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Fun fall activities in and around Franklin County

By Cassie Garrett, Contributor

As fall quickly approaches, Indiana's cornfields have transformed into intricate mazes. With the crisp autumn air and festive fall colors, corn mazes make a perfect outdoor activity.

With more than 20 options across the state and tri-state area, fall days are sure to get better when exploring these golden labyrinths.

Proudly, we start with a Franklin County corn maze located at Wendel Farms in Brookville. Locally, Wendel Farms is a family favorite and tradition for many Franklin County residents. Their corn maze is six- and- one-half acres, but corn stalks aren't the only thing to find upon entering.

Inside the maze, there is a game of "corn maze trivia." Look for signs with farm facts while exploring the pathways. Upon completion, when answering a corn maze question correctly, your group becomes eligible for the drawing for free movie tickets.

Although it is hard to realize while searching for a way out, the maze's long and winding paths create a cow, sheep, and even a farmer. Don't worry; there is a shortcut for the less adventurous.

The fun doesn't end when exiting the corn maze though. Instead, continue the day by heading to a smaller straw maze designed for the little pumpkins. Partake in the petting farm, corn hole, pedal carts, tumbling tubes, combine slide, education center and more. General admission is $8 for adults and $7 for Senior Citizens and Children under 12. Children 2 and under are free. Join a hayride to the pumpkin patch before leaving, but be sure to get there before dusk when the hayrides come to an end. To see a complete list of activities and hours, visit wendelfarms.com or stop on the farm at 8134 State Line Road.

Off to the central part of the state for our next corn maze, located at Conner Prairie in Noblesville.

USA Today recently named this maze as "One of the 10 Best in the US." An aerial view shows a design of a witch and her broomstick, bats, and the 1859 hot air balloon that are cut into the field.

Conner Prairie is Indiana's first Smithsonian affiliate. Also a 19th century Midwest history museum, it contains a total of three paths – a small maze for little explorers, a long maze recommended for teens and adults and lastly, the Headless Hollow Spooky Maze for visitors who want a few tricks and surprises to spice up their fall night. This destination will take a little longer to reach, but back roads in Indiana promise small towns and scenic views to make the trip more memorable.

To embark on a whole day adventure, plan on leaving early one Saturday morning this October, so all activities are included in the day. Visit the museum, corn maze, and my personal favorite, the apple store. Inside this quaint store, find all the tastes of fall. From apple cider to pumpkin donuts, these treats taste as good

as they sound and will leave even the most energetic person tired and full after a day of learning and playing. For admission, hours, and more information visit www.connerprairie.org

To wrap up, head to another close family favorite, located in Batesville, Vogt Farm is home of the 24th annual Pumpkin Festival. At the festival, there is a family-friendly corn maze by day, but when the sun goes down, you will find a maze that is a little darker and more terrifying than the rest. Mayhem in the Maze is making its debut on Friday, September 27 and will be open every Friday evening during October from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

To be frightened lost, and in the dark, this is the maze to visit. There are three-quarters of a mile to decide just how scary it is. For those who wish for a little less suspense, starting the weekend of September 21, and running on weekends through October, you can visit the Pumpkin Festival. There, pick a perfect pumpkin, take a horse-drawn trolley ride, snack on homemade pumpkin desserts, enjoy the barbeque, play games, make crafts, visit the petting zoo and even see CJ the camel. A bonus, admission to the pumpkin festival and parking is free. Be sure to take cash for any extras though, Vogt Farms is a "cash only" establishment.

Grab a pen and paper, friends and family, and get a fall bucket list started. Add one corn maze or add them all, but don't let this festive season pass by without starting a new fall tradition.






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