Children in the Corn: A trip to Marini Farm Corn Maze in Ipswich, Massachusetts
I’ve never been to a corn maze before, so when I spied our website’s featured travel item a couple weeks ago for the Marini Farm Corn Maze, I decided it was time to enter the amazing world of corn mazes.
Our family headed out to Ipswich, Mass on opening weekend for the one and a three-quarter hour drive from our rural location in southern New Hampshire. Rather than go the most direct route, we took Rte 133 off 495 (instead of 95) which was a nice quiet drive. The farm isn’t far from Route 1, keep in mind, though, that if you take Route 1 you’ll go right by the Topsfield Fair location (I can only imagine what this road would be like between Sept 30 – Oct 10) so use the directions from their website. After the final turn (which was well-marked with signs) and about a mile up the road, we came upon a wide-open field with a white farm house on a small knoll and lines of pumpkins on the front lawn. TIP: Don’t pull into the farm stand they won’t let you park there for more than 30 minutes. For your convenience they even post friendly guards to enforce this rule. Instead pull into the grass field just before the farm stand on the left traveling from the west.
After a heated argument between the boys over which selection of largest and smallest pumpkins was the best we took some pictures of a cleverly designed Hay Man and then headed to the farm stand to gather supplies.
Out of a good variety of farm produce and locally baked goods we chose some freshly picked apples, hermits and a big bag of popcorn (I was covering all basis — after all we’re about to spend a couple hours inside a maze). Pay for your farm stand purchases here, but for the corn maze tickets you need to go to the little shack just a few steps up from the stand. Everyone here was very friendly. Besides the maze entrance fee, we also bought some tickets to the Apple Cannon and after a couple “come-on’s” from the boys we still managed to escape purchase of the “jumping pillow” tickets.
Our orientation to the corn maze came by watching a video which talks about the maze and also includes the basic rules (never pick the corn and don’t walk THROUGH the corn, stay on the paths). This year’s maze is in the shape of an American eagle.
The video also explains the activities you can do within the maze, and, in keeping with the theme, they provide activity sheets that show places for answers to questions on American history, spaces to gather rubbings of American symbols (like the Presidential Seal) and clues on navigating the maze. You’ll find all these at 18 different stations throughout the maze.
Once the video finished and we had recited the rules out loud, everyone was excited to get started. So with an orange flag in hand (in case you panic and need to leave RIGHT NOW!, you can raise your flag and a sentry will come and get you) we entered the maze.
After about 10 minutes, the youngest was ready to be done, but I gave him the responsibility of leading the group and that afforded us another 10 minutes of interest. TIP: Don’t promise your kids a trip to the Lego store right after the corn maze.
Along the way we passed a number of families —some with dogs, as opening weekend was Doggy Maze Daze, and the rest of the season no dogs are allowed — all of whom were enjoying the adventure. Some folks we passed twice, but before I could drop my first piece to start a popcorn trail, we came upon one of several Marini Scouts who wander the maze searching for lost souls. We stopped to talk to a couple of them, and without any input from us, they each asked if we wanted to know the quickest way out. The youngest, with Star Wars Lego sets dancing in his head, immediately said yes, but I overruled him and we continued on our trek. After just 52 minutes we found our way to the end of the maze. Their website says it can take up to 2 hours – I imagine by then you’re waving the orange flag for help.
Just up the hill from the entrance to the maze you can find the Apple Cannons. Both boys really got a kick out of this activity – guns and things to shoot them at? Go figure. This time of year they don’t use Apples because it attracts bees, and, being allergic, I appreciated their thoughtfulness. Instead they used potatoes which surely didn’t make a difference to either of the boys.
Free parking; September 10 to October 31, 2011 – Monday, Thursday, Friday 3 pm to 6 pm – Sundays 11 am to 6 pm – Saturdays & Holidays 10 am to 6 pm
Adults (13+) – $9.50; Youth (Ages 4 to 12) – $7.50; Children Age 3 or less – Free
More Corn Mazes in New England
We recently updated our page on Family Corn Mazes at New England’s Farms checking that these corn mazes were still in operation. Of the rest most (not all) are open through the end of October so check their individual websites before you go for times, dates, directions and details. Link to individual corn maze websites are included on the New England Corn Mazes page.
More Articles on Corn Mazes in New England
The Davis Mega Corn Maze in Sterling Mass from Yankee Magazine.