August 20, 2019

10 facts on Exploration Acres’ maze celebrating Purdue’s 150th anniversary

Exploration maze (Purdue University photo/Ted Schellenberger) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — As nationwide voting for USA Today’s 10 Best Readers Choice Awards for best corn maze continues through Aug. 26, a maze near Lafayette continues as a top contender.

Exploration Acres, which finished third among 530 mazes in the competition last year, has a design commemorating Purdue University’s “150 Years of Giant Leaps.” The design includes images of alumnus Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon; and Amelia Earhart, the first woman to attempt to circumnavigate the globe and an advisor for young women at Purdue in the 1930s. The deadline for online voting to pick the winner is Monday (Aug. 26). A person can vote once a day for the duration of the contest. Winners will be announced Sept. 6, then later in USA Today.

The 18-acre corn maze this year features 494,000 stalks of corn. Check out these fun 10 facts about what makes this maze so great:

  • Exploration Acres planted 289 pounds of seed for the maze.
  • To plant the maze, crews first used a John Deere tractor with steer track technology to pull a special four row planter. Each planter row was controlled by GPS signals to drop the seeds at the precise coordinates as the planter was pulled across the field.
  • Exploration Acres followed a dot matrix pattern when dropping the seeds, which allowed for the design to grow as it was planted.
  • From start to finish, the planting process took 14 hours.
  • Most of the field was planted at night since the tractor was guided by GPS.
  • The maze opens to the public on Sept. 13, but the planting process began June 19.
  • The design process to create Northwest Indiana’s largest corn maze began in January.
  • The paths spreads over nine miles in four separate mazes and will take about 1 hour and 45 minutes to walk.
  • Exploration Acres and the corn maze are open until Oct. 27. Following the end of the season, the corn is harvested and sold to become feed for livestock or to be turned into fructose or ethanol.

Exploration Acres’ mazes are designed to be more intricate and challenging than most of its competitors, so here is a tip from Tim Fitzgerald, president and CEO of Exploration Acres:

“The maze is divided into four individual mazes. Tackle one maze at a time and use the checkpoints as points of reference to keep you from getting lost. Rotate your map in the direction of the path you are on and count connecting paths as you pass them on the way to each checkpoint. Large design elements like numbers and letters are usually wider than typical maze paths and are good points of reference too.”

Or you can always call the hotline on the maze map and an Exploration Acres employee will rescue you. 

Writer: Madison Sanneman, msannema@purdue.edu 

Source: Tim Fitzgerald, Exploration Acres

Phone: 317-946-4821

Email: tim@explorationacres.com

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