This past weekend my girls and I played at the Botanic Gardens Chatfield Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze. The weather was perfect as we headed out to have some fall fun. We love the Chatfield fall festival and try to attend every year.
The gardens at Chatfield are at the edge of the western suburbs in Littleton, just west of Chatfield Reservoir and Park. The fall festival was packed, but parking isn’t a problem, because there are huge empty fields. I’m not sure they’d ever run out of parking. The only problem with this is it’s a bit of a hike up to the festival. Not such a bad thing going in, but tough when you are lugging four pumpkins and three kids. Just be prepared to do a lot of walking on mostly dirt paths. A wagon isn’t a bad idea either. They do have some, but they are tough to secure.
The ticket booth is a tad confusing. It’s hard to tell if you just walk in, or if you pay admission, or how the entire system works. Attending the festival is free, but the activities are a fee. The corn maze is $10 Adults, $8 Member, Student, Seniors (65+), $6 Child (ages 3-12), $4 Child Member, Free for children 2 and under. There is also a mini maze – perfect for the little ones.
I had 7 to 11 year olds so they weren’t going near the “baby” maze. We hit the big maze. I thought i
t was interesting that the gardens didn’t print maps of the maze to be green, but did hand out papers with a “passport” or clues. I didn’t look at the passport and let the kids do the navigating. That was my first mistake. They didn’t understand how the passport worked, but weren’t letting on. We’d get to a fork in the path, they’d look at the passport and say “go right” or “go left.” I thought they knew what they were doing until I realized we had traveled in several circles.
When I took over the passport, I discovered that you had to find marked posts in the maze, read a trivia question, and then the right answer would tell you to go in the right direction. It was difficult to find these posts and without a map, we were caught with a lot of people just wandering the maze trying to navigate ourselves.
And don’t try to cut through maze walls, pick the corn or throw anything. The gardens has people on cranes up above the maze who are watching your every move. Those caught cutting will be removed. The nice thing about the Big Maze Brothers in the sky is that they were also giving hints here and there. While probably also laughing at us as we hit repeated dead ends. The hints may have been pity – they couldn’t take us walking in any more circles.
I’ve been to a few corn mazes and we always enjoy the ones where you get a map and have to find punches or markers along the way. It adds to the fun and you aren’t just looking for the end. But that’s my opinion.
After about an hour of wandering around the first half of the maze, we found the bail out exit. We were done and took it. We aren’t exactly the best navigators. Next time, I’m taking the piece of paper in the beginning and starting us out on the right foot. Hopefully.
After escaping the maze alive, we grabbed a few snacks, tried out the other activities and then hit the pumpkin patch last. It took forever for the kids to find the perfect pumpkin. There isn’t a fee to visit the patch, but pumpkins are charged according to height. I spent $16 on two mid-size pumpkins.
Like I mentioned above, the tickets are a little confusing. They are sold in a large yurt in the middle of the festival. There’s a sign that says “TICKETS” but many people (including us) weren’t sure if they needed to buy general admission tickets or patch tickets or what. The yurt sells tickets to the corn maze, the jumping pillow, hay rides and pony rides. One ticket at the jumping pillow gets you 5 minutes of jumping. ($3 for one ticket, $8 for three tickets, $13 for five tickets). The hay and pony rides are $5 each. It would be nice if an all-inclusive ticket was available or there were signs explaining all of the different fees. Do your research ahead of time so you know what you want to do and how much it will cost. It’s cash only (there is an ATM available) and you can burn through your money quickly as you pay for each activity individually.
For the older kids and adults, the gardens also offer a Haunted Maze from after dark until 11 p.m. It’s $15 per person.
Trick-or-Treat in the Trail
Little ones 12 and under can trick or treat in the trail (in McDonald’s Mini-Maze) on Sunday, Oct. 21 or Sunday, Oct. 28, 1-3 p.m. It’s free.
Don’t miss this family-fun event near Denver. For more information visit the Botanic Gardens Chatfield Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze.
Hours & Location
Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Sept. 14 through Oct. 28, 2012 at our Chatfield location.
Fridays 4-9 p.m.
Saturdays Noon – 9 p.m.
Sundays Noon – 6 p.m.
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield
8500 W Deer Creek Canyon Road
Littleton, CO 80128
My family and I generously received four free passes to explore the corn maze in exchange for this article.