Oct 5, 201207:44 AMDaily News
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Fall fun for the whole family
During the day, even the scariest of places can usually seem bright and welcoming.
For the Schopf brothers, they’re capitalizing on that fact with their latest endeavor: Corn Cob Acres.
As Jim and Gene Schopf celebrate the 20th anniversary of their first operation, Field of Screams, they also are operating and expanding Corn Cob Acres, which opened last fall. Tucked in the middle of the corn field—around which goes the terrifying Haunted Hayride of Field of Screams lore—is an open field full of children’s harvest activities. A cow-themed bounce house, pumpkin painting, a tractor ride and a host of other harvest-themed events litter the area and welcomes kids and families.
The brothers wanted to create a family event that families could spend a few hours enjoying rather than Field of Screams, which is aimed at terrifying adults. They had the infrastructure and resources, so they built Corn Cob Acres, which is opened during the day and closes before Field of Screams starts.
“We were careful to keep it completely separate from Field of Screams,” Jim Schopf said. “If you wouldn’t know about Field of Screams, you wouldn’t know you’re at Field of Screams. We originally thought we could have them (at the Field of Screams main area), but then you’re exposed to some of the scary stuff up here. We try to keep it completely separate.”
The only time the two overlap is on the children’s hayride, which drives through two scenes of the Haunted Hayride. But during the day there is little scary about these scenes—the graveyard and toxic waste dump—and Schopf insists there is nothing kids wouldn’t see trick-or-treating.
Corn Cob Acres has three parts: the Barnyard, the Wild West and the Pumpkin Patