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Cherry Crest Adventure Park & The Amazing Maise Maze Review – Family Fun in Lancaster, PA

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

Now and then, we stumble upon a family fun outing that is so awesome that we arrive early and stay late. We had one such trip last Friday. I had been contacted by the PR representative for Cherry Crest Adventure Farm in reference to some new activities they have for this season, and I asked if they would host my family for a day during our July staycation. They agreed, and I told the kids we were going to a corn maze.

Boy did I have that wrong! Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is so much more than a corn maze. 

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

When I say that we arrived early and stayed late, I mean it. We were there 15 minutes before the farm opened, giving the girls time to explore and play on the outside equipment. We were the third family in the gate once it was opened. Also, we were one of the very last families to leave the farm, 15 minutes after they officially closed.

When we first arrived, there was a drizzly rain, but we decided to do the corn maze right away in case the day got hot later. When the sun is hot, it gets crazy stifling inside the corn maze. I did that once when I was a teenager, and it wasn't all that fun.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

The corn right now is about chest-high, so we were easily able to see over it. This made for an awesome experience as we could see where we were headed and where we'd come from. There are mailboxes and games throughout the maze, and those make it fun and interesting. There's always something around the corner to check out.

There are 3 suggested courses within the maze itself: easy (yellow), medium (orange), and expert (red). The yellow course takes about 20 minutes, the orange course takes 45-60 minutes, and the red course takes 90+ minutes. The yellow and orange courses have clues along the way to guide you to Victory!, but the red course is completely open-ended and on your own. We opted for the orange course and set out. We did get off-track twice, and once ended up back at the start, but we managed to get through the whole maze in about 60 minutes. The staff assured us that this was a really good time.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

While we were in the maze, the drizzly rain turned into a downpour. This was a bummer and made both of the kids completely miserable, but we persisted. We got soaking wet, and our feet got pretty muddy. Our game board that went along with the puzzle and scratch-off games in the maze fell apart in the rain. None of this deterred us. (They did give us a new puzzle at the end so we could record our game pieces.)

Even after the setback of getting back to the entrance, we persisted, and our persistence paid off as we did eventually find Victory! at the end of the maze.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

When I was a teenager, my mom, sister, and I took my niece to this same corn maze. I don't remember much about it from 20+ years ago except that it was dreadfully hot and we gave up after an hour or so in the maze. We never found our way back out. So this time, Victory! was even sweeter since it was my first ever success in the Amazing Maise Maze.

If you've never been there before, you really need the clues to get back out. The maze covers 5 acres and the longest direct route is over 2.5 miles. It's a great walk, but if you take a wrong turn… Well, you can imagine. They didn't have the clues the first time we visited in the late 1990's, and I was thrilled to see them this time.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

Another great feature of this maze is the flag. Each family gets a flag to carry as they progress through the maze. If you give up or get stuck or need some kind of help, you can wave your flag over the corn (not hard right now, but you can imagine when it gets to be 10 feet tall this would be important) and a staffer will find you. We were one of two families braving the maze in the rain, so staffers found us pretty often even though we didn't wave our flag. They were all friendly and helpful but we declined assistance.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

There is a café in the maze and a couple of port-o-potties for your convenience. We also found this piano which the kids thought was super cool. They both played some things they knew from memory as well as some songs which were painted on the piano.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

Every year, the maze has a theme. I still remember the first time I went, it was outer space. This time, it was board games, and there were a bunch of games throughout the maze. There were dice games and spinning wheels and find the picture games, all of which we enjoyed. Then, near the end, there was this animal footprint game that the kids really liked.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

The center of Victory! is a giant star, which we were very pleased to find. In this area, there is a station where you can complete your puzzle if you missed any pieces (the orange course only takes you past 7 of the 15 stations, plus we found 2 more on our detours) and a place to take a victory photo.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

After we found our way out of the maze, the real fun began. Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is loaded with things to do outside of the maze. I mean, loaded. I think there were something like 70 different attractions and food stands on the map.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

The first thing we did, because it was literally right outside the maze, was ride pedal carts. There were carts for little people and carts for big people. Joe and I relaxed out of the rain under a tent and watched while Grace meandered around the track and Allie raced with some other little kids. They had fun doing this and didn't even mind that they were getting rained on.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

Then Grace called to her dad to come race her. He didn't want to leave the dry benches under the tent, but we was a good sport and got his own cart to race. They sped around the track and laughed and laughed as one or the other would inch ahead.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

After lunch (lunch was a little pricey {$40 for 4 people with no drinks}, but the food was really good), the girls wanted to see the animals. There were goats, sheep, a piglet, chickens (I think), and ducks in the front area of the farm. You can buy food for them, and the animals all gobble it up of course. The girls really enjoyed that.

Inside this area, there are chicks that you can touch and hold. No one got pooped on which I thought was a major success.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

Also inside this little barn area are educational displays. I learned that Cherry Crest Farm raises chickens for sale locally, and these chickens are often used for meat in local fast food. I also learned the difference between a layer (a hen whose job it is to lay eggs) and a roaster (I imagine you can guess what this chicken's job is). I'm not much for birds in general, but I did hold a chick to appease Allie, who was elated at the chicks and their peeping.

