Maze Runners and Marsh Explorers: Edmonton Corn Maze and Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary

It’s been six years since Mack and I last visited the Edmonton Corn Maze located in Spruce Grove. Over the September long weekend, we were looking at some outdoor attractions to explore, and it seemed like a good time as any to return.

Edmonton Corn Maze

The Edmonton Corn Maze

Over the past few years, the Corn Maze has grown to encompass activities outside of the maze itself, and now features a petting zoo, jumping pillows, and spud guns. We encountered more people in these areas than in the maze, so it’s definitely a place where families can spend the better part of a day. Admission has also changed in this time, likely to cover the expanded fun; in 2010, we had a Groupon offer that discounted admission to $8 for two people. In 2016, the cost is $12 per adult.

Edmonton Corn Maze

Petting zoo

A visit to the maze when the stalks are still in their prime makes a huge difference to the overall experience. I’d recommend checking it out in the next few weeks while the corn is still standing tall.

Edmonton Corn Maze

Exploring the maze

As we have in the past, we used one of the question guides to help us navigate through the ten checkpoints in the maze. Mack was annoyed that there were several errors in the Edmonton trivia (including a misspelled “Blanchford” Field and the incorrect fact that West Edmonton Mall is still the largest mall in North America), but it was all in good fun.

Edmonton Corn Maze

Mack in the maze

Never wanting to waste a trip outside of the city, Mack had looked up a nearby park just 10 minutes away from the Corn Maze in Parkland County. The Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary is a 28 acre wetland preserve that is open to the public.

Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary

Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary

It features a combination of meadows, treed areas and marshes. Because of the marshy terrain, some of the trails are built on elevated boardwalks, making it an ideal place to walk after a rainstorm (as in, most of this summer, it seems).

Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary

Elevated boardwalks

We only encountered a handful of people on our way through, and stopped frequently along the way to look for wildlife and listen for birds.

Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary

A place to recharge

In many ways, this volunteer-run park is better equipped with benches, garbage cans, and a restroom than many City of Edmonton parks we visit.

Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary

Big sky

The Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary is a gem not to be missed, especially if you’re in the area!

Edmonton Corn Maze 2010

A few weeks ago, I took advantage of a Groupon offer for the Edmonton Corn Maze. At $8 for two admissions, it was a pretty good deal (though the regular price of $9/person has never been a deterrent for us).

We put the coupon to good use on Saturday, on the warmest night in recent memory. It seemed many other people were wanting to enjoy the weather as well, as neither of us had ever seen the corn maze as busy as it was yesterday. In addition to families with young children, there were many groups of teenagers – it appeared that most were taking advantage of the picnic facilities and fire pits to make the trip out to Spruce Grove a full night’s activity.

Edmonton Corn Maze

Crowds

There have been some neat additions to the maze this year. While we didn’t stick around to watch the Corn Express in action, it looked like a fun ride for children (and adults) alike.

Edmonton Corn Maze

I couldn’t resist a photo

Also, the Corn Maze has developed SCVNGR, an app that is downloaded to be played on iPhone and Android phones. There is a text version for other mobile phones, but we chose to use the traditional ten question paper method to get through the maze.

Edmonton Corn Maze

SCVNGR instructions

While the stalks weren’t as green and hearty as they were during our visit last year, most of the corn still stood over six feet.

Edmonton Corn Maze

Mack in the maze

The design this year is a tribute to Fill-Up, the mascot for the Edmonton Food Bank. And though I seem to say this every year, we found the maze more difficult than the past few years. We somehow ended up skipping question marker 8, and after a few misguided choices, we were sure we had circled the same corner of the maze several times.

Edmonton Corn Maze

Through the corn

As we neared what we thought was the end, we were joined by a few other families who were similarly lost. We eventually found the exit, without the help of a corn cop. The elapsed time? About an hour, which was actually par for the course.

Edmonton Corn Maze

Hurrah!

Thanks to the corn maze for a fun evening – we’ll be back next year!

The Edmonton Corn Maze is open until October 17, 2010. In late October, it reopens as the Farm of Fear (not intended for young children).

Edmonton Corn Maze 2009

To make the most of what could have been the last warm weekend of the year (how’s that for pessimism), Mack and I drove out to the Edmonton Corn Maze. I wanted to make a point of seeing the corn stalks in their full glory – our last few visits have been at the tail end of the season, when the stalks we reaching the sad end of their life span.

 

Inside the corn maze

9pm marks the latest hour visitors are allowed into the corn maze, so our 8:30pm arrival cut it pretty close. We toured some of the other amusements quickly, including pedal carts and a small petting zoo (the sheep and goats were all just begging to be fed). With a picnic area (and a bonfire after dark), families could easily make a trip to the corn maze a full-day event.

Petting Zoo

We couldn’t resist!

The corn maze is designed with a theme in mind every year. This year, in honour of the Edmonton stage for the upcoming Canadian Curling Trials, the maze features a Roar of the Rings theme. Of course, on the ground in the maze, it’s hard to know what the overall scheme looks like, but the aerial shots they take every year are pretty cool.

At the entrance of the maze, visitors have the option of picking up a 10-question guide to help navigate critical crossroads inside the maze. We chose the quiz focused on we deemed to be most fitting – curling.

Ready, set, go!

Mack took pictures of all of the signposts throughout (they look to have been purchased through a company that manufactures them specifically for corn mazes…I had no idea the “industry” was big enough to support such businesses). I have to say, although the warm night air was perfect for a stroll, we had to race against time. Being without a flashlight meant the setting sun would leave us in the dark, and navigating was difficult enough even when we could see.

Netty came with us for the maze…he had a bit of a mishap involving dirt though

Sample Cornundrum sign

It was a welcome challenge though, and I appreciated the height of the stalks, the majority of which were over six feet tall – perfect for concealing other wanderers, even if their traveling voices made them seem close.

Dusk

We ended up making it out of the maze in about an hour. It was a brisk walk, and seemed more difficult than in previous years, but we enjoyed ourselves all the same. While perhaps not a tradition yet for us, it’s a fun activity that we will continue to try and incorporate into the harvest season. Keep it in mind if you find yourself with a free evening or weekend, or even better, take advantage in their Get Lost for Hunger promotion this long weekend – $1 from each admission will go towards the Edmonton Food Bank, and get $1 off admission with a food donation.

Visit Edmonton Corn Maze for directions and hours (and a printable coupon!).