Illinois celebrates its 200th anniversary of becoming a state this year. Farms and orchards around the state are providing a perfect way to celebrate by creating bicentennial corn mazes that feature important elements of Illinois history. It’s particularly appropriate given that the state is one of the leading corn producers in the country, with Illinois farmers produced 2.2 billion bushels of corn last year. Here are some of our favorites that are nearest to Chicago.
Abbey Farms really got into the bicentennial spirit by creating not one but two mazes, one for each century of statehood. If not everyone wants to do the maze, there are two lookout bridges. (We won’t tell if you laugh at their wrong turns.) If you have tweens and teens, consider checking it out on Saturday evenings, when the maze stays open late.
2855 Hart Rd, Aurora
With a corn maze proudly declaring 200 years of statehood, as well as an apple orchard and pumpkin patch, you can find all the fall you can handle here. We love that the corn maze has two options: a shorter one aimed at younger kids (and perhaps a good fit for moms who need to apportion their patience) and a longer one that’s great for those who love a challenge. Kids under 15 need to have an adult with them. There’s also an Illinois-inspired photo scavenger hunt.
14510 IL Route 17, Woodstock
Dollinger Family Farm lives up to its name — it really is a working farm. In addition to doing the corn maze that honors Illinois’ Native American heritage, families can learn about the farm’s history and check out the historic mule barn. Can’t get enough of Illinois history? Check out the nearby I&M Canal Trail.
7420 E. Hansel Rd., Channahon
While Illinois celebrates 200 years of statehood, Kuiper’s Family Farm is celebrating its 20th anniversary. In addition to apple picking, pumpkins and lots of children’s activities, there’s a five-acre maze of maize that includes an homage to President Abraham Lincoln’s stovepipe hat.
1N318 Watson Road, Maple Park
Full disclosure: this isn’t a corn maze. It’s an apple tree maze, which means that it’s not easy to change for a one-year celebration. Instead, the folk at Royal Oak have woven the state’s story into the maze with strategically placed bicentennial-themed games and activities.
15908 Hebron Rd., Harvard
A pumpkin cannon may not be directly related to our fair state’s history, but it sure is a ton of fun. In addition to that, there’s a two-acre maze. Their Shades of Autumn Pumpkin Festival event may also remind you why fall is one of the best seasons here in the Land of Lincoln.
3907 Miller Rd., McHenry
Not only is this a fun bicentennial-themed maze, it also has the distinction of being the world’s largest corn maze. But don’t be daunted by the 9 miles of trails through 28 acres of corn. It’s actually made of smaller mazes, and they pay tribute to all things Illinois from the Chicago skyscrapers and the State Capitol to silos. There are also games sprinkled throughout the maze, including a Farm Scene Investigation Game that’s a lot like Clue.
909 English Prairie Road, Spring Grove
If you’re looking for another way to celebrate the state’s bicentennial, check out the Illinois Bicentennial Birthday Party!
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