Saturday, September 29, 2012

It's A Corn Field...and It Can Be Muddy

When we have a lot of rain, our Corn Maze can be pretty muddy. It's a 10 acre corn field, after all, and that's just what happens in a field of dirt once it rains. There are so many miles of paths through the maze, it's not realistic to put any sort of covering over the soil - so be prepared! Wear hiking boots or rain boots if you're coming through the maze after a particularly rainy period. Remember, it's the fun of completing the maze and enjoying the outdoors in New England's most colorful season. You don't want to be thinking about wet feet or ruined shoes - just plan ahead!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

More Than Just a Corn Maze...A Great Fall Escape

Marini Farm is run by a third-generation family of farmers, with a mission to bring families, friends, peers, clubs, professionals, scouts, schools and others together to enjoy and appreciate agriculture in fun, interactive ways. Its corn maze, for example, is a puzzle offering hundreds of possible solutions, with many visitors repeating the adventure several times, in hopes of finding a quicker way out.

A trip to the corn maze is a true escape moment like an astronaut on a mission - a time when you can't focus on anything else but reaching the final destination out of the spaceship design or what we have dubbed in our sponsor program as "Mission Accomplished".

Some choose to "Blast Off' by taking on the maze challenge solo, while others collaborate strategies for expediting their journey through the six-foot stalk pathways. Corporations and clubs use the maze as a team-building initiative. Older kids love the thrill and extreme challenge of the weekend flashlight nights, maneuvering their way in the dark.

"The maze is a bit more like a labyrinth this fall, making it an extra challenge for people to get through", Mike Marini, owner operator, explained. Additionally, Marini's maze is intended to help children learn something while they are getting lost.

More than just a maze, "Space Exploration 2012" offers many benefits, including:
  • Development of leadership skills
  • Confidence-building
  • Strategy development
  • Adventure and interactive fun
  • Educational experience designed this year to teach about the solar system and space exploration
  • Health and exercise
  • Quality family bonding
  • Community involvement and presence
Most importantly, the corn maze is a fall carnival of fun for all ages. Other family activities include:
  • Giant slide
  • Apple cannon
  • Pumpkin patch
  • Mini-maze for toddlers with five interactive stations
  • Jumping pillow
  • Corn cannon
  • Campfires with s'mores
  • Hayrides
  • Parties
  • Corn Maze Cafe
  • Pumpkin shopping
This year, make "Space Exploration" at Marini Farm Corn Maze your destination and see how quickly you can maneuver through the challenging space mission! You will experience a new planet of fun!

Written by Blogger Pros

Friday, September 21, 2012

Flashlight Nights Are Here!

Every year, Marini Farm Corn Maze features Flashlight Nights on Friday and Saturday nights from 6 pm to 10 pm - starting, this year, on September 21st and continuing through the end of October.

Our 10 acre corn maze can be a challenge in daylight, but at night, guided only by your flashlight and perhaps the moon and stars, the challenge can't be beat!

Speaking of the moon and stars, our Space Exploration corn maze theme this year might give you a few hints to help you find your way. Tonight, sunset will be at 6:40 pm and the waxing crescent moon will set at 10:30 pm. A perfect night to try New England's best corn maze challenge.

Remember to bring your own flashlights and dress for the weather. The last ticket will be sold one hour before closing. If you would like to purchase advance tickets, you may do that here - remember to use coupon code PUMPKIN at checkout to receive a $1 discount on each Flashlight Night ticket

Thursday, September 20, 2012

GPS Mapping the Creation of a Corn Maze

The creation of the Marini Farm Corn Maze is a family affair! A fun activity during the Marini family Christmas gatherings is to brainstorm on new corn maze themes for the upcoming season. With this year being the anniversary of the first American in space, it was a unanimous decision among all family members to select "Space Exploration" as the 2012 corn maze theme.

Once the design is confirmed each year, the farm hires Maize Quest from Newark, PA, a professional maze designer, to plan a maze that addresses all ages and challenge levels. The designer's objective is to "make the corn maze more than just a walk in the stalks". Safety, efficiency and making the maze entertaining - from the entrance to exit points - are key areas of focus in the design development process.

This time of the year you can see aerial views of intricate corn maze masterpieces all over the region. The production behind the creation of the corn maze is fascinating. The ten acres of corn for the maze were planted on June 18, 2012, so this is a completely different operation than the corn crop planted for sale to the public. The corn for the maze is actually different, as a taller and stronger strength stalk is needed to withstand tough weather conditions and heavy maze traffic. They plant silage corn which is also used by Ipswich Ale Brewery for beer, as feed for Colby Farms' pigs and as biomass to heat the greenhouses.

