* Prices may differ from that shown
A few weeks ago we decided to take the children to York Maze. I've been meaning to take them for a few years now, but keep missing the 8 week summer period somehow. York Maze is very much a seasonal attraction and so you do need to visit in the six weeks holidays if you have children. There are other seasonal opening periods around Halloween and Bonfire night, too.
The award winning attraction is an absolutely fantastic day out and we had so much fun. The children fell asleep within minutes in the car and even I was a little zapped driving home down the A64!
The main attraction is most obviously the giant 'Maize maze'. We tried to leave this until later in the day, as there were so many little things to do on the way to the maze that the girls would most likely have just nagged all the way around the maze anyway. The maze changes each year and from an aerial view always follows a theme. This year was a Dr Who theme, and when you see an aerial picture of the ginormous maze, it's amazing to see what can be made from corn! The maze each year is made from over 1 million maize plants and covers an area larger than 10 Wembley football pitches! It will take around an hour to navigate around the maze, filling in a card along the way you will make your way to each of the towers (I think there were 6) and get a code from each tower. Once you have completed the code and made your way out of the maze, there is a hatch which can only be opened with the correct code being punched into a code type lock. Once opened you pop your answer sheet inside with your child's name and address on to be entered into a prize draw. Now I can't actually remember what the prize was, but I'm guessing it was a family ticket to return.
I did have concerns about the children running off inside the maze and being lost forever, but there are dedicated 'searchers' patrolling the maze looking for lost souls (their words not mine!). You can also buy a map with a compass which comes in a sealed envelope, however we gave this to our girls on entry and they absolutely loved it, so for £1.50 I'd say buy one for smaller children, it will only add to the fun.
Kernel Kernels House of Cornfusion:
This was new for the 2013 season and was great fun. Enter the Kernels house and be utterly confused from start to finish with rooms shrinking, falling over and one even being upside down.
This is meant to be one of the most popular 'rides' of the attraction, but I have to say I thought it was shocking! I thought it was simply a ride on a tractor, how wrong was I. After settling into the ride, you soon realise it's a water ride and you're going to get very wet. This wasn't a problem at all, despite it being a fairly over cast day, but half way along the ride you come across a real life scarecrow, who takes you through his rehearsed lines of how he is going to get those pesky crows, etc, etc. Even the kids weren't that impressed and it seemed to go on forever. I think the ride probably lasted around 20 minutes, and added to the fact that we were being soaked, I really didn't like this ride!
Basically a ginormous bouncy castles with slides and an in built obstacle course, queues seemed bad for this so the girls opted to have 3 slides down the tall bouncy castle slide instead.
Sand and water play:
Instead of a big playground, York Maze has a massive sand pit instead filled with wooden cranes and pulleys which the children must work out. This really is great fun and the children could spend ages here. It's also within sight of the café terrace so older children can be left and viewed from here to give parents a coffee break if they wish.
Such a simple concept but oh so fun! Basically a giant bale pyramid, with a fab view at the top. Great fun!
The Maze of Illusions:
This involved reading about famous illusions, and with so much to see and do my girls (5 and 7) lost interest a little in this maze once we'd got passed the distorting mirrors. Perhaps aimed more at older children.
Crazy Mazy Golf:
This was ace, but took a while to complete as there were people in front of us. It made my day when I watched a man with a proper golf swing give up his attempts at one hole in particular, only to watch my 5 year old daughter get a hole in one on her first attempt! I rather embarrassingly screamed 'she did it'! It is advertised as being in and amongst the maze, but it wasn't when we went so perhaps this has changed each year now.
The Jumping Pillow:
It doesn't get simpler than a huge inflatable trampoline, but the fun is endless. Split into age group sessions, it's not as chaotic as it sounds!
The Climbing Zone:
A huge wooden frame with nets underneath is a great challenge for little ones as they balance on the beams and cross the beams set at different heights and angles.
Coin operated, I was of the thought that we had spent enough going to attraction without putting money in the quads, plus the queue was ginormous!
Maize Field Farm:
Meet the goats, sheep, pigs, chickens and cows. There are set times each day when the children can also get involved in the feeding of the animals. Great fun!
Yep, you read it right, pig.... Racing! Held 3 times a day, you can buy a badge to support your favourite pig, watch it win and you'll be invited into the 'weaners' enclosure to receive a winners medal.
