Experience an old-timey autumn tradition of finding your way through a corn maze at Thompson Farm & Nursery in Conway, about a 20-minute drive from Myrtle Beach.
Every weekend in October, Thompson Farm transforms into a fall festival for visitors looking to escape the commercialism of Halloween candy and haunted houses for a more grassroots sort of celebration. Not only does Thompson Farm boast the largest corn maze in the state of South Carolina, the 165-year-old homestead also pulls out all the stops to show its guests a good time in a rural setting.
The maze isn't your traditional cornfield with a path cut through it. Sponsored by WPDE-TV and Ripley's Aquarium, the maze features the sponsors' names and an aquatic design of fish and sea creatures carved into it from an aerial view, which guests can see from atop a silo stand. But the sneak peek doesn't help to find your way through the corn once you're inside the maze and looking at ground level.
The carefully crafted maze makes it difficult to see the big picture and leaves groups feeling lost when they are only steps away from open pasture. Visitors can stick together and tackle the maze as a group, or split up and make it a contest to see who can find the light of day first. Don't wait until too late to get started since the sun sets earlier and tall rows of corn can leave you in the dark. Of course, the staff knows its way around the maze and is available to assist anyone who genuinely needs help getting out.
In addition to a corn maze, Thompson Farm also offers hay wagon rides around the 200-plus acre property, giving kids the chance to experience the life on the farm that they have only heard about from their parents or grandparents. The hayride is also like a trip back in time for older generations who grew up in rural areas. It's something the whole family can enjoy together.
Also for the kids, Thompson Farm offers an animal feeding attraction that allows them to get up close and personal with the farm animals, such as cows, horses, goats, and chickens. Children can feed and pet the animals while getting the unique experience of a farm hand. There's also Pappy's Play Area, a country-style playground for the young ones to burn off some energy.
Be sure to check out the country store and produce markets to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables while you still can, and load up on Thompson Farm's wide selection of pumpkins. There's also a picnic area where visitors can pack a lunch and enjoy it in the peaceful countryside.
The Thompson Farm Corn Maze and other attractions are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays during the month of October. Tickets are $15.50 for adults, $13.50 for children ages 3-12 and free for ages 2 and under. On Oct. 10 and 17, the corn maze is open from dusk till 11 p.m. for a special Flashlight Nights installment for only $9 per person. The darkness and shining lights add a scary element to the attraction for the thrill-seekers. Thompson Farm is currently accepting reservations for large groups of visitors
Thompson Farm is located on Highway 701 South, about 8 miles outside of Conway. The area is fairly undeveloped so look for signs on the left side of the road. For more information, call 843-236-1400 or visit www.thompsonfarmandnursery.com.
(Photo Courtesy: sciway.net)