Educational Adventures, Featured, Green Spaces, Mini Midwest, Small Towns

Mini Midwest: Richardson’s Adventure Farm


For the majority of my travel life, I’ve travelled primarily on the edges of the United States (and Canada)–I’ve been from the Pacific coast to New Orleans to Florida and up to Quebec City and Nova Scotia.  My where-I’ve-been travel map looks like a circle, outlining North America.

It’s time that changed.

In the past two months, I’ve visited the Midwest twice–both visits to the state of Illinois.  In the next I-don’t-know-how-many-years, I’m pretty sure I’ll be back to the midwest again and again–all parts of it.  Thus, I’d like to start featuring these destinations here on The Suitcase Scholar.

Enter–Mini Midwest, a blog series featuring educational adventures to be had in America’s heartland.  I’m calling them ‘mini’ because they will be short posts–no more than 150 words (this intro does not count, ok?)–and featuring only one (educational) attraction per post.

My first set of Mini Midwest posts will feature the state of Illinois because, well, that’s the first midwestern state I’ve had the pleasure of visiting.

Mini Midwest: Richardson’s Adventure Farm


It is fully autumn most of the country–well, I suppose it is technically fully autumn in this entire hemisphere, but some places are more autumn-y than others.  And I assure you, Illinois is autumn-y.  Thus, it is time for all sorts of fall fun–you know, like a good old fashioned corn maze (er, maize maze?)  I had the pleasure of visiting Richardson’s Adventure Farm on my first visit to Illinois, and I can tell you–it is the corn maze to end all corn mazes.

Billed as ‘the world’s largest corn maze’ (in quotes because they can’t really be sure–but trust me, it is huge) Richardson’s Adventure Farm’s maze is a work of geeky genius.  It features a different design each year–a very elaborate design (check out this year’s design HERE–there was no way for me to take a photo from the sky)–which is drawn on a computer and then laid out with a tractor following GPS coordinates created by the computer program.  Bet you never realized that corn mazes were so high tech (neither did I).

This is as high up as I got--the observation tower overlooking the maze.  It really is VERY BIG!

This is as high up as I got–the observation tower overlooking the maze. It really is VERY BIG!

The thing I really love about Richardson’s was that it is family-owned; the farm was once a working farm, but when times changed and it became hard to support any family–never mind an extended family like the Richardsons–on the profits of a modearate-sized farm, the family banded together and found a way to make a joyful living off the land–in a very non-traditional fashion.

And by ‘non-traditional’ I mean ‘Beatles-themed corn maze’.  And by ‘Beatles-themed corn maze’, I mean ‘awesomeness’.

Richardson’s Adventure farm is located in Spring Grove, Illinois, right on the Wisconsin border–about an hour’s drive from either Chicago or Milwaukee.  It features not only ‘the world’s largest corn maze’, but pig races (PIG RACES!), a big thing upon which you can jump, zip lining (I totally did the zip lining) and a thing called ‘zorbing’ (where they put you in a big clear blow up ball and roll you down a hill.  Yeah.  I’m sad I didn’t get to try that.  Very, very sad.) 

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