Just about everything at Richardson Farm is on the move. Go there, and you probably will be, too.
Yes, the farm still boasts the world’s largest maze – with about 11 miles on trails spread out over 28 acres in a “Star-Spangled Banner” theme this year. But a move about a mile down the street has provided more space and opened up the opportunity for future activities to be added to the farm’s new attractions, including a longer zip line, a double-the-size giant slide, a 1950s carousel and an exotic animal show.
The farm opens Aug. 29 at its new spot at 909 English Prairie Road in Spring Grove, just off Richardson Road where the original site was located.
“Everything is going to be bigger,” said Robert Richardson, who co-owns the farm along with his wife, Carol, and two other Richardson families.
Returning are the farm’s usual activities of pedal carts, jumping pillows, wagon rides, a pumpkin patch, campfire, petting zoo, paintball gallery, gem mining and more. Also returning is the ORB Ride, believed to be the only one of its kind in the Midwest.
In the ride, two people are strapped inside an 11-foot inflated ball, which plummets down a hill. The activity was invented in New Zealand and called a “Zorb,” but the name is copyrighted, so Richardson Farm calls it “ORBiting.”
A popular attraction, but Richardson Farm always will be known for its maze.
“There are a few wannabes that will say they have more acres than we do, and that may be true,” Richardson said. “You could take a 100-acre field and write ‘Hello’ on it and call that a 100-acre corn maze. There may be some the same size as far as acres go, but we haven’t found any with as many trails or as intricate a picture as we have.”
This year’s 14th annual maze commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Fort McHenry Bombardment, when Frances Scott Key penned the “Star-Spangled Banner” during the War of 1812.
The design contains ships, cannons, soldiers, ramparts, an ocean and a rising sun.
As for the rest of the farm’s attractions, “It won’t be quite as polished and as nice as we’d like it, but everything will be available and running this year,” Richardson said.
The goal this year was to make the move. Next year, it’s all about expansion, with future goals to perhaps turn a gravel pit into a small lake for paddleboats and kayaks and other additions.
“We’ve got two or three times the room,” Richardson said. “Sometimes it’s good to kind of start all over again. With our first place, it was kind of dumb luck. We think we can do it a little better now because we know what to expect. We’ve spread out and have more room to add things.”