Only in Indiana: Tippecanoe County's amazing corn maze


TIPPECANOE COUNTY (WTHR) - When most of us look at corn fields, we see a necessity of life. When Tim Fitzgerald looks at corn, he sees opportunity.

Fitzgerald wanted to make the most out of his 70 acres.

"The farm had fallen into disrepair when my dad retired from farming," he explained. "I thought I'll take a stab at it. I am a designer and I used to be a farmer too. I grew up on it and I came up with this idea of agri-tourism."

Fitzgerald was searching for a path that would allow him to keep the farm which had been in the family since the 1920s. His idea was a corn maze.

"This will actually smooth out after we have a few thousand people pack it down," he explained as he drove through the path to the maze.

Some 13,000 people ventured out to see his idea the first year back in 2008. He is expecting 45,000 to 50,000 this year to Exploration Acres, which is located in Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, sandwiched in between I-65 and State Road 52.

Every year, Fitzgerald sketches out a design he wants to see carved out of his corn field. This year he decided to honor the state with a bicentennial corn maze.

He'd never had a chance to go up in the air to look down at it.

"That is the problem with corn mazes. Unless you get up 50 or 60 feet up you really can't see them all that well," he said.

With Chopper 13, that is not a problem. In fact, it's the only way to go.

"Some of the inspiration came from the state seal. The bison. The axe and the state bird and tulip leaf and the state flag and 1816-2016 is cut in there," said Fitzgerald, who showed us the design on his computer.

It is a sight to behold.

"Everyone of these things has a purpose," he said.

The only downside to the maze? A GPS is not going to help you! Even Fitzgerald gets a little flummoxed trying to get out of his maze.

"Heading the wrong way. We know this will take us right back to where this started that is for sure," he said. "Let me go back to the bridge. I am going to have to read my map. Try to figure out. I think I was supposed to turn there to try to get out."

There are mazes designed for every age group.

"Sorry about that, guys. I made a wrong turn," he said.

But they are meant to be a challenge, so be forewarned.

"Now we are back to the exit path. I had to read the map. I apologize. I don't have them memorized yet!" he said.

It may be a little tougher to get out then it was to get in!

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