OAKLEY — With a few twists and turns, dead ends and educational stopping points, Buffalo Bill Cultural Center’s new corn maze is providing an entertaining challenge for people of all ages.
Families, school groups and travelers have joined in the fun since the maze first opened in September.
“We’re a little bit crazy and tend to think up these big, fun ideas,” said Kylee Colson, Buffalo Bill Cultural Center event coordinator. “This is our first year to try something like this, so we’re learning.”
To create the maze, the corn was planted by landowners Gary and Raelene Keller and cut by employees of Oakley’s American Implement. The project was made possible by a grant provided through the Midwest Energy Community Fund, according to the center’s Laurie Millensifer.
“The guys from American Implement, they had fun with it, too,” Colson said. “They did a lot of twists and turns, and it ended up being about a half-mile corn maze.”
Along the pathway, there are eight “corn fun fact” panels designed to educate participants while helping them find their way through the maze. When guests encounter a dead end, there is a panel that reads, “Aw shucks.”
“There are, I think, four different ‘aw, shucks’ panels that are dead ends,” Colson said. “You can cut through and take little shortcuts, but if you go in order, you’ll hit all the fun facts.”
Creating a maze that also was educational was important to the center, according to Millensifer.
“The panels help you learn about the corn, and then kids can come inside and take a quiz over what they’ve learned,” she said. “They seem to really enjoy it.”
Oakley Middle School students and sisters Avery and Emma Evins took part in putting on a haunted maze event during the weekend. It served as a fundraiser for fifth- and sixth-graders to take a trip to Washington.
“We had a bunch of masks and a haunted house out in the corn,” Avery said. “We were really trying to scare everyone.”
“There was a middle school boy who screamed like a girl,” Emma said as she laughed.
Eight-year-old Bella Hudson said she really likes the corn maze and has gone through it so many times she practically has it memorized.
“It’s really fun, and I like that it has a shortcut and has corn facts,” she said. “I’ve learned about the husks and ethanol and the Corn Belt.”
Overall, the maze has had a great response from the public, and the center hopes to make it bigger and better next year.
“People in Colby or Scott City that haven’t been here have come just for the corn maze, and then they come to the center and see what we have to offer,” Colson said. “We’re also a visitor information center, so people who are coming through find it interesting.
“It’s been a lot of fun.”
The maze will remain open through Halloween. More information can be found by visiting www.buffalobilloakley.org.
or by calling (785) 671-1000.