Local farms know if they build it, we will come. By “it”, we mean acres of intricate corn mazes to get lost in with your kids. A lot of them have added bells and whistles like petting zoos and pumpkin doughnuts. Lace-up those walking shoes and check out this year’s crop of corn mazes near Chicago.

photo: via flickr creative commons

1. Konow’s Corn Maze
A huge indoor western-themed playland, 2 corn pits, gem mining, straw playgrounds, animal barn, tractor-pulled grain train and more make this Homer Glen attraction a fall favorite. The keystone, however of the operation is the corn maze. Depending on how much stamina your kids have, you could spend a chunk of the day winding your way through the miles-long behemoth.

Opens Sep. 21; Sun.-Fri. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
16849 S. Cedar Rd., Homer Glen
Online: konowscornmaze.com

2. Kroll’s Fall Harvest Farm
Each year, the cornfields at this farm are cut into elaborate circuits and the activities are designed to entertain your entire clan, Kroll’s has hayrides ($3/person), a petting zoo with goats, donkeys, sheep and turkeys and a pumpkin patch.

Opening date not announced yet, usually 3rd week of Sep.; Corn Maze hours: Mon.-Thurs., noon-7 p.m.; Fri., noon-9 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
13236 W. Town Line Rd., Waukegan
Online: krollsfarm.com

photo: Richardson Farm

3. Richardson Farm
Home to the world’s largest maze, it’s go big or go home at Richardson. This sprawling attraction includes 4 separate mazes that make up 9-10 miles of trails winding through 28 acres of live corn. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landing, the maze includes the Saturn rocket, two astronauts, an American flag, three stars to honor the three lives lost in the earlier Apollo 1 capsule fire, and more! The trail includes five games that range from solving puzzles to map reading that keep the littles engaged. In addition to the corny fun, kids can glide on zip lines, cheer for pig races, mosey through pumpkin patches, go for wagon rides and loads more.

Opens Sep. 7; Thurs., 3 p.m.-10 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., noon-10 p.m.
9405 Richardson Rd., Spring Grove
Online: richardsonadventurefarm.com

4. Odyssey Fun Farm
Romp around 110 acres in Tinley Park and enjoy a pumpkin patch, inflatables zone, zip line, hay rides, a petting zoo and the crown-jewel 15-acre corn maze. In case that seems like a lot walking for little feet, the farm also features a pint-sized hay maze. Brave souls may also be interested in the twilight flashlight maze, wherein visitors peruse the maze at night. Don’t worry . . . it’s not haunted . . . or is it? (It’s not.)

Opening date not announced yet, usually 3rd week of Sep.; Daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (check for closures before making the drive)
19111 S. Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park
Online: odysseyfunfarm.com

5. County Line Orchard
Just over the Indiana border lies an awe-inspiring orchard complete with pumpkin doughnuts, concessions, apples galore and corn mazes. This year’s theme for the larger maze is “the apple of our pie” which honors the family’s grandma and the values she instilled. There is also an Albanese gummy bear-themed maze that’s perfect for the little ones. Once you’re all maze-d out, pick apples and peruse the massive barn to get your fill of fudge and other farm essentials.

Opens Aug. 28; Daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
200 S. County Line Rd., Hobart, IN
Online: countylineorchard.com

photo: flickr creative commons

6. Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch
Through October 31, the farm opens its gates to visitors clambering for homemade fudge and caramel apples and those eager to ride the ponies and take a run through the mazes. The mazes here come in two varieties: a larger corn maze good for slightly older children and a “munchkin maze” ideal for younger kids. Another special asset at Goebbert’s is its array of exotic animals. Kids can get close to giraffes, kangaroos and even tiger cubs. In addition to pony rides, they can go on a camel ride as well.

Open Aug. 30-Oct. 31; Sep., Daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Halloween, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
42W813 Reinking Rd., Hampshire
Online: goebbertspumpkinpatch.com

7. Jonamac Orchard
This apple-picking oasis is also home to one stellar corn maze. While mostly renowned for its extensive apple orchards, the 10-acre corny adventure should not be overlooked. And with three miles of pathways and two bridges, it’s almost impossible to ignore. There’s also a nighttime haunted version on Friday and Saturday evenings for the brave corn stalkers.

Open Aug. 31-Oct. 27; Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
19412 S. Shabbona Rd., Malta
Online: jonamacorchard.com

8. Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm
With 30 attractions on hand, Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm in Crest Hill, truly is a solid catch-all for kids of all ages and interests, whether said interests include pumpkin-picking, pony rides, climbing walls, jellies and jams, hay rides, or even “zombie” paintball. Then, of course, there’s the corn maze, open weekends through October 31. Spanning 15 acres, the corn maze contains 5 miles of winding pathways. This year’s theme is “Who is your hero?”.

Open Sep. 28-Oct. 31; Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
17250 S. Weaver Rd., Crest Hill
Online: ourpumpkinfarm.com

— Maria Chambers

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