It's almost fall and anyone who is interested in a unique agricultural experience should make time to visit the CornFusion maze in Polk County.
The maze is owned and operated by the Smith Family Ranch, which is located at 13444 Moore Road in Lakeland. Its North Lakeland location is located just 10 miles from I-4.
The Smith family started the maze in the fall of 2011 and it was a rousing success. This year, the Smiths have added some new attractions that are sure to be of interest to both adults and kids.
The 2012 CornFusion maze will be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Oct. 6-Nov. 11. People of all ages are welcome and the cost is $10 for ages 11 and up, $8 for ages 5-10 and all children under 4 are free. For added convenience, the farm also takes credit and debit cards.
The price of admission allows visitors access to a variety of agricultural activities such as wandering through the corn maze, shooting a corn cannon and going on a hayride. Visitors will see many traditional farm animals such as donkeys, cows and horses.
The Smith family has a new and unusual addition to their farm this year, a buffalo named Ms. Ruby. Adults will want to visit the country store and wander through the pumpkin patch.
There also are many activities for children including pony rides, a jumping pillow and rides on the cute Cow Train. Mini corn mazes are also on site, which are a bit easier to navigate than the large corn maze.
Local vendors also will be there with plenty of food and drinks for sale, as well.
The Smith Family Ranch has several special events planned this year that were not available last fall. Runners can enter the CornFusion Corn Maze 5K Ranch Run, scheduled on Oct. 6. Athletes will navigate the 3.1 mile off-road course, while taking in Florida's natural beauty and traditional ranch scenery.
Anyone interested in competing in this event, can register online at active.com. Log-on and search CornFusion Corn Maze 5K Ranch Run and enter.
Paintball enthusiasts won't want to miss the Zombie Paint Ball Hayride, which starts Oct. 12. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening from 7 to 11 p.m. visitors can take a hayride trip through swamps, a scrap yard and a corn field brimming with zombies. The price is $30 each, includes all tools and materials necessary to wipe out the zombie population at CornFusion.
This year, the Smith family has included a Christmas event, as well. Their Country Christmas Hayride is available every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening beginning on Dec. 1 until Christmas.
After the hayride, visitors can hang around and cook s'mores over an open fire, visit with Cowboy Santa and view a live nativity scene.
In the United States, corn is the most commonly used grain for feeding livestock but it is also used in many other products. After processing, corn is often added to baby food, potato chips, peanut butter, chewing gum and icing. Corn also is used in the production of vitamins, certain paints and some antibiotics.
The very first corn maze was launched in 1996 by Brett Herbst, a Brigham Young University agribusiness graduate who wanted to share his passion for agriculture with the world. A native of Idaho, Herbst has now designed more than 2,000 corn mazes and owns a successful maze consulting company known as The MAIZE.