As summer winds down and temperatures cool, vacations conclude and time on the beach or boating becomes increasingly unrealistic. Luckily, the autumn months offer a whole new set of Northern Michigan attractions for you and the kids to enjoy — like Traverse City‘s renowned Jacob’s Corn Maze! Read on for a lowdown of the a-maze-ing fun you can expect and other fall activities on the farm.
Family Farm, Family Values
Located on M-72 just 5 miles east of Traverse City, Jacob’s Farm has been owned and operated by the Witkop family for 122 years. Mike and Laverna Witkop have been operating the farm since they purchased the farm from Mike’s parents in 1995.
Under Mike and Laverna’s ownership, the farm has put a larger focus on sustainability so the land can continue to be used in future generations. Around 2008, Mike noticed that “tour” had become a buzzword, something that Jacob’s wasn’t yet engaged in. From that, the idea of a corn maze was born and they haven’t looked back once.
“We just want to provide good, wholesome family fun,” Mike says.
“Outstanding in Their Field”
This year marks the 7th corn maze hosted by Jacob’s Farm, and it may be their most intricate and ambitious design yet. The maze is secret agent themed, featuring a Bond-esque character, outlines of secret agents, and the words “Top Secret,” “CIA,” “KGB,” and “M15.”
Witkop says he got the idea from a partner who was doing the concept at his farm in Pennsylvania and the positive reception was encouraging. Jacob’s Corn Maze is 10 acres large and boasts over 5 miles of trails, with 22 Q&A stations positioned along the way to test your “top secret” knowledge. The maze typically takes one to two hours to complete, but getting lost is half the fun!
Jacob’s contracted Maize Quest, a Pennsylvania company that creates high quality themed corn mazes, to carry out their idea. The design is implemented using sophisticated GPS technology, and then this blueprint is followed by tractors and rototillers to create an image when viewed from above. Mike says they installed an irrigation system and grow the corn in a different pattern to make the maze a reality.
“It’s a lot of effort and investment,” he says. “But in the end, it’s definitely worth it.”
Some previous year’s designs were two eagles, a bucking bronco, a T-Rex, a pirate theme, and “Jacob’s Big Island Adventure.” The maze is perfect for families, but they also cater to larger parties like school groups, scout troops, and church groups.
And if you’re a night owl, the corn maze is open until 9 on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays throughout the fall season so you can navigate the trails by flashlight! Check out the timelapse video below for a taste of this nocturnal navigation.
More than a Maze
Beyond their mystical maze, Jacob’s has other activities perfectly suited for the colorful fall months! They offer seasonal berry picking including Saskatoon berries and raspberries, as well as peaches and apples. The farm also offers pumpkin picking so you can choose the perfect specimen for a jovial jack-o-lantern.
Not the biggest fruit fan? Take your frustrations out on some apples with Jacob’s guided apple shooting! There are also horse-drawn wagon rides offered on the farm in fall, bonfires, and a farm market featuring locally grown and created products.
So what are you waiting for? Get out and get lost at Jacob’s Farm!