Giant Lego. Enough said!
Giant Mural Painting:
This was so much fun! The children can colour in corn cobs, tractors, cows and flowers on the ginormous mural with enough room for 30 / 40 children to get messy with the paint.
There is plenty on offer, but we stopped off on the way at M & S and had a posh picnic on one of the many benches. There is a coffee shop with fresh food, and an outdoor BBQ. Yum! Prices looked reasonable too.
Unfortunately York Maze closes for the summer on Monday 2nd September.
Open 7 days a week 10am until 6.30pm (Last Admission 4.30pm).
If you are able, do book online beforehand. You can print your booking slip or simply show the confirmation email on your phone. You will generally save about 10% doing it this way. It will pay for a few ice creams : )
On the Gate / Online discount
Adult £11.50 £10.50
Senior £11.00 £10.00
Child (3 to 15) £10.50 £9.50
Family of 4 - 2 Adults & 2 Children, or 1 Adult & 3 Children £42.00 £37.00
Family of 5 - 2 Adults & 3 Children, or 1 Adult & 4 Children £52.00 £45.75
Family of 6 - 2 Adults & 4 Children, or 1 Adult & 5 Children £62.00 £54.50
Under 3's go Free
Disabled Free ( Carers Pay)
Groups of 10+ £1 Discount off the Gate Price
Season tickets are also available, but don't forget they only open for a short amount of time, so are probably only realistic if you are fairly local: Adult Season Ticket £27.50, OAP Season Ticket £25.00, Child Season Ticket £22.50.
Other events to look out for:
Halloween 'by day' - Saturday 26th October to Saturday 2nd November.
Hallowscream 'by night' - 18th, 19th, 25th, 26th, 31st October, 1st and 2nd November.
Firework Spectacular - 5th November (4pm till 10.30pm).
Finding the Maze:
It's clearly signposted, but adding the post code YO19 5LT takes you directly to the attraction.
This attraction is a must visit, not just for locals. We travelled about an hour to get there and it was well worth it. With the exception of the Crowmania ride it was excellent and the girls were so tired out. I love interactive days out but it was so nice to just spend the day outdoors without the need of electronics to make things look cool. Good old fashioned fun.
We went to York Maze on 01/08/2012, they had warned on their website that the maze hadn't grown to its full potential this year and in some places it was only knee high so we weren't expecting it to be that good. However we'd never been to one of these mazes before so didn't have anything to compare it to in the first place. We payed £9.95 to get in and our little girl(2 1/2 years old) got in free. I can honestly say this was one of the best value and most fun days out we've had in a long while. We arrived at 11am expecting to only be ther for a few hours but before long it was 5pm and we were still having fun, we only left because we had otherr plans that evening. Inside you have the maze itself, which they run a competition if you find all the answers throughout the maze you get put into a prize draw to win tickets to there bonfire night show. It took us approximately 30mins to do the maze but like I said the corn hadn't grown full size so we could see over it in some places. Then they have inflatable slides, and obstacle course. They have a ride in which you sit on the back of a big tractor and are supposed to scare the scarecrows away(warning you will get wet on the ride), mini golf, field of illusions, pig races and so much more. Our little girl had so much fun and so did we. The food wasn't too Bradley priced(about £6 for burger and chips)but if you wanted to make it cheaper they have plenty of picnic tables so you can bring your own food. I will definatly be visiting again and would reccomend it to anyone with children who want a good value day out.
*I wasn't really sure what category to class the York Maze in, so apologies if you think it's in the wrong section, however I think by the end of the review, you'll agree that 'theme park' is a pretty acceptable description of the place itself.*
Using over one and a half million maize plants, it is considered to be the biggest maze in the world. Each year they create the maze based on a theme - this year it's a spaceman, last year it was the statue of liberty and the year before it was 007 and his Aston Martin. They plant the maize in May, cut the paths in June and open it to the public in July before harvesting it in September, so there is pretty tight window for visiting but it is worth it.
As you enter the complex you'll receive a card that allows entry into the competition and you're offered a map and compass for £1.50. These come in an envelope that can be returned for a full refund if it is unopened and undamaged. We resisted temptation and completed the maze without assistance, although we kept the envelope as they make pretty funky souvenirs. There were plenty of children (and adults!) enjoying the 'Indiana Jones' feeling of wandering around with a compass in front of them and although I suspect very few of them knew what they were doing with it, they seemed to be having a whale of a time!
