Elevating experience: New Conner Prairie Corn Maze opens Sept. 23

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From left, Mimi, Lucia, Zion, Leah, Andrew Arrowood and Amy, Laura, Rachel, Aaron and Nathan Kemerer explore the new 7-acre corn maze at Conner Prairie. (Photos by Sadie Hunter)

By Heather Collins

Conner Prairie has carved out its newest marquee attraction for Halloween. The Conner Prairie Corn Maze is open through Oct. 29.

The Headless Horseman fall festival at Conner Prairie has had four straight record-breaking years, which led Conner Prairie officials to explore new and innovative ways to elevate the guest experience.

Chris Petrelli, director of programs and education at Conner Prairie, said the brainstorming a few years ago.

Nathan Kemerer leads his family through the maze.

“We looked at all our assets,” Petrelli said. “We have historically had a cornfield beyond our symphony.”

This summer, Conner Prairie transformed seven acres of its cornfield into two mazes, a 30-minute maze for younger guests and a 1-hour maze for older guests. Both mazes are family-friendly and do not feature frights. Guests will see scarecrows, checkpoints and can win raffle prizes during the experience.

Precision Mazes brought their corn-cutter to Fishers in mid-July to lay-out the design of the maze, which features the Headless Horseman logo. The maze was cut in roughly 10 hours.

In addition to the corn maze, Conner Prairie also has lengthened the haunted hay ride and turned the hay ride line into an interactive queue. The Halloween midway will include new games like giant pumpkin plinko, bounce houses and pumpkin bowling. Guests also can visit the Apple Store at Conner Prairie for a variety of fall treats, including caramel apples, warm cider and apple cider donuts.

Petrelli said Conner Prairie has added a number of new live shows, including the “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Conner Scarie Monster” with Dr. Acula, Beauticia the Witch and other Halloween characters.

Fishers resident Amy Kemerer got a first-look at the corn maze with her four children: Laura, 13, Rachel, 11, Nathan, 9, and Aaron, 4.

“I’m excited because it’s hard to find family activities that fit the whole range of my kids,” Kemerer said.

Kemerer said she’s excited to have a fun, family activity in the middle of Fishers. She also applauded the maze.

“It’s something different and new that we haven’t done before,”  Kemerer said. “There is nothing like it in the area. Conner Prairie does a great job. Whatever they do, they always do it well.”

Rob Stouffer, owner and founder of Precision Mazes, headquartered in Lee’s Summit, Mo., has 17 years experience in the corn maze industry. Precision Maze is one of the top corn maze creators in the U.S. Stauffer said he usually creates mazes east of the Rocky Mountains and was happy to create a maze at the living history museum. Stouffer, along with a helper, used GPS-technology to carve out the 300,000-square-foot locally inspired corn maze design.

Guests can get a bird’s-eye view of the corn maze by taking a trip on the 1859 Balloon Voyage hot air balloon ride, which takes guests 350 feet in the air above the maze.

Admission to  the corn maze is $5 per person. The attraction is included in the admission price to the Headless Horseman fall festival Oct 12.-Oct. 29.

The corn maze, behind the Symphony on the Prairie stage, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday until Oct. 29.

For more, visit connerprairie.org.

The Headless Horseman logo was carved into the cornfield behind Conner Prairie. (Submitted photos)

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Conner Prairie Corn Maze. Navigate through Conner Prairie’s newest attraction, a 7-acre corn maze. The corn maze includes two mazes, a 30-minute maze for younger children, and a 1-hour maze for older children and adults.

WHEN:  10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday – Sunday, through Oct. 29

WHERE: Conner Prairie, 13400 Allisonville Rd., Fishers

COST: $5. The corn maze is included in the admission price to the Headless Horseman fall festival.


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