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Haunted MAiZE at Ardenwood
Ardenwood Historic Farm, 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
Remember the movie Children of the Corn? The Haunted MAiZE at Ardenwood Historic Farm is all about children IN the corn!
When we visited on a Saturday evening, the last of the day visitors were just leaving the maze in preparation for the nighttime haunted maze to begin. Shortly after sunset, the maze was packed with kids and parents and there was a lengthy line to get inside. To keep the peace there were "Corn Cops" ready to help out!
This year the maze is in the shape of the bear that's on the California State flag. You enter the maze after dark and make your way through to the end, with helpful clues in the form of trivia along the way that you must answer correctly or be led down the wrong path.
The maze was offering flashlights to those who requested them, which we thought was needless and took away from the experience. That is, until we went to read some of those helpful clues. While we prefer that flashlights not be used when walking through the maze, some illumination is required to be able to read the clues. A glow stick (available for purchase at the entrance) is perfect for this. It doesn't destroy your (or other visitor's) night vision and adds an element of fun. As previously stated, the maze was also packed with people, which can be both good and bad. One of the most enjoyable things about a corn maze is the feeling of isolation you get as the corn stalks tower over you. There was no feeling of isolation here. In the brief moments when people weren't yelling or running by, the impending storm provided a wonderful breeze that rustled the tops of the corn in a most creepy and foreboding manner.
At night this is billed as a "haunted" maze. As you walk through the maze, scary characters roam through the maze jumping out and chasing visitors to invoke a scare. This worked somewhat, but the maze is so big and the number of characters so few that these scares are few and far between. The size was a bit of a problem too. It was almost too long. Once you've been inside for awhile (presumably the maze is doing its job and getting you lost), there is not much that changes, few scares, and it gets a bit boring. If it were shorter with the same amount of characters roaming through, it would make the experience better and scarier.
But what scares there were, were good scares! A particularly ominous scarecrow man gave us a good fright as we walked by unsuspectingly. Another creature chased us down a long stretch of corn before we lost him around a corner. The actors positioned themselves well for maximum impact and stayed in character from beginning until end. Although we thought the experience a little thin there were numerous families in the maze who were obviously enjoying themselves and those in line were very eager to get inside!
The Haunted MAiZE at Ardenwood rounds out a whole day of Halloween activity at Ardenwood Historic Farm. Be sure to also visit Perry's Pumpkin Patch and Ardenwood's Halloween Train.
Be sure to take a look at our Events Calendar to find all the other great events going on in the Bay Area. Or if you're reading this review in a year other than it was written, please check our Events Calendar for current dates and hours of operation.
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