The corn was “as high as an elephant’s eye” at Richardson Adventure Farm, and that's when George and Wendy Richardson took their farm’s small plane up and snapped a bird's-eye view of their corn maze, a tribute to Star Trek on its 50th anniversary. The farm is located at 909 English Prairie Rd., near the small town of Spring Grove in McHenry County, a 60-minute drive northwest of Chicago.
This is Richardson Farm’s 16th maze. Previous maze themes have honored milestones for the Chicago Blackhawks, Star-Spangled Banner, Beatles, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Military Veterans and even “The Race to the White House” back in 2008. The lush green 28-acre cornfield is sculpted with 11 ½ miles of trails depicting the “Star Trek 50” logo, portraits of Kirk and Spock, the Enterprise and an array of planets, asteroids, comets and stars. Take a whopping 21 football fields, arrange them in one giant rectangle, and that’s the size of the Trek maze.
Visitors should not be intimidated by the size of the maze. It features many entry and exit points and no dead-ends. You can explore a small portion of the trails that comprise the design, or the whole thing. Maps are provided, marked with corresponding “checkpoints,” and three wooden “bridges” serve as viewing platforms within the maze. “No one’s ever gotten lost,” George Richardson say. “At least not for long! And no one’s ever called 911.”
So, what’s new this year beyond the Trek theme? “Sixteen acres of pumpkins,” Robert Richardson replies. “That’s the most ever, all sizes and colors: from two pounds to 150 pounds, orange, white, blue, smooth and warty. And we brought some beehives in, so there’ll be lots of pollination.”
Richardson Farm has been in the family since 1840, and they planted their first corn maze in 2001. Over the years, it has become an annual destination for family fun, with a huge maze that’s different every year, plus more than 30 activities, including wagon rides, pig races, a carousel and a “park train” that runs on real tracks. Most of the activities are included in the admission fee. Only a few, such as the zip line and orb rides, cost extra. Private picnic sites and campfires are available by reservation, and there’s plenty of free parking. All the favorite foods are back, too, including fresh donuts, kettle corn and fudge.
Richardson Adventure Farm will be open from Sept. 3 to Oct. 30, Wednesdays through Sundays, plus Labor Day and Columbus Day. Admission is $16 for ages 13 and up, $13 for ages 4-12 and free for ages 3 and under. For more info, go to www.RichardsonAdventureFarm.com.