An a-Maize-ing event for a day of family fun
“We found that a lot of the teachers from all the schools would spend their time and money on bussing,” said Traci. “So then by the time they got to us, they didn’t have a lot of time to spend with us.”
While having lunch with her husband one day Traci noticed a parcel of land on Niagara Falls Boulevard, in Wheatfield, which sat just three miles off the thruway.
“So then I thought, it might be a good idea to bring the farm to them,” said Traci.
Since then, the pair has headed to that parcel of land each fall and worked hard to create an environment for families to enjoy when they visit The Maize. Patrick and Traci spend all day and night at the site. Their sons, Kieran and Kaelan Garland, also help their parents on a daily basis in order to better the environment for visitors.
The Maize, which was initially started to educate families on agriculture such as pumpkins and corn, has turned into a seasonal event that is a great place to make memories.
“We harvest the crop off every fall, we replant every thing and we choose the design,” said Traci.
This year’s theme - “If I only had a brain,” creates three different mazes that are fun for all different ages.
“We learned that people are really looking for a place to take their families and get the kids off the couch,” said Traci. “That’s really how we transformed into The Maize. We try to make this place appealing to everyone and as the day goes on the demographics shift.”
During the day there are many families who attend the event with small children. For those children, there is the Finger Fortune Maize. This only takes 15 minutes and includes a few items of agricultural learning on the way. To add to the fun there is an inflatable slide, a bounce house, pumpkin decorating, and candy art.
For older children, older families and teenagers, there are two large mazes. One of those mazes totaling 30 minutes, and the other totaling 45 minutes to complete the paths.
“This is family oriented. There is nothing haunted,” said Traci. “We do a lot of work with local churches.”
In addition, there is a Flashlight Night held Friday and Saturday nights. Traci added that this night works well for a “date night.” During the Flashlight Night events, individuals travel through the maize in the dark. Last admission for the Flashlight Night events begins at 11 p.m. on the nights it is available.
To provide a little more fun for the big kids, adults can try their chances at making it through the Sticky Stampede, an adult inflatable obstacle course. Or, for a smoother ride, there is also a hayride.
“We try to have activities and fun for all ages,” said Traci.
For those individuals with young children, many of the events held at The Maize are based on activity tickets, which can be purchased for $1 each or $12 for 10; cost of the Finger Fortune Maize is $2.50; and both large mazes are $8 per person.
“We try and give you a couple hours of entertainment, as though you were going to the movies, but we like to do it for a little bit less,” said Traci.
“Every year we try and choose a different theme. In the past, we have done a Buffalo running in his sneakers,” joked Traci. “There is something for everyone here. There are so many families now a days that have younger and older kids. There isn’t always a place for families to go. Here, there is something for everyone to do.”
The Maize is open daily from 2 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, which are also Flashlight Nights; and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Oct. 31.
“We are here everyday open to close,” said Traci.
For more information, visit www.themaize.com.