Autumn brings a bounty of activities and attractions throughout the suburbs. But for the adventurous (and those with a good sense of direction), corn mazes offer a special type of fun.
At 33 acres of elaborate detail, the granddaddy and self-described world's largest is the Richardson Adventure Farm & Corn Maze in Spring Grove.
"We've never lost anybody yet," joked George Richardson, the fifth generation co-owner.
A true maze has dead ends, which is why Richardson's is not listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.
"It's more of a labyrinth through the cornfield that makes a giant picture," Richardson said. Visitors have maps and other reference points to keep from getting lost.
"The only trick is you have to keep track of what trail you're walking on, really pay attention to where you are -- it's really big out there," Richardson said.
And as with other maze destinations, his farm offers more to do than navigate through corn. Attractions at Richardson include a 700-foot zip line, 50-foot observation tower, giant slides and more.
"We think big kids like to play, too," Richardson said.
The Richardson Adventure Farm and Corn Maze is at 909 English Prairie Road, Spring Grove. It's open through Oct. 29. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. Sunday; 3 to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Open Labor Day and Columbus Day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Maze is open until midnight on full moon weekends, Sept. 8 and 9 and Oct. 6 and 7. Admission $13-$16; free for kids 3 and under.
This year's maze design theme is the Cubs 2016 World Series victory.
For more information, call (815) 675-9729 or www.richardsonadventurefarm.com.
Some other suburban mazes:
• Didier Farms, 16678 W. Aptakisic Road, Lincolnshire. Pumpkinfest Sept. 23 to Oct. 31. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Five-acre corn maze, Pumpkin Playland, Animal Land Zoo, parakeet exhibit, camel rides. Free admission, but the maze and other activities require fees available in various packages. See the website for details. (847) 634-3291 or didierfarms.com.
• Goebbert's Farm & Garden Center, 40 W. Higgins Road, South Barrington. Fall festival Sept. 23 through Halloween. Open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Corn stalk maze, 50 different animals, a giraffe barn and a pumpkin-eating dinosaur are among many attractions at the Animal Land & Little Farmer Play Yard. (847) 428-6727. Various activity packages available; the maze is included in an 18-activity pass that ranges from $9 to $15. goebbertsgardencenter.com.
• Johnson's Pumpkins, 1765 West State St., Sycamore. Open weekends Sept. 29 through Oct. 29. Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Columbus Day. One-acre and 5-acre corn mazes, pumpkins. $7 for admission to both 7-acre and 1-acre mazes; $4 for 1-acre maze; free for children under 3. (815) 895-3752. www.johnsonspumpkinsandmaze.com.
• Kroll's Fall Harvest Farm, 13236 W. Town Line Road, Waukegan (enter off York House Road). Opens on Sept. 16; open daily through Nov. 1. Hours: noon to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday; noon to 10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. No general admission; visitors pay for individual activities. Five-acre corn maze must be started at least one hour before closing. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by adult. Cash only. $5-$7; children 3 and under are free. (847) 662-5733. www.krollsfarm.com.
• Stade's Farm & Market, 3709 Miller Road, McHenry. Shades of Autumn Fall Festival, Saturday, Sept. 9, to Sunday, Oct. 29. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in September and Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October and on Columbus Day, Oct. 9. Small corn maze, pumpkin picking, hayride, petting zoo, animals, pumpkin cannon demonstrations and more. $10-$15; children 2 and under are free. (815) 675-6396 or stadesfarmandmarket.com/fall-festival/.
• Tom's Farm Market, 10214 Algonquin Road, Huntley. Fall Festival Oct. 1 to Oct. 31. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Columbus Day; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Seven-acre corn maze and "spook free" moonlight corn maze and hayride, bonfires and more. $5-$10; children 2 and under are free. (847) 669-3421 or www.tomsfarmmarket.com.
• Sugar Grove Pumpkin Farm & Produce, 4S041 Merrill Road, Sugar Grove. Sept. 4 through Oct. 31. Hours are 9 a.m. to sunset daily except Oct. 31, when it closes at 3 p.m. There is a small corn maze designed for families with younger children. There is no charge for entry, parking or the maze. (815) 901-6887.