How to build a corn maze: Will Jones reveals the Denver Botanic Gardens' secrets

Okay, so it's not really a secret, but when we saw this year's design for the annual Corn Maze at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield -- which opens to the public today -- we got to thinking. How do they choose the design every year? Who makes the design into a maze? And how on the green earth do they get eight acres of corn to conform to said design?

We had questions. And DBG spokesman Will Jones gave us some answers.

According to Jones, the three women who comprise the DBG's special-events team met at the end of last year to start planning this year's design. "They meet with our exhibitions team, which is headed by Lisa Eldred, just to discuss what's going on in the coming year," Jones notes. "Last year, the major thing we were talking about is our Native Roots|Modern Form exhibit, which celebrates the art of Alan Houser. With that being the major exhibition, we thought it would be perfect to have the design cut in the corn maze that represents the Native American style.

That's all well and good. But how do they get the corn to do that?

"We use a company called the MAiZE, which is based out of Utah," says Jones. (We like that. It seems much more trustworthy than a corn-maze company based out of, say, New York City.) "They help design the pattern by using a computer grid, and once they set up the computer grid, we go out with flags and set up the design," Jones adds. "That's done when the corn is maybe around knee-high -- that's when we start cutting and creating the design."

The corn maze is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through October 30, at which point the corn will be harvested and fed to farm animals on the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield property.

"People like being scared, people like being lost, and there are corn mazes all over the country that people just flock to," Jones adds. "It's kind of creepy because the corn is so tall, but there are some people who love being lost and the challenge of working their way through."

Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for DBG members, seniors and students with ID; $6 for kids ages three to twelve; $4 for kid members; and free for children two and younger.

VERY IMPORTANT: The DBG will not be printing maps on location this year to save paper. If you want a guide, print your own map through the maze at home and take it with you.

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Amber Taufen has been writing about people, places and things in Denver since 2005. She works as an editor, writer, and production and process guru out of her home office in the foothills.
Contact: Amber Taufen