Brett Herbst, founder of The MAiZE, designs hundreds of corn mazes each year, but he lends his talents to only one sunflower maze: the truly amazing Sunflower Maze at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield, Connecticut. This vibrant yellow labyrinth is one of many fun attractions at this 1,100-acre farm, which was established in 1741 and is the twelfth oldest family-owned business in the United States. Lyman Orchards celebrated its 275th birthday in 2016.
The Sunflower Maze is fragrant, colorful, challenging and entertaining. Best of all: $1 from each ticket ($10 for 13 and up, $5 for ages 4-12 in 2016) supports the pediatric cancer unit at Connecticut Children's Medical Center.
We immersed ourselves in the maze over Labor Day Weekend and these photos and tips will help you plan a visit.
Get Lost for a Good Cause
Getting lost in the Sunflower Maze at Lyman Orchards isn't just a fun way to spend an afternoon. Lyman donates $1 from each admission ticket sold to the Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford.
Surrounded by Sunshine
Visitors to the Lyman Orchards Sunflower Maze soon find themselves up to their eyeballs in sunflowers.
One Way Out
There's only one way into the Sunflower Maze at Connecticut's Lyman Orchards... and only one way out!
A Staggering Number
The Lyman Orchards Sunflower Maze is composed of a staggering number of sunflowers: an estimated 235,000 when the maze was in full bloom in 2009... now up to 350,000 sunflowers in 2016!
A Guitar Made of Sunny Stars
From overhead, the 2009 Lyman Orchards Sunflower Maze is shaped like a giant guitar, but on the ground, all visitors see is thousands of sunny stars. This is the only sunflower maze designed by Brett Herbst, who designs more than 200 corn mazes each year.
The Place to Bee
We weren't the only ones who thought Lyman Orchards' Sunflower Maze was the place to be. The bees were out in full force in the maze. Although they intimidated my daughter a bit, they really didn't bother us.
A Challenging Trek
To make the trek through their Sunflower Maze a challenge, Lyman Orchards offers maze-goers a choice of trivia quizzes to guide them through the maze. Correct answers will help you decide which way to turn. A wrong answer may send you down a dead end.
Choose the Right Path
Here's a hint: Ask for two different trivia quiz sheets when you enter the Sunflower Maze. We chose Interactive (the hardest theme) and American History. That gave us two possible options for getting a correct answer (and choosing the right path).
Up close, each sunflower plant is a unique example of nature's beauty. When you're lost in a maze of hundreds of thousands of them, however, sunflowers can seem deceptively similar!
As Big as Your Head
As you follow clues and detours within the Lyman Orchards Sunflower Maze, you'll see vibrant, golden sunflowers in all sizes: including some as big as your head!
Standing Out in the Crowd
Most sunflowers in Lyman Orchards' maze are typical yellow varieties, but a few, like the deep red sunflower in this photo, are unusual hues. They reminded me of the patients at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, who help select the maze's theme.
My daughter and husband celebrated when we reached the final post in the Sunflower Maze at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield, Connecticut. When we exited, we even received "I Survived the Maze!" stickers.
Take YOUR Family
If you're looking for an idea for a fun family day trip this summer, take YOUR family to the Lyman Orchards Sunflower Maze. A train-themed Sunflower Maze opened July 30 for the 2016 season and will remain in operation through late August.