PLANT CITY — Puzzle enthusiasts will once again get a chance to match wits with Hillsborough County’s first and only corn maze.
The Fox Squirrel Corn Maze, 3002 Charlie Taylor Road N., will return Oct. 12 and stay open Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 3. The maze will also be open Fridays via reservation — for field trips and groups of 20 or more — during that time.
Carson Futch, whose family owns the 300-acre ranch where the maze is located, hopes outdo last year, when the maze made its debut.
“It went very well, but we have a lot of new things planned for this year,” he said.
The maze itself, for example, is now five acres, which is one more than last year. There will also be pony rides, a petting zoo and a butterfly enclosure. Returning attractions from last year include the pumpkin patch and hay rides, as well as 15 vendors offering homemade jams, arts and crafts, and more.
The Futch family settled in Florida — less than 10 miles from the current property — after moving from Georgia in 1845. During the 1920s and 1930s, they acquired 2,000 acres and developed it into their cattle and citrus ranch. The founder’s son, Alvin Futch, bought the business in 1972, and the Futch family still operates a portion of the original ranch.
Carson said he and siblings Janet and Wayne came up with the idea to do a corn maze.
“We were all brainstorming ideas about how to raise awareness and income for our farm, and also raise awareness for agriculture in general,” he said. The trio researched similar mazes in Gainesville, Micanopy and Apopka.
“Our target audience is definitely families with young children,” Carson said. “We had a good turnout last year, and we’re looking for more of the same this time.”