If you’re looking to get out of town with your family and enjoy the magic of the fall season, just drive about an hour north of Indianapolis to Exploration Acres, a family farm in Lafayette that boasts the largest corn maze and pumpkin patch in northwest Indiana.
There’s so much to do at Exploration Acres, but first, let’s talk about the 18-acre corn maze. Each year, the corn maze design changes —last year’s corn maze theme was dedicated to the Netflix show Stranger Things, which takes place in a fictional town in Indiana. This year, the corn maze is dedicated to military and medical people, past and present.
As you make your way through the corn maze, there are rewards hidden throughout. Just grab a maze map before you head in to tackle up to nine miles of paths that wind their way around the farm. As you find the rewards, punch your map and present it at the end to claim your prize.
The pumpkin patch at Exploration Acres sprawls over 11 acres, and you can choose from 38 different varieties of pumpkins and gourds. If you’re looking for big pumpkins, you’ll find them here — some of the pumpkins weigh more than 200 pounds! Wagons are available for free to carry around your pumpkin picks as you enjoy the rest of the farm.
The activities at Exploration Acres are super family friendly, and they are all outdoors, which is perfect for this season of social distancing. Kids activities include:
Straw Mound: This is exactly what it sounds like … a giant mound of fresh straw! But it was a hit with the kids while we were there. Kids can jump into the straw, toss it into the air or bury themselves inside it.
Playset: Children ages 2 to 12 can enjoy climbing up ladders and sliding down poles, sliding down slides and looking out from the top of a tower.
Sand Pile: Shovels, buckets and toys are available to use in a giant pit filled with sand.
Pedal Carts and Tire Track: Great for all ages of kids who like to pedal and pump their legs, there are two different tracks that allow kids to ride and race.
Other activities include a tube slide, a giant bin with shelled corn, pony swings, rubber duck races, corn hole and a hula hoop toss, tumble tubes, hop balls, a gem mine and corn cannon. And no visit to a farm in complete without a hayride, where you can tour the farm grounds aboard a wagon pulled by an antique tractor. There are so many fun things to do at Exploration Acres — families can spend hours checking out all that the farm has to offer. All of the activities except for the gem mine and corn cannon are included in the price of admission.
Because we’re living during a pandemic, it should also be mentioned that Exploration Acres does a great job with their safety protocols and keeping their guests safe. There are signs everywhere that encourage social distancing, and masks are required for everyone at all times, except when eating or when you’re in the corn maze and you’re able to keep at least 6 feet from people not in your party. There are also hand sanitizing dispensers set up all around the area.
After exploring the farm, you will probably work up an appetite. Exploration Farms offers lots of different food options — pizza, soft pretzels and pulled pork sandwiches, to name a few — as well as many seasonal goodies at their country store, including slices of pumpkin roll, cinnamon rolls, apple cider and caramel corn. There’s also a Kona Ice truck on site to satisfy those snow cone cravings!
If you’re looking for a place for fall fun that’s a short drive away from Indy, Exploration Acres is a great place to visit!
More Info about Exploration Acres:
Exploration Acres is located at 6042 Newcastle Road in Lafayette. It’s open through October 25, 2020, with hours on Thursday (6-10 p.m.), Friday (6-11 p.m.), Saturday (10 a.m.-11 p.m.) and Sunday (12-7 p.m.). For more info, visit explorationacres.com