About the Farm
Maris Farms in Buckley, WA has become synonymous with fall family fun and entertainment over the past 14 years. Core activities at East Pierce County’s favorite family destination include the 6+ acre corn maze, the 8+ acre u-pick pumpkin patch and the nighttime haunted attractions. Maris farms is known for appealing to all ages with its varied family activities, entertainment and food options throughout the month of October. Outside of those core events, the 40-acre farm boasts musical entertainment, pig races, (real) duck races, zip lines, an animal barn, pedal carts, a jump pillow, hayrides, pony rides, a mechanical bull and the kids’ courtyard – basically, a playground on steroids – for kids ages 10 and under. The corn maze often boasts a theme of some sort and has included tributes to firefighters, the farm life, the state quarter and Mount Rainier. The large pumpkin patch offers sizes and shapes and varieties galore to families visiting from near and far. And for those who love to be “freaked out,” there are the nighttime activites: the Haunted Woods is a 35+ minute walking adventure through a cornfield and forest with more scares and around-the -corner thrills than most humans’ emotional health can handle; the Monster Safari is a zombie-hunting, survival-shooting thrill ride, which takes folks through the woods and scary sets, in search of those walking dead targets. The bus is armed with mounted paintball guns; for those less inclined to be scared, but still wanting to experience a bit of a heart-pumping, there’s the flashlight (unhaunted) corn maze!
OPENING WEEKEND is Oct. 5th, 2013
From a Pumpkin Patch …
What started as a humble and quaint pumpkin patch has sprouted into a full-fledged “agritainment” destination for many thousands of Pierce County families. It serves patrons of all ages who seek the thrill of navigating their way through the 6+ acre corn maze, searching for and finding that perfect pumpkin in the 8+ acre pumpkin patch or braving the now infamous Harvest of Terror (Haunted Woods & Monster Safari).
For those wanting the more laid back, “farmish” type visit, there’s plenty of good food options, scenic hayrides around the pumpkin patch and an animal barn full of goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens and pigs; and for those with a bit more energy who are seeking the more adrenalin-driven activities, there’s pig races, the kids’ courtyard (an overgrown playground of sorts with about a dozen kids’ activities), a huge jumping pillow, monster truck rides, zip lines, mechanical bull riding, large tube slides, pumpkin and corn shooters and even entertainment.
“You should be able to come here and spend at least half a day enjoying any number of activities,” says Dale Maris, who dairied on the 40-acre location for 15+ years before selling his herd and turning it into what it is today. “There’s an activity for every age group and it’s as affordable and wholesome a form of family entertainment as you’ll find anywhere.”
Maris joined forces with his sister (Joanne Templeman), brother-in-law (Steve Templeman) and mother, Kay, to form a partnership – Maris Maze, LLC – in 2000. The first corn maze (a rendering of Mount Rainier) was all of 4 acres and sat in what is now one of three parking lots at Maris Farms. The Haunted Woods venue was added in 2003 and has grown into legendary scary status, now combining with a second nighttime attraction called the Monster Safari – a zombie-hunting, paintball-shooting bus tour through the woods. Together, they make up what’s known as the Harvest of Terror.
The corn ”stalk” market has since yielded back an incredible return on investment as the partnership has watched this humble little business grow as strong and as tall as the stalks that attract patrons each fall.
But it was very close to not happening, Maris remembers, after a little mishap during the trail carving of that first maze back in 2000. As he began carving that first pathway, the design instructions he had in his hands fell directly into the path of the lawn mower he was using to cut out the trail. And as the shreds of paper landed beside him in the knee-high field of cornstalks, he took a deep breath, called his maze designer and asked for another set of design instructions to be sent overnight.
“I knew it (this business) could be big, but I didn’t have a lot of hope after shredding that first set of design instructions,” Maris said. “Once the season got started though, and people were actually showing up to go through this thing, I realized we had something special.”
Part of The MAiZE Group of Farmers
Maris Farms is part of a larger organization known as The MAiZE , which has more than 250 mazes in the U.S., Canada, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom. Each MAiZE affiliate offers its own form of “agritainment” in its marketplace but the group shares ideas and advice in the areas of marketing/promotions, employee training, accounting, farming, maze cutting and several other areas necessary for a successful agritainment business. There is also instant name recognition and credibility connected to this organization. Since the introduction of its first location in 1996, MAiZE sites have drawn millions of visitors. Making a name for itself, The MAiZE has attracted the attention of newspapers, television and radio stations across the country-among them: Paul Harvey News, CNN, USA Today, The Today Show, Progressive Farmer, Time, Newsweek, National Geographic and Family Circle.
Locally, Maris Farms has been featured in the Enumclaw/Bonney Lake/Sumner Courier Heralds, The (Tacoma) News Tribune, Seattle Times, Seattle PI, KOMO TV and KING 5’s Evening Magazine. Nationally, Maris Farms has had air time on National Public Radio and on MSNBC.com.
The farm has long had great radio partners in KMPS, KPLZ, The WOLF and KISS 106.1 and those stations have been paramount in helping it grow. Look for them to be on location broadcasting this season. Dates and times tbd.
Please contact us for information on group trips, or obtain driving directions for a visit to the corn maze, pumpkin patch and/or haunted woods. Please check www.MarisFarms.com, www.HarvestofTerror.com or call 888-235-5439 for other event dates and times. Maris Farms is located in scenic east Pierce County about 3 miles west of Buckley, Washington, at 25001 Sumner-Buckley Highway.