Amazing Mazes

Activity 7

The Story of Corn

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Mazes date back at least 4000 years to the time of Greek myths. In Roman times, mazes and labyrinths were found in artwork, in the design of floors in homes, public buildings and in the pavement of streets. It is believed that mazes were not considered puzzles, but were used for rituals and processions.

Drawn Bear Maze

Aerial photo of bear maze at Staceyville, Iowa.
Based on the Great Bear Mound at Effigy Mounds National Monument, Harper's Ferry, Iowa

In the centuries that followed, mazes continued to appear in artwork and architecture such as inlays in the floors of the French cathedrals. In Scandinavia, over 600 stone labyrinths lined the shores of the Baltic Sea, with over half of them in Sweden.

Later formal gardens were developed throughout Europe and included puzzle hedges. The garden mazes were developed at the wealthiest castles and palaces to amuse kings and princes. The task was to find the center and then return to the beginning point.

The maze in the gardens at Hampton Court Palace, one of the finest examples in England, was planted by William III (1650-1702).

Boy walking in a corn maze
In the nineteenth century mazes became a popular entertainment in parks and other public places.

Since the 1970's, navigating through an intricate maze has become a popular form of recreation.

Dinosaur Maze 
3.3 acres, 1.92 pathway miles, 142,713 square feet

The dinosaur maze was produced by Don Frantz and the American Maze Company for Lebanon Valley College in 1993. The first 'modern' corn maze named the "Amazing Maize Maze"(r) was a collaboration between Don Frantz and Adrian Fisher and was then the world's largest maze and subsequently sparked a worldwide fad of corn mazes.

The Country Heritage Maize Maze began when LaVerne Swenson, a farmer from Clermont, Iowa, and some of his friends and neighbors around the area dreamed of telling the story of Iowa's agricultural heritage and increasing tourism in Northeast Iowa. Corn mazes appear in many different designs. Most have a path, which goes all around the whole pattern, either to end in the middle or to come back out again.

Dan-D Farms Corn Maze in Knoxville, IA

Create a Maze

Go ahead... amaze yourself!

Discovery School's Puzzlemaker Advanced Maze Creation
To create your maze, follow the steps and click the "Create My Maze" button when you are done. Enter a few numbers to set up the size, and instantly you've created a maze! See for yourself. Experiment with a wheel or cut-out shape for a real challenge.

Photographs used with permission from Dan-D Farms in Knoxville, Iowa, the American Maze Company and Country Heritage Maize Maze.

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