How is the corn maze cut?

Many may envision a fleet of tractors all working on a separate section of the maze to get to the finished product. Surprisingly, once designed, the maze creation is a one-person operation with a professional maze engineer/cutter, a GPS (global positioning technology) and a tractor. The maze-cutting operator follows the GPS, and within six hours, the masterpiece is completed. Marini's Corn Maze is cut July 4 at which time the corn stalks are only inches high. Other steps in the process include composting, plowing, picking up rocks, fertilizing, harrowing, planting seeds, and irrigating.

This is the tenth year of the Marini Farm Corn Maze and each year the family wants to top the designs of prior years. Their biggest challenge has been weather-related issues as the corn maze is a crop and is subject to Mother Nature, which can cause flooding and muddy conditions.

Mike Marini, owner and operator of the farm, stated that their biggest success has been making the maze an interactive and entertaining experience for all age groups. They like to make the maze challenging, but do not want the visitors going in circles and getting overly confused. A strict safety policy, an experienced maze team, and a flag-tracking system keep the activity safe through all ten acres of fun. If maze visitors follow the clues, and do not take too many wrong turns, they can get throught the maze in about two hours. This is "agritainment" at its best!

Marini Farm's 2012 "Space Exploration" sponsors include: BLAST OFF 1 - Mission Accomplished (sponsor - Shaw's Supermarkets); BLAST OFF 2 - Discovery (sponsors - Brookwood School, Pomodori Pizza and Ipswich Dairy Queen); BLAST OFF 3 - Enterprise (sponsors - Pingree School, Ithaki Restaurant, Ipswich Ale Brewery, The 1646 Hart House Restaurant, and Honda North); and the ASTRONAUT level (Ipswich Butchery, Winfrey's Fudge, Stone Soup Restaurant, and The First National Bank of Ipswich).

And, in next week's blog, "More Than Just a Corn Maze", we are going to share information about more fun activities going on around the farm and helpful clues about this year's corn maze.

Written by Blogger Pros.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Campfire Stories Return To The Corn Maze

On Saturday, October 13, 2012 well-known New England story-teller Tony Toledo returns to Marini Farm to delight all ages with spooky tales of the season.

The evening will begin with a hayride to the site of the camp fire and as the flames lick the darkness, the stories will unfold.

Everyone should dress warmly - it's a mid-October night in New England! If you wish, you can arrive early and make the Corn Maze a part of your adventure.

Tickets may be purchased here

Spookley the Square Pumpkin

Marini Farm and Marini Corn Maze are proud to become sponsors of Spookley the Square Pumpkin. October is National Bullying Prevention Month and Spookley is the "Official Spokes-Pumpkin".

Spookley is a unique pumpkin that delivers a special message of tolerance and kindness that is just right for fall...and any time of year.
  • Spookley was first introduced to millions of children in the book The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin in which he is shunned by all of the round pumpkins until a mighty storm threatens to destroy the entire pumpkin patch and only Spookley, with his unique shape, can save the day.
  • The success of The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin has led to the creation of a series of Spookley books and a #1 app for iTunes and Android, as well as a Spookley movie that airs on Disney Junior and in movie theaters across the country every fall.
  • Spookley is now a featured attraction at a growing network of pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and fall festivals across North America.
Educators can download free Spookley-themed activity sheets and lesson plans here

We are delighted to be partnering with Spookley, PACER and farms across the country to raise awareness for bullying prevention.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Plan A Corn Maze Party

Looking for a special place for a birthday party? An outing for your Scout Troop? Maybe a corporate team-building event? With over 10 miles of pathways and interactive games throughout the maze, this is the perfect site for an event that won't be forgotten!

We have designed a few party packages for you - or you can design your own.  All of the information is available here and you can fill out our Reservation Inquiry Form to check on availability.

Our Maze Adventure is just one of the many activities available for your party. There's the jumping pillow, the apple cannon, a party room, our pumpkin patch, hayrides and even campfires with s'mores.  Contact us soon - the dates fill quickly.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Blast Off into the Learning Adventure of the “Space Exploration” Corn Maze

 In commemoration of the U.S. Space Program’s 30-year Space Shuttle Program, Marini Farm took great care in creating this year’s educational theme for its corn maze.

A special tribute is warranted here to one particular astronaut, Neil Armstrong, the first man to step on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 spaceflight mission in July 1969—which was considered the boldest feat in aviation. As he stepped on the moon, his now famous quote, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” was heard around the world, with an estimated half-billion people listening to the climactic landing and watching a flickering video of the moonwalk. Armstrong passed away just last month (August 25) at the age of 82 in Cincinnati, Ohio of complications from blocked coronary arteries.

