With almost 9 acres of corn planted and their new mind-boggling design now created, the Fetzer family is once again bringing the “MAiZE craze” to Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina.
This year’s theme is “The River of Life For All.”
To celebrate the grand opening on Saturday, the River Maze is offering a special price of $5 regular admission. In addition, the Waterville Bluegrass Band will be playing live at the pavilion from 6 to 7 p.m.
The popular Ocoee location, with great scenic views, drew thousands of visitors last fall and will once again get curious maze-goers lost when it opens to the public Saturday.
The Fetzer family, in partnership with maze designer Brett Herbst, the world’s leading designer of 600-plus corn mazes, hopes to give even more people a chance to experience the unique source of good farming fun in their newly designed maze.
Though the correct pathways can be walked in under 30 minutes, most directionally challenged visitors — adults and children alike — will require about an hour to travel through more than two miles of twists and turns, and 85 decision points.
The River Maze will give visitors the chance to “get lost” Sept. 21 through Oct. 31. Hours are Friday 5 to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Field trip hours, during weekdays, are available by reservation. The River Maze is located three miles east of Ocoee on U.S. Highway 64. Admission is $9 for ages 4 and up and includes all mazes and the hayride. In addition, cow train rides, corn cannon shots, face painting, pumpkin painting and “water wars” will be available through the purchase of tokens. Discounts are offered for groups and field trips.
The River Maze experience offers something for everyone:
— New additions this year are the “Corn Box,” “Horsey Tire Swings” and “The Fairy Tale Trail,” featuring “Jack and the Cornstalk” and “Beauty and the Bees.” The Corn Box is a sand box without the sand, and is filled with corn instead. Fairy Tale Trail will be along the beautiful river walk and along with the tales, interesting facts about corn and bees will be revealed.
— The River Maze also has a maze carved in a field of soybeans. It features characters from Veggie Tales and visitors will learn about fruits and vegetables as they walk through.
— Two little mazes are carved in the soybeans: “The Color Maze” and “The No Left Turn Maze.”
— Interactive “passports” are available for groups and the general public. Each contains 10 questions which quiz the user on a chosen subject. Those who answer the questions correctly will receive clues to guide them along the correct path to the exit. Subjects include sports, Boy Scouting, Girl Scouting, scriptural, American history, interactive, team-building and agriculture.
— Visitors will have chances to sign up for prizes to be given away on opening day and at the season finale.
— In an effort to make the experience as easy or as hard as visitors want it to be, the maze has been divided into two phases: beginner and expert. Participants will have the option to continue on to the next phase or exit the maze at the entrance to the second level.
— Customized activities have been added for birthday parties, corporate outings and group rivalries/races.
— The River Maze has its own pumpkin patch. Come pick the perfect pumpkin. If visitors want to come for pumpkins only, the trip to the pumpkin patch will be $4, along with the purchase of pumpkins. One may also buy corn stalks and straw at the farm.
— If the weather is still warm, visitors can battle each other in “Water Wars” (a water balloon launcher).
— Other attractions include “Corn Toss” and “Corn Ball.”
— Visitors can still meet Spookley the Square Pumpkin, the official “spokes-pumpkin” for National Bullying Prevention Month, to raise awareness for bullying prevention.
— Visitors need to come hungry. A snack bar will be available featuring barbecue, chicken salad, hamburgers, hot dogs and so forth, along with desserts.
The River Maze caters to school field trips during the day and has created an education campaign that includes lesson plans and activity sheets for teachers, discounted field trip opportunities, and an educational “passport” that can be custom designed by maze staff. It integrates what students are learning at school into the maze experience and helps guide students along the correct pathway. Teachers can access curriculum materials and field trip information online at www.TheRiverMaze.com. Field trips can also be scheduled by reservation.
For more information or to make reservations, call 423-650-0710 or visit www.TheRiverMaze.com.