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It's Piggin' Good Fun!
York Maze (York)
Member Name: dkm1981
York Maze (York)
Advantages: Lots to do, great fun, reasonable price.
Disadvantages: Not great if the weather isn't too good.
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.
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