, and free for children three and younger. Season tickets are available.
17607 Northeast 52nd St. • 816-820-5388 • Facebook: Liberty Corn Maze
Courtesy of Verona Corn Maze
Verona Corn Maze
The MAiZE, located in Verona, is a seven-acre labyrinth now in its seventeenth year of operation. You could likely spend all fall here and not run out of things to do. This year, the corn maze consists of the words “Thank You Farmers” in the outline of a barnyard.
You’ll walk at least two miles, and that’s not counting the dead-ends and circles you’ll encounter along the way. Leave yourself about forty-five minutes from start to finish.
Brave souls with itchy trigger fingers will enjoy the Zombie Harvest, in which participants shoot paintballs at the walking dead from the back of an army truck. There is also a haunted “Field of Screams” version of the corn maze, which takes place every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after dark.
The farm raises money for Verona’s Group Residential Individualized Program (GRIP) Boys Home, which provides therapeutic, vocational, educational, and recreational services, as well as housing for boys in need.
Open Wednesday 5–8:30 PM, Friday 5–10 PM, and Saturday 2–10 PM. Admission $10 to $18.
23298 Lawrence 1150 • 417-498-6191 • VeronaMaze.com
Courtesy of Beggs Family Farm
Beggs Family Farm
Beggs Family Farm, Sikeston
The Beggs family opens the farm’s sixteenth annual corn maze with a nostalgic theme: “The
Great Pumpkin,” featuring images of Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy, and, of course, a giant pumpkin.
To solve the ten-acre puzzle, visitors can take a game sheet with a coded map to navigate the twists and turns. A new feature this year is Corn Text, in which participants use their smartphones to get clues.
For a different kind of maze, check out Miner Max. Here you will make your way over and around several oversize obstacles and end up at a real gemstone mining sluice. You will receive a bag of mining rough (dirt) containing hidden gemstones that you and your family can sift through for treasure.
For the first time, Beggs will host a movie night at the farm on Saturday, October 8. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the 1966 animated autumn classic, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Beggs Family Farm started as Beggs Melon Company in 1895. On 1,100 acres, they grow watermelon, corn, soybeans, and pumpkins.
Open Wednesday and Thursday 9 AM–2 PM, Friday 9 AM–4 PM, Saturday 10 AM–9 PM, and Sunday 10 AM–6 PM through October 30. Admission $11 for ages two and up.
2319 Highway U • 573-471-3879 • BeggsFamilyFarm.com
Courtesy of Shuck's Maze
Shuck’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch, Pleasant Hill
Shuck’s offers two mazes in one—the big one, stretching twelve acres with plenty of twists and turns, and a two-acre mini-maze called “Lil’ Shucks.” You also have the option of going to Flashlight Nights after 6 PM on Friday and Saturday. After the maze, ride the barrel train, climb the Hay Mountain, whiz down a 150-foot zip line, play outdoor laser tag, or lounge in a sandbox full of corn kernels known as the Corn Crib.
Food and beverages are available, and Shuck’s can help schools and day cares with planned field trips on weekdays.
Open Friday 6–10 PM, Saturday Noon–10 PM, and Sunday 1–6 PM through November 1. Admission $8 to $11.
20156 South Highway 291 • 816-600-0024 • ShucksMaze.com
Shryocks Callaway Farm, Columbia
The corn maze is very much a family affair for the Shryocks. The fifteenacre labyrinth was the idea of the farmer’s children, who delighted in hiding and making trails in his soybean and corn fields. The maze first opened in 2002 in the shape of the Mizzou tiger logo.
Within the maze, visitors will find checkpoints to help them navigate. For an added challenge, try the maze during Flashlight Night, when the maze is open after-hours and you must complete the trail in the dark. Expect to spend an hour and a half to two hours in the maze. For parents with small children, or those who do not want to finish the maze, exits are easily found along the edges of the field.
Inside the Big Red Barn, visitors can buy refreshments and enjoy other activities. Check out the three-story gumball coaster, in which gumballs race along tracks in the rafters and front wall, swooping upward, and then down a series of gadgets before reaching the bottom.
Outside the barn, you can hop on a hayride or pick out the perfect pumpkin from the pumpkin patch. At the end of the day, cozy up to the campfire with a cup of hot cider or cocoa. Shryocks began operations in 1889. Today, the farm is in the hands of the fourth and fifth generations, who grow corn, soybeans, and wheat.
Open Friday 4–9 PM, Saturday 10 AM–9 PM, and Sunday 2–6 PM through October 30. Admission: $10 for adults, $9 for children five to twelve, free for children four and younger. All children under twelve must be accompanied by an adult.
2927 County Road 253 • 573-592-0191 • CallawayFarms.com/the-corn-maze
Courtesy of Monster Corn Maze
Monster Corn Maze
Monster Corn Maze, Cabool
Remember the movie Children of the Corn? It’s kind of like that. Navigate through a three-story haunted house full of creatures, ghosts, and monster hillbillies. If you survive the house, you’ll encounter a haunted village in the woods where crypts, coffin shops, butchers, shacks, and a deathly tavern await. Finally, creep through the monster-infested corn to escape. There is no easy way to exit the maze once you have entered. Obviously, the Monster Corn Maze is not advised for young children.
Open Friday and Saturday from dark until 11 PM through October 29. Admission $15 to $25.
181 State Road AM • 417-962-2676 • MonsterCornMaze.com