Here are some interesting Space Program facts:

  • This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first American in space and the 20th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescopes’ deployment.
  • The space shuttle is not just a mode of transport; it is a laboratory, too. 
  • The heaviest space shuttle orbiter, Columbia, weighed 178,000 pounds, roughly the weight of 13 African elephants.
  • Some of the peculiar objects flown into orbit during the shuttles include: the Olympic torch, a replica of the golden spike from the First Transcontinental Railroad, and rock from the top of Mount Everest.
  • NASA recently completed construction of the International Space Station and will conclude the Space Shuttle Program now that the final shuttle launch and return was successful.
 For fun, this year’s “Space Exploration” Marini Farm corn maze was designed to resemble the outline of an astronaut, a space ship and a map of the US.

The corn maze sponsorship program, introduced for the first time this year, also offered four levels of support, named after NASA space shuttles as follows: BLAST OFF 1-Mission Accomplished (sponsor—Shaw’s Supermarkets); BLAST OFF 2-Discovery (sponsors; Brookwood School, Pomodori Pizza and Ipswich Dairy Queen); BLAST OFF 3-Enterprise (sponsors; Ithaki Restaurant, Ipswich Brewery, Pingree School, The 1646 Hart House Restaurant, Honda North); and ASTRONAUT level (Ipswich Butchery, Winfrey’s Fudge, Stone Soup Restaurant and The First National Bank of Ipswich).

Marini Farm has considered education a big part of its corn maze program since its inception 10 years ago.

Open Sept. 8 through Oct. 31, the maze each week brings thousands of families and numerous school and scouting field trips to the farm to learn more about a variety of agricultural topics, including:

  • The way pumpkins and corn grow
  • The history of family-owned Marini Farm
  • The importance of corn to the farmers, their livestock, and the environment
  • The integral role bees play in farming.

In the next blog, “GPS Mapping The Creation of a Corn Maze,” we are going to share more educational inside tips about the design and cutting process of the maze.

Written by Blogger Pros.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fun Facts About Marini Farm Corn Maze

Celebrating the 10-year anniversary of our corn maze that runs this year from September 8th through October 31st, Marini Farm is excited to share with you some fun facts.

To begin with, each year our corn maze has a unique educational theme that brings schools, clubs, scouting troops and thousands of families to our farm each week throughout the season.  This year, our theme is “Space Exploration,” featuring a 10-acre field designed to resemble the outline of an astronaut, a space shuttle, and a US map.

For the time ever, this year we invited local businesses to support our corn maze educational adventure.  Our 13 sponsors include: Shaw’s Supermarkets, Brookwood School, Pingree School, The 1646 Hart House, Ithaki Restaurant, Honda North, Ipswich Brewery, Pomodori Pizza, Ipswich Dairy Queen, Ipswich Butchery, Winfrey’s Fudge, Stone Soup Restaurant, and First National Bank of Ipswich.

The goal is to make the maze more challenging and diverse each year.  For example, this year a central meeting area was created, within only a few pathways of the entrance.

As you explore the maze, keep these facts in mind: 

  • Celebrating “a year of 10s,” Marini Farm has one of the largest corn mazes in Massachusetts at 10 acres and 10 miles of pathways, and this is the 10th year anniversary for the maze 
  • The average time to get through the maze is two hours, with the best time recorded time of one hour. 
  •  Numerous stations are strategically placed throughout the maze—and a game sheet with clues of how to maneuver through the maze is given to visitors before entering the corn pathways. 
  •  Safety is a priority, with numerous spotter flags located throughout to help people maneuver and get some directional help.  A manned lookout bridge is also located in the middle of the maze to offer assistance. 
  •  The maze is for all ages, with fun activities including a mini-maze for toddlers, jumping pillow, corn cannon, build-your-own-scarecrow, pumpkin patch, play center and hay rides. 
  •  More than 25,000 visitors a year come to the Marini Farm corn maze. 
  •  The maze has two special “doggy days” --September 8 and 9-- where dogs on leashes allowed free admission accompanied by a paying adult. A portion of the sales proceeds on these two days will benefit the Ipswich Humane Group Animal Shelter. 
  •  For an added challenge—which is a particular hit for teenagers—the maze hosts “flashlight nights” starting Sept. 21st (every Fri./Sat. night) 6-10 PM. 
  •  Marini Farm’s corn maze typically takes six hours to cut, with preparations commencing four months ahead. This year, planting began on June 10th and the maze was cut on July 5th. 

We will be telling more about the design and the making of the corn maze in our upcoming blogs.

Written by Blogger Pros.