Every year, as soon as the first leaf falls (or more likely when I see all the pumpkin spice hit the shelves), I know it’s time to plan my trip to Minnesota apple orchards. And, every year as I picked apples, I looked longingly over at the corn maze, hearing joyful shouts and laughter.
I had never taken on the corn maze challenge as a child. I wanted to put my navigational skills to the test. I convinced (and by convinced, I mean bribed) my friends to join me in the labyrinth. I figured we’d be in and out within a half hour – I mean there were ten-year-old children maneuvering through the maze, after all (though, for all I know those kids started the maze as toddlers). The half hour I had so smugly anticipated quickly turned into an hour, longer… We really only made it out by secretly following a family who seemed to have been born with built-in GPS.
The maze bested me, and I absolutely loved it. I loved trying to find a way through the intricate tangled paths and punching our ticket at the hidden checkpoints along the way. I’m eager for my next maze challenge, and compiled the best mazes in Minnesota to see if you can do better than I did in navigating your way out of the labyrinth.
And maybe bring a snack – you might be in there a while.
Twin Cities Harvest Festival and Maze
8001 109th Ave. North, Brooklyn Park · twincitiesmaze.com
Navigate 20 acres of twists and turns in Minnesota’s largest corn maze. Each year the Bouwman family creates a massive labyrinth for you to test your inner compass. This year’s maze theme is everything Vikings complete with ‘SKOL’ shaped into the maze. If you make it out of the maze you can also enjoy plenty of delicious snacks, live music, a petting zoo, hayrides, a corn pit, and a kids’ play area. Tickets online are $10 or $12 at the entrance. The maze is open 10am-6pm Saturdays and Sundays through October, 29th.
Sever’s Fall Festival
1100 Canterbury Road, Shakopee · seversfallfestival.com
Now celebrating it’s 21st year, the Peterson family knows how to create a spectacular maze. You’ll go ‘down-under’ with this year’s Australian themed maze challenge. As you find your way through the maze you’ll search for six pictures of “Sever Dundee” and for each picture you find you’ll be eligible for a grand prize drawing at the end of the season. Plan for 30 to 40 minutes winding through the corn stalks, though for me I’ll probably have to double that time.
Count on a full day with live shows including magic, wildlife shows, and pig races. You can also purchase apples and pumpkins to take home or enjoy plenty of concessions at the festival including Sever’s own roasted sweet corn! Open Friday-Sunday through October, 29th, tickets are $15 for ages 4 and up but be sure to check out their website for coupons and special discounts on tickets.
Afton Apple Orchard
14421 S. 90th Street, Hastings · aftonapple.com
This 15 acre, 6 mile beast was the maze that put me in my place. The ‘Cat in the Hat’ themed maze is divided into three phases. You can navigate the maze at Phase One as a beginner, Phase Two for a more difficult challenge, or Phase Three if you are a maze master. I was most definitely not. For an even greater challenge, and a bit spookier, run the maze by moonlight. Other fun activities include a straw bale maze, rubber hose maze, and a rope maze. And of course enjoy picking apples over at the orchard and grabbing your pumpkins for Halloween! The maze is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through October, 29th. Tickets for ages 11 and up are $9, kids ages 3-10 are $7, and ages 2 and under are free.
Shafer Corn Maze
Highway 8 and Quinlan Lane, Shafer · shafercornmaze.com
For a true hedge-labyrinth feel wander through Shafer’s 12 acre corn maze. I’m not positive I would find my way out of this one. The corn maze features narrow paths shaped into galloping stallions for this year’s ‘Wild and Free’ theme. Challenge yourself with the more difficult maze following 3.2 miles of twists and turns or take on the smaller course with 1.4 miles to get lost in. Find six checkpoints to punch your ticket throughout the maze and while they do provide maps plan for an hour to an hour and a half to make your way through.
In the smaller maze you can also solve the mystery of “Farm Scene Investigation.” Look for six hidden checkpoints for clues to solve the crime. Be sure to also check out the farm animal display, human foosball, corn bag toss, and more! Open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through October, 29th and tickets are $9 for ages 12 and up, $6 for ages 4-11, and free for ages 3 and under.
Tews Corn Maze
20723 Tews Road, Winona · tewscornmaze.com
This year Tews Corn Maze has outdone themselves. With an incredibly elaborate design you’ll be wandering through stalks shaped as farmhouses, windmills, and even a chicken weather vane. Luckily, you’ll have a map to guide you through the winding paths. Once you make it through the maze you can also enjoy hayrides, giant inflatables, pig races, a petting zoo, and duck races. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to keep up your strength with plenty of tasty concessions including hot dogs, brats, ice cream, and other treats! Come visit Saturdays and Sundays through October, 29th. Tickets are $10 for ages 5 and up. Kids 4 and under are free.