I think I might have to say this many times during this post, but we stayed at the chicks for what felt to me like a long time. Allie LOVED playing with the chicks and asking tons of questions of the staff member who was watching them.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

The farm is split into two sections by the railroad track on which the historic Strasburg Railroad runs. The train comes along frequently. Grace thought this was pretty neat and wanted to ride the train after we left, but Allie hated it (because of the loud whistle) and begged us not to go on. We skipped it this time but will go sometime in the future.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

Besides the main food area, the animals, a foot washing station, and the bathrooms, the maze side of the railroad tracks has a few fun things to do. Both Allie and Grace enjoyed racing duckies with old-fashioned water pumps, climbing the spider web made out of ropes, and riding the bucking broncos even though Grace had tremendous difficulty hoisting herself up onto hers.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

After we crossed the tracks into what they call The Barnyard, the girls went right to heaven. There is so much to do over there, and so much of it is absolutely fantastic, that Allie and I barely made it to half before the farm closed. Grace and Joe did a lot more, but I don't have pictures because they didn't take any. In addition to what Allie and I did below, Joe and Grace played some ball games, rolled in giant tubes, drove big pedal carts (four-seaters, different from the one-seaters above), pulled tractors and hay, and I forget what else. The also saw paintball and apple chucking, both of which cost extra. They explored a lot more than we did, which I'll explain below.

The first area Allie went to was the log cabin building. There were two little boys in there, and she joined right in. The three of them worked together to build a small log cabin with these neat notched logs. It had to be done just so or the pieces wouldn't fit, and this caused some consternation in the beginning, but as you can see below, they got it to work in the end.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

Grace also tried to make a log cabin, but she wanted to make hers fancy and that didn't work out so well. I was impressed with the cabin materials and how they made kids really think and problem solve. The little kids wanted to make a door and a window in their cabin, so they really had to work out exactly how that should be done. The other mom and Joe and I helped more than a little, but the kids eventually worked out what to do and how to build their cabin. And were they ever proud once they got the roof on! You can just see their excitement from the looks on their faces.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

The next thing the girls wanted to do was the straw tunnel. It was funny because Grace crawled in first, and then she backed right back out. She said, “I'm not going in there. It's dark in there.” and then Allie went right in and Grace followed. They were gone for what seemed like a really long time, and then the popped up on top of all the hay way in the back. They played up there for a little while, and then they disappeared again. And then Grace reappeared and came over to ask for my phone to use as a flashlight. I told her that it didn't say to bring a flashlight, so I didn't think she needed it, and she climbed down over the top of all the hay, saying that it was too dark and she wasn't doing.

So guess what. Allie did it by herself which is very much like her. She climbed down through the hay, through the dark, and emerged victorious. She did get Grace to follow her the whole way through on her second trip through, which surprised me a little.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

Next, the girls wanted to do the panning for gems, which is a paid activity, one of only a few at the farm. Of course, the Ziegmonts don't do anything little, so they each went for the biggest bag of gems possible ($12 I believe, but there were also $7 and $10 sizes).

It was really cool because each kid got a screen contraption which you can see below. She poured a bit of the dirt mixture from her bag into the screen and then dipped it down into the sluice (I might be making that word up, but I think that's what it was called), shook it around, and pulled it back up.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

When she picked her screen up out of the water, there were all her gems mixed in with some other assorted gravel. It was very exciting and satisfying to pick all the good stuff out of the gravel and see it get rinsed off. I was really glad that we sprung for this because both girls ended up with a bulging bag of raw minerals (thinks like quartz and amethyst and amazonite which I'd never before heard of and even some pyrite and other stuff) that we will be able to put through our rock tumbler or just leave as jagged stones. They were thrilled with their bounty, so I would say panning for gems was a wild success.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

Next we went to a giant slingshot. Basically, there is a huge net set up on the hillside with pictures of animals on it (and live goats and alpacas underneath). Each person gets three tennis balls and takes a station. You put a tennis ball in the little pouch, pull it back, and let it fly. I was terrifically bad at this and gave up after only two balls, but Grace and Allie each did it three or four times. Allie was especially good at it because she's low to the ground to begin with.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

There are giant pillows at Cherry Crest, sort of like these enormous trampolines. They're really neat. The girls did play on them for a few minutes, but they were short-lived, I expect because we have a trampoline at home, and because it was getting pretty hot at that point in the day. Grace got tired of jumping by herself, and Allie wanted to go to Sproutsville. You can check out some photos of a 3-year-old Grace jumping on the pillows when we visited in 2010.

After the pillows, we went to Sproutsville. Ah, Sproutsville. I found myself a comfortable chair in the shade and sat at Sproutsville for over 90 minutes. Allie was enrapt in all the pretend play opportunities. Grace was too tall, but was allowed to enter because her sister was. She played for a little while and then, as I said above, went off with her dad to explore other stuff.

