Feeling up to a petal-powered challenge? You can test your navigational prowess amid a bright sea of sunflower blooms creating mazes at locations across the region. Many of the destinations offer farm-fresh wares and additional activities for family members of every age.
Straddle Creek Gardens
25269 Locust Road, Lanark
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through July 26
$7, free for children age 5 and younger
Visitors are welcome to bring drinks, take photos and walk around the sunflower maze at their leisure. The maze is a bit of a walk and offers fun clues to move you in the right direction. In addition, guests can feed goats and cut flowers to take home. People are asked to practice social distancing and wear closed-toed shoes.
Von Bergen's Country Market
9805 Route 173, Hebron
Daily 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., weather permitting
$5 per person, free for children younger than 3
Von Bergen’s Country Market will show off three sunflower mazes this year, blooming at separate times throughout the season. Each will last about two weeks. The first began mid-July, the second will peak in August, and the third in the fall. The maze will be closed if it is raining.
Masks are required in the market, but not outdoors if social distancing is practiced. Only service animals are permitted.
The country market sells farm-fresh vegetables, fruit, CBD tinctures made from their own hemp, baked goods, cheese, bacon, eggs, honey and local artisan products. There is also a play area, farm animals and new this year, a butterfly house.
Matthiessen State Park
Next to the remote-control-airplane field, 913 Route 71, Oglesby
Dawn to dusk daily through early August
Sunflowers bloom next to the takeoff and landing field for remote-control airplanes at Matthiessen State Park from mid-July through the first week of August.
Professional photographers who sell their photography or schedule photo shoots at the park are required by the state to complete an activity permit and a permit to sell, and submit them to the park office at Starved Rock no later than 21 days before their arrival to film or photograph. Forms can be emailed to DNR.StarvedRock@illinois.gov.
M&D Farms and Garden Center
14946 S. Bell Road, Homer Glen
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays, starting in August
M&D Farms and Garden Center sells flowers, plants, produce, perennial flowers, hanging baskets, raw honey and other wares. The sunflower field is scheduled to open in August.
Heap’s Giant Pumpkin Farm
4853 Highway 52, Minooka
2 to 7 p.m. Fridays, Sept. 4 and 11; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturdays, Sept. 5 and 12, and Sundays, Sept. 6 and 13
$15 daily pass; $22 two-day pass; $35 unlimited pass
During the two-weekend Sunflower Harvest event, visit over 5 acres of sunflowers, take photos, cut flowers to take home and enjoy all the other activities on the farm. New this year is a zinnia patch.
Admission includes access to the sunflower patch, corn maze, soybean maze, one bloom per day, Milo’s Castle Playground and Heaps O’ Fun Barn Playground. Visitors also can spend time with farm animals, including goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys, a calf, a donkey, sheep and a miniature horse.
The pumpkin patch will not be open until Sept. 12. Hay rides to the pumpkin patch will not begin until Sept. 19, but pre-picked produce will be available. Additional flowers can be purchased, and a photographer can be hired.