Lost in space? Richardson's corn maze this years pay tribute to Apollo 11

  • The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing is depicted in the corn maze at Richardson Farm in Spring Grove this year.

      The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing is depicted in the corn maze at Richardson Farm in Spring Grove this year. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • George Richardson shows that the corn planted for the corn maze is sterile, though this ear managed to have a single kernel after its silk was likely pollinated from another field.

      George Richardson shows that the corn planted for the corn maze is sterile, though this ear managed to have a single kernel after its silk was likely pollinated from another field. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • George Richardson wears a T-shirt that shows the design of the corn maze that depicts the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing at Richardson Farm in Spring Grove.

      George Richardson wears a T-shirt that shows the design of the corn maze that depicts the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing at Richardson Farm in Spring Grove. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/6/2019 2:16 PM

Richardson Farm's 28-acre corn maze, which in the past has paid tribute to Illinois' bicentennial and the Cubs' World Series win, finds its inspiration this year in a major American milestone: the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

The maze, which forms 9.7 miles of trails, opens for the season in Spring Grove on Saturday, Sept. 7.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Each year since 2001, the Richardson family has planted a maze that forms a picture when viewed from above.

From the top of a 50-foot high tower, George Richardson views this year's corn maze at Richardson Farm in Spring Grove, which honors the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
  From the top of a 50-foot high tower, George Richardson views this year's corn maze at Richardson Farm in Spring Grove, which honors the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. - Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

George Richardson said he and his brother Robert, who both pilot their privately owned Cessa aircraft, have admired landscapes from the air. That inspired them to plant a series of corn mazes that form massive, beautiful pictures.

"As pilots we like to look down at patterns in the landscape," George said. "We thought, 'Well, we're going to do a corn maze, (then) we're going to do one in a fantastic pattern that makes a giant picture when seen from the air.'"

The Richardson Farm corn maze in Spring Grove pays tribute this year to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
  The Richardson Farm corn maze in Spring Grove pays tribute this year to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. - Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer
by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Apollo 11 design was created by an outside vendor. With the aid of GPS and computer technology, the corn seed was planted precisely in the spring to form the pattern for the maze. Richardson said they plant sterile corn, which generally does not produce kernels and does not require as much energy to grow.

The NASA logo is in the upper left corner of the maze, alongside the number 50. The design also includes two astronauts, one of whom is holding the American flag, a lunar module, a rocket and Earth rising in the background above the horizon of the moon.

George Richardson explains how this year's corn maze, depicting the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, was planted at Richardson Farm in Spring Grove.
  George Richardson explains how this year's corn maze, depicting the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, was planted at Richardson Farm in Spring Grove. - Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

George Richardson said the design is a "checkpoint maze," and there are no dead-ends, except at the end of letters that are part of words in the design. The checkpoints are numbered on a provided map, and the challenge is to find them. There are three bridges in the maze that overlook the top of the corn, and a 50-foot observation tower at the entrance.

The maze is open Thursday through Sunday from Sept. 7 through Nov. 3 at 909 English Prairie Road in Spring Grove. Hours and fees are available on richardsonadventurefarm.com.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.