Sproutsville is brand new this year, built entirely by the Coleman family who owns the farm. It is magnificent. If we lived closer to Cherry Crest Adventure Farm, I can see Allie asking to go there every single weekend. (We're about 70 minutes away.)

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

Within Sproutsville are an ice cream shop, a farmer's market, a school house, a post office, an animal hospital, a barn, a silo, and a garage. They are all decked out with props and costumes just for little people, and the attention to detail is amazing. Grace asked to use my camera to take pictures of all her favorite details, and I have included many of those below.

 

The garage is pretty fantastic with a tractor and engine parts and a toolbox and a gas station where you can pull several different vehicles in for a fill-up. Allie wasn't into this building so much, but I thought it was pretty neat. There were various signs on the walls about tractors and vehicles.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

Next to the garage was the silo and barn. They were magnificent. There was a spiral staircase leading up to the top of the silo which was like a little hideout. There was a hay loft above the barn, also like a little hideout. The barn was full of pretend animals which did not stink, a fact I enjoyed very much.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

Because it's brand new, all the wood is nice and light and smooth. I know it won't be that way forever, but even as it ages, I can tell that Sproutsville is going to be a wonderful place for kids to play.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

Allie was really impressed with this pulley and basket that could be used to transport goods up to the hayloft. I didn't notice whether she convinced anyone to go up there and relay stuff, but I saw her pulling the basket up and down often.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

Next up was the post office. Every building had an outdoor mailbox, and there were loads of letters in the post office to deliver around town. Also in the post office was a town bulletin board with a missing cat poster (more on that below). 

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

The missing cat's name is Allie, a fact that delighted my Allie to no end. And then, she actually found the missing kitty in the barn under a sign with its name. She lured every person she could find to see the poster and then to find the kitten in the barn, young and old, kids and grown ups, men and women. Anyone who would listen got told, “Follow me! I have something cool to show you!” I laughed and laughed as she walked perfect strangers around Sproutsville showing them the clues and the cat.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

Next up is the school house which was my favorite part of Sproutsville. It has three rows of old-time school benches and desks, perfect for playing school. There are books and a globe and a big chalkboard with chalk. 

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

I think the ice cream shop was Allie's favorite spot. She stayed in there the longest, and even came out to ask me to come in and buy ice cream from her. She scooped flavors, put the pompoms back, sorted them, and sold ice cream and cake to everyone who came in.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

Next up was the animal hospital which was Allie's other favorite spot. There are all kinds of veterinary props in there along with some kennel cages (Allie noticed that every kennel was labeled with the name of a pet in the animal hospital – they all matched up perfectly), a basin for pretending to bathe the pets, an exercise yard, and even a lighted box to look at x-rays (which are plentiful). She was sure to show me how she could crawl through the doggie door out to the exercise yard.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

Next is Grace's favorite spot in Sproutsville, the Farmer's Market. It was like a real store with pantry items and produce and a conveyor belt and a scanner and a credit card machine. There were grocer's aprons and a produce scale and every food item you can think of. Grace was in heaven and spent a lot of time in here even though she was too big to play.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

I bet I sat watching Allie play in Sproutsville even longer than 90 minutes. It was probably 2 hours or even more. She was just totally engrossed in playing there. Kids would come in with their moms, explore a little, and leave, and Allie played with many of them. As their moms would rush them out, new ones would come, and she would play with those kids. I was content to just let her imagine and pretend and have a great screen-free time.

The only reason we eventually left Sproutsville was that the farm was closing, and Allie wanted to explore the gift shop before they kicked us out.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

As I said above, we did not pay for our tickets, but we did pay for everything else:

  • Lunch – $40
  • Water – $9
  • Panning for gems – $25
  • Souvenirs including locally made cheese (which is AMAZING and almost all gone already) – $50
  • Food for the petting zoo – $3

We each brought a water bottle from home full of cold water, and that kept our drink cost down significantly. Unfortunately, everyone ran out of water because we were there so long, and we did end up buying some. You are allowed to bring drinks and food, too, so if you are budget-conscious, you should consider packing a picnic lunch and eating that at the farm. (Make sure you buy a roasted ear of corn for everyone. Those were so so good.) There is ample space to do so under a roof, so if it's very hot or raining, you will be protected.

Honestly, I can't gush enough about Cherry Crest Adventure Farm and the Amazing Maise Maze. It was such a wonderful family fun day. Everything about it was awesome. I would love to go back again later in the year, and I know my kids and Joe will agree. 

A lot of the farm stays the same throughout the year, but there are also season-specific things like campfires and flashlight mazes in the fall. One of the staffers told us about these and said that the farm is really, really fun in the fall. We are for sure going to go back after our Niagara Falls trip in September.

I think we are going to have a new tradition, to go to Cherry Crest Adventure Farm the first week of July every year so that we can do the corn maze while it's short. That was my favorite part. As you might imagine, Allie's two favorites were Sproutsville and the chicks. Joe's favorite was the maze, and Grace's favorite was the pedal carts. I can't wait to hear what your favorites are! Share them in the comments below.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm Review - Lancaster, PA attraction for families and kids. Includes one of the best corn mazes in the US as well as many other attractions!

© 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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