WORTH THE DRIVE: Free fall fun awaits at corn maze and family farm

Credit: Schappacher Farms

Credit: Schappacher Farms

Butch Schappacher worked his Mason family farm with his parents and his own growing family for 30 years. They’ve been at their new location in Wilmington for four years, where they offer a variety of fun, family-friendly activities.

Corn Maze

The corn maze is eight acres. Unlike many other corn mazes, there are no shapes or designs cut into the maze. Indeed, Butch Schappacher found the idea amusing. “It looks great from the air, but once you’re inside the maze itself, you can’t see any of it. Yet people spend all this time and money on it.”

Schappacher described the maze as only moderately difficult, suitable for kids and adults.

“There are a lot of circles (dead ends),” he said. “You might have a little bit of a hard time but you won’t get lost.”

Pumpkin Hayride

A hayride will take you to a 12-acre pumpkin patch, where you can pick pumpkins right off the vine. Some wagons for hauling pumpkins are provided, but Schappacher encourages hardcore enthusiasts to bring their own. “We’re proud of the variety we have,” he said. “We have specialty pumpkins that are green, white, and red. People walk out with a type of pumpkin they didn’t know was out there. We have gourds and squash, too.”

Pumpkins are sold at 40 cents per pound. Individual giant pumpkin costs rarely exceed $25.

Farm Animals

The farm has three goats and three miniature donkeys. The animals are available for petting but not feeding. “We just had too many people either feeding them too much or feeding them the wrong thing,” Schappacher said.

Timmy the Train

Timmy the Train (which somewhat resembles the famous Thomas the Tank Engine) will pull a train of little ones around the farm. This activity costs $2 per child.

Fall Products

The farm sells several apple products, including cider, caramel, slushies, dumplings as well as apples themselves. You can also find fall decorations, jams, and jellies.

Other Activities

Schappacher Farms also offers a straw maze for kids, a pumpkin launcher ($1 for three shots), a corn box, bouncy cows, and a pumpkin-themed tic-tac-toe board.

Why Go?

Schappacher cited the farm’s affordability. “When I go out with my family, I hate being nickel-and-dimed,” he said. “So, I won’t do it, and if I ever get to that point, I’ll stop. There’s no admission charge, most of the events are free. We charge for the pumpkin launcher and Timmy only because I have to hire two people just to watch it.”

Best Time to Go?

Schappacher said Saturdays around noon are their busiest times. Crowds thin out around 4 p.m.

COVID Restrictions?

Masks are required inside but are optional outside, including on the hayride. There are social distancing signage and ground markings. Tables for eating are spaced out, and a special person has been hired just to regularly sanitize tables, wagons, and other surfaces. “We’re at 50 acres,” Schappacher said. “Everyone is pretty spread out.”

Places to Eat Nearby?

The farm is close to downtown Wilmington, which features several ethnic restaurants featuring Japanese, Mediterranean, and Mexican fare. There’s also a sub shop, a pizzeria, and Southern BBQ.

How to Go

What: Schappacher Farms

Where: 3068 SR 73, Wilmington

When: Through Oct. 31, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Saturdays-Sundays

Cost: Free admission. Charges for select activities and pumpkins.

More Info: www.schappacherfarms.com

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