Just a few miles south of Hillsboro there is a corn maze that offers a unique twist many others do not. Rather than just trying to find their way in and out of the maze, visitors receive a scavenger hunt card punch. Anyone that finds all the items on the card receives a free gourd.
“Everybody loves the scavenger hunt,” said Nancy Couser, who operates the Ballentine Corn Maze at 9250 Ballentine Road with Mike Countryman. “We had one guy that said, ‘My wife wants to go to every corn maze in Ohio, and I want to thank you because this gives me something to do.’”
Visitors entering the maze receive a punch card with six items shown on it. Hidden on the maze’s trails are posts with a card punch attached to them. Each of the punches feature a different shape matching those on the card, and the only way win a gourd is to punch all six shapes on the card.
But that is not the only unique feature to the Ballentine Corn Maze. On Friday and Saturday evenings spooky movies are shown on the side of a barn while where visitors can sit on straw bales. Friday movies are PG-rated and family friendly. Saturday movies are more scary.
Throughout the day there’s a fire pit where visitors can roast marshmallows, hot dogs and make s’mores.
There is also a corn pit and barrel train ride, plus items for sale like fall decor, fall wreaths, flannel shirts, mums (only a few are left), pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn. Soft drinks and other treats are available for purchase.
General admission that includes the corn maze, corn pit, barrel train rides and more is $5 per person.
Couser said the Ballentine Corn Maze was a longtime dream of Countryman’s. It opened for the first time last year.
“He’s talked about it for a long time but has always been so busy. Really, last year it was just trial and error to see if even one person would come,” Couser said. “People come and stay for hours. They make themselves feel so at home, we don’t bother them, and I think they like that.”
The corn maze has around four miles of trails. Next year Couser said they hope to have a larger maze along with one about the size of this year’s. They also hope to add haunted hayrides and more vendors.
This year’s maze is designed in the shape of a alien with a piece sign. Couser said Countryman’s daughter draws the scene, then uses a computer to scale the drawing to the dimensions of the corn field. That information is transferred to a hand held GPS. Before the corn gets too tall the maze is cut into the corn field. As the rest of the corn grows, the maze paths are kept mowed.
The Ballentine Corn Maze is open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and Sunday from 1-6 p.m. Couser said depending on how many people are still there, they sometimes stay open later on Friday and Saturday. She said they have glow sticks, and visitors are welcome to bring flashlights and try the maze in the dark.
The last day for the maze is Saturday, Oct. 31. There will be live classic country/rock by the band Shady Lane. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. the day will be family friendly, but from 7 p.m. to midnight, Couser said it will be for adults. Costumes are encouraged, but not required.
“Hopefully we’ll have more and more as the years go by,” Couser said. “Come on out, grab and straw bale and hang out with us.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.