Fright and Delight Between the Rows: A Review of Indiana Fields of Fear and Exploration Acres
On the outskirts of Lafayette down country roads bordered by corn is a particular farm that, come October, is host to Exploration Acres. During the day it is a hub of fall-themed family fun with pumpkin patches, hayrides, and Northwest Indiana’s largest corn maze. But come dusk the corn grows sinister as Indiana Fields of Fear, a corn maze based haunted attraction, opens to a more terror-oriented crowd.
As you enter the gates of Exploration Acres it is immediately apparent that this fall carnival is more than just its scare-fueled maze; it also offers an autumn-centric experience to celebrate the season. Among its quaint attractions are a pumpkin race track, a straw bale tunnel, a pedal car track, and hayrides. Guests, for an additional fee, can also rent a fire pit, take a pony ride, and pick pumpkins for $.30 a pound. The main draw of the farm is undoubtedly its elaborate, 18 acre corn maze which is designed around a theme. This year’s is a tribute to American patriotism, highlighting national monuments and symbols. With over 8 total miles of paths, the massive maze can be tackled in segments with checkpoints scattered throughout it. At each checkpoint is a booth of a local business that, upon arrival, stamps your map for coupons to that business. Though this reward system is a nice treat, it is the sheer awe the maze inspires and the strategy necessary to work your way out that makes it such a unique experience. For those wanting to make the most of what Exploration Acres has to offer, I highly recommend arriving in the afternoon, well before Fields of Fear opens its gates, as there is just not enough time to complete much of anything in addition to Fields of Fear if you arrive after dusk.
Though this is probably dependent on the day you go, the line for the haunted corn maze was substantial. My party and I waited for over two hours. Despite this, my group and I all agreed that while the wait was frustrating, the attraction, which is traveled at your own pace, was mostly worth it. Though I wished that some of the actors had been better camouflaged in the corn, the haunt makes good use of its location and natural elements like the wind to create fear. Jump scares are well utilized and distractions occasionally draw your eye and leave you vulnerable. Those actors sneaking up from behind could have been more discreet, but they were still unnerving. While it wasn’t a high-intensity haunt by any means, my group often found ourselves jumping and being startled. By the end we, even those who were slightly reluctant to go in, were all left giggling and in agreement that it had been a fun and engaging experience.
Overall a trip to Exploration Acres is something to make a day out of, with Indiana Fields of Fear and even a night trek through the mazes adding a creepy factor to the experience. The mazes are impressively detailed and wide enough to be wheelchair friendly – and the haunt, while it may not satisfy those seeking a high pressure and terrifying journey, is enjoyable and a fun Halloween experience. Exploration Acres is open through October 27th on Thursdays through Sundays with varying times and prices. Indiana Fields of Fear opens at dusk, around 7:30 pm, and runs through October 26th on Fridays and Saturdays for an additional $8. Detailed information can be found on their website.