There are five giant posts in the maze which each have questions on them. The idea is that you fill the answers in on your entry card and by the time you finish, you'll have a code that opens a box at the end, where you can post you entry to win a prize. I'm not sure what the prize was - as two adults we felt it unsporting to enter the competition - however we did enter the code just to make sure we were right!
The maize is at least six feet high this year (in the past when we've been it hasn't been as high) which makes it a real challenge for kids and adults alike and there are a couple of viewing platforms to help you plot a route through the maze. It took us about an hour to complete it, but they suggest that it will take about an hour and a half (how smug were we?!) and the ground is pretty smooth as the paths are well trodden by now. It is worth bearing in mind that we went on a lovely sunny day so the conditions were good and people were managing very well with small children and push chairs, however it is a field after all and so rainy weather will probably make it a much more challenging and less fun experience.
Aside from the maze, there are plenty of other attractions that will make the trip a day out rather than just a couple of hours' fun. The maze of illusions is a much smaller maze that is filled with huge boards featuring optical illusions, brain games and crazy mirrors. There are plenty that you'll have seen before and some that you haven't. The adults will enjoy the mirrors as much as the kids - especially the one that makes you look like a super-skinny, super-leggy supermodel! More than once I heard women declare that they wondered if they could get one like that fitted in their houses!
There's also a huge bouncy castle, a very intricate climbing frame (that was absolutely swarming with children hollering about what little daredevils they were!), giant games (including the buzzer wire, connect four and Tic Tac Toe), an inflatable tunnel maze and a huge bale mountain for climbing on. These attractions are all included in the entry price, although there are others that you pay for including Crazy Mazy Golf (!), a quad bike racing track and a thing called Water Wars, which basically involved two players catapulting water balloons at each other. It looked like a lot of fun, but not something to do if it's not very warm!
There's also a small petting zoo, as the maze is a working farm and it's here that I found the most hilarious thing in the whole wide world ever. You're about to find out the reason for my title! As you enter the petting zoo area, there is a huge sign that invites you to watch the a-maze-ing (d'ya geddit?!) racing pigs! Now, if you're like me, you'd have thought that pigs were pretty lazy things that spend all day eating and sitting in mud. Well think again! These little creatures are bona fide racing pigs! Basically, there's a pig pen that has a small, round track leading off it in a loop. At the start of every hour a man stands at the gate with a bucket of food and the pigs go wild. They each have a different colour blob on their back, so you pick a pig, the horn sounds, the gate is opened and the man bolts off, at break-neck speed, around the track and the little trottered racers stampede after him! Honestly, you have to see it to believe it. I was in stitches the whole time. Grown men were stood around the track with their children willing on their chosen pig at the tops of their voices - it was like being in a bookies or something! It really was so much fun.
Straight after the pig racing, it's feeding time and you get to feed the other animals (bulls, cows and giant pigs - although not the racing ones of course!) with the maize. This is also quite fun and everyone seemed to enjoy the experience.
So, as you can probably tell, I personally think that you'd fail to have fun at York Maze - there really is something for everyone, its fantastic value for money and there is a lot of fun to be had. The only thing left for me to tell you is the small print:
Location - Its ten minutes out of the city centre by car, on Elvington Lane. There's plenty of on-site parking.
Price - £7.95 for adults, £6.95 for children and £7.45 for OAPs. You can get a family ticket for £28 and a family season ticket (valid for unlimited number of visits) for £65. Under 3s go free and groups of ten or more get a 50p per person discount. They accepted cash and cards.
Facilities - There's plenty of shops and eateries including an outdoor BBQ, ice cream shops and cafes as well as a gift shop, toilets and plenty of areas for picnics.
Opening times - Its open seven days a week from 10am until 6.30pm (last entry in 4.30pm) and it's open from 18th July until 6th September.
Events - They have a vast array of events throughout the season from naked maze day to torchlight maze trips and from dog shows to sweet corn eating competitions. Full details can be found on the website.
I think I've covered everything, but if there's something I've missed, they have a pretty good website - www.yorkmaze.com.
Try your luck out in the corn patch. Don't get lost on the way out!