Maze. Corn Maze.
It might still technically be summer but all that fall fun is beginning to announce itself. Pumpkin patches, apple orchards, and corn mazes — some of our favorite autumnal activities — are emerging and the Midwest has some of the best in the country.
When it comes to corn mazes, however, we have some of the best in the world and Richardson Farm in Spring Grove, Illinois, is a testament to that.
Holding the title of the world’s largest corn maze, the farm’s 28-acre labyrinth opened to the public on Saturday, September 10, and this year is paying homage to none other than the world’s most famous spy.
Featuring over 10 miles of trails, the corn maze is composed of 4 smaller mini mazes weaved together by the multiple meandering walking trails which from above display the many faces that have portrayed James Bond.
If you forget to bring your breadcrumbs, worry not. The corn maze has multiple checkpoints in addition to three 8-foot-high wooden bridges allowing guests to pop their heads up over the hedge to help coordinate their path.
If the brief bird’s eye view still doesn’t get you to where you need to go, the maze has perimeter paths allowing for easy exit. Donuts and hot chocolate are on hand near the exits for you to boost strength and stamina as you attempt to calculate the myriad of pathways.
Exploring the maze itself is a pleasant experience, but at Richardson Farm, there are also be five separate games within the maze that vary in length and difficulty including the farm scene investigation game, quiz questions, and finding all 24 hidden checkpoints.
Every year, Richardson Farm features a fresh theme. Last year it celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Richardson Farm Adventure Farm. This year they’ve decided to go for a more blockbuster theme in the fictional British Secret Service agent first created by writer Ian Fleming back in 1953.
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of James Bond movies and the 20th anniversary of “Die Another Day” the maze has been designed with its the movie franchise’s most iconic faces. From above the maze is made up of the five biggest stars to portray the iconic spy: Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig, while a bikini-clad Bond babe, an Aston Martin, and a casino complete the 007 montage.
“We’re celebrating 60 years of James Bond movies. They are action-packed, entertaining films, and, unless you’re a rare George Lazenby fan, we’ve got your favorite Bond covered,” said George Richardson, who operates the farm along with his wife, Wendy, his brother, Robert, Robert’s wife, Carol, George’s son, Ryan, and Ryan’s wife, Kristen.
There is even an Aston Martin stunt car complete with its hood-mounted “weapons” from Pierce Brosnan’s final Bond film at Richardson farm courtesy of the nearby Volo Museum. “It’s a spectacular added attraction for our opening weekend,” George Richardson said. “When they contacted us, of course we said ‘Yes!’”
This year’s maze features approximately 10.3 miles of trails across 28 acres but with numerous points of entry and exit, the journey through the corn can be as brief or as lengthy as desired.
“Even though it is the ‘world’s largest, most intricate’ maze, those entering can choose a 10-minute, left-turns-only trail or do the whole thing in about an hour and a half. We provide maps with checkpoints. There are also three raised bridges connecting the four segments. There are no dead-ends. You can’t get lost,” said Wendy Richardson.
In addition to the maze, Richardson Farm has several other attractions including a 50-foot observation tower, a zip line, a huge pumpkin patch, 100-foot slides, a petting and feeding zoo, pedal kart tracks, live music on weekends and much more!
There is even zorbing which is strapping into an inflatable 11-foot ball and bouncing down a hillside. New this year is a craft beer tent featuring at least three local brew varieties while a 13-acre field of sunflowers awaits those eager to snap some colorful photos.
Located at 909 English Prairie Road, Spring Grove, the farm is open Thursdays through Sundays until Sunday, October 30. Entry is $18 for those ages 13 and up, $16 for those ages 3 through 12, and free for those 2 and younger. Group discounts are available, as well as campfire and picnic site rentals. More details can be found at richardsonfarm.com.