On a sunny, warm September morning, my husband, 5-year-old and I headed out for our annual corn maze challenge. We’ve tried them all in our short five years with our daughter, and this morning we chose the 8-acre Corn Maze at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms.
To test our energy levels, we started with the mini-maze. Since this was the bunny slope of the mazes, we could not get lost and had more of a botany course on how corn grows than anything else.
Next, we were on to the big maze and the challenge to find Farmer Green’s hidden animals. We were handed a map, and my daughter took off thanks to the likes of Dora the Explorer and pirate movies who have made maps really cool. We unintentionally worked on our directional skills, turning left and right, while the sounds of the crows flying overhead gave us a farming lesson on what a scarecrow really does.
The only children of the corn you will find here are the joyful, laughing kind as families make their way through the barnyard cutouts that create the maze. The frequency of cartoon animals is more than adequate to keep the attention of a 5-year-old. Even though the day was hot, the tall corn towering over the path provided enough shade for refuge now and then. Halfway through, the attention of our 5-year old started to wane. That’s when Daddy took over navigation to get us out of the maze so that we could move on to the rides.
Before the rides, we had to stop for the fresh-made kettle corn. This snack in this environment is any mom’s dream, because it doesn’t matter where you spill it.
One would think that the train barrel ride would be a barrel of laughs, but it’s one dusty ride thanks to the big wheels of the John Deere tractor pulling the train. At one point my daughter used her hat to cover her eyes. My advice is to bring bandanas. (Even if you don’t use them, you will look right at home wearing them in the country farm surroundings.) Also, the small little bumps on the ride may be fun for a 5-year-old, but not for this 45-year-old mom warranting another visit to the chiropractor. But as an adult, I really enjoyed riding past the pumpkin patch and through the fall-painted cattails. Signs of color pop here and there from trees in the beautiful fields of the Chatfield Farms.
Skipping the long line of the horse-drawn hayride, we stopped on the way out to spend some time jumping on the giant pillow. (It was so hot you had to wear socks, so bring socks, too.) Soon, all the orange shirts reminded us that we better hurry home for the Broncos game. A couple of hours was all we needed, satisfied that the corn maze was checked off the list until next fall.
Kathleen Chambers is a Denver mom.