GC: Get lost at Rocky Creek Maze

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

Sept. 30, 2011 at 4:30 a.m.

If Mother Nature is feeling generous, then the Rocky Creek Maze at the Chaloupka Farm in Moulton will be up and running October through November.

"It's very weather-dependent," said Elyse Chaloupka, one of the farm owners. "We start planting the corn in the middle of August. And depending on the rain we get, we'll start cutting trails and preparing the maze up through October."

The Chaloupka Farm is a family-raised farm and has been passed from one generation to the next in the family for 100 years. The corn maze is one of the newer aspects of the farm, approaching its fifth year.

"It's a form of family entertainment. It is an eight-acre corn maze with a design cut out of it. We've already decided on the design this year, but we're not telling," she said in a phone interview in July. "It's going to be a surprise."

Eight acres is equivalent to roughly eight football fields put together. That could be daunting considering the maze's trail is cut from field corn, which can grow 5- to 7-feet tall. But don't let that discourage you. The Chaloupka family has implemented several systems to make sure you make it out and have a good time while doing it.LOST, THEN FOUND

"Every time that you come to a decision point in the maze, whether to go left or right or straight, we have a couple of things to help you," she explained. A passport, which is a sheet that has several questions on it based on a particular subject, can help guests navigate through the maze by hinting which direction to take.

Another one utilizes a little technology to get you pointed in the right direction.

"Last year, we did this, but it's something new, and it's called corn texting. When you get to a numbered point, you can text to a number, and they will text you back a clue."

There are two trails in the maze that can range from 10 to 30 minutes to complete the shorter of the two, and 15 minutes to 1 hour for the longer trail.

On top of incorporating technology and agriculture, the farm has other features to keep everyone entertained.

"We also have hay rides; a corn cannon, where they can shoot ears of corn at targets; a giant jumping pillow; some mini-mazes; and a butterfly garden. Right now, we're also getting ready to build a new pavilion for additional seating," she said.PLANTING AGRI-TAINMENT

The Chaloupka family farm started designing and cutting trails in their corn field in 2007.

Chaloupka said her husband saw an article in a co-op publication about the maze done in Hondo.

"At the time, a lot of dairy farms were struggling, and so we thought it would be a good way to produce some additional revenue for the farm," she said.

Designing an eight-acre corn maze is a group effort for the farmers.

"We'll get together and try to decide what kind of design we want for the maze," she said. "In the past years, we've tried to find a way to have fun and think about agriculture."

The first year's design was "Farming in Texas, The Lone Star State," and last year's theme was "Udderly Fresh," complete with a cutout of a dairy cow, tractor and barn that can all be viewed from above.HAUNTED TRAIL

Adjacent to the fall-festive corn maze, the Chaloupka Farm hosts a Haunted Trail during the latter half of October, right around Halloween.

"Every year, we try to make it something different. The haunted trail is a separate trail that we do at night, and we get help from the local high school drama students," she said. "They're in there haunting and scaring people."



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