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Stalking a good time

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Annual corn maze provides foliage-related fun — and a kernel of philosophical fodder

By Ramsey Scott

The important thing is not to panic. And to remember that you won’t starve to death. 

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Because you’re surrounded by corn. 

The Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield has laid out a perplexing course for its corn maze this year, the 14th installment of the popular populist puzzle. The labyrinth is spread out over 8 acres of maize, and hints are sprinkled throughout.

“Follow the hints; they’re really helpful,” said volunteer Dale Huffner. “Of course, that’s unless you want to get lost in there.”

Numbered poles throughout the corn maze refer to clues provided at the start. And while the clues are easy to solve, finding the poles in the first place is a challenge. 

“We keep going in circs,” said Quinn Wagner, 7, as her brother, Turner, 4, and their grandmother Susan Wagner realized they had just come back to the same spot for the third time. 

Susan Wagner, who grew up in Nebraska, said she loves to take her grandkids to corn mazes every year. But the rustling stalks and creeping claustrophobia provide more than just a good time. 

“The sound in the maze. Hearing the wind blow through the corn. Being cut out of control. Being cut out of control helps keeps you loose,” Wagner said. “We’re all really uptight — don’t you know some people who can’t let go and not be in control?”

A mini-maze is available for younger children, and hayrides and pony rides are offered for an additional charge. Food vendors also are on hand, featuring freshly squeezed lemonade, funnel cakes, hotdogs and kettle corn. 

“It’s an awfully big adventure,” Quinn Wagner said.

 

 

Corn Maze at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield

Open Friday through Sunday through Oct. 27

Hours: 4 to 9 p.m. Fridays, noon to 9 p.m. Saturdays, and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays

Tickets: $12 for adults, $10 for gardens members, students, seniors and military; tickets for kids ages 3 to 12 cost $8 ($6 for children of members); children 2 and younger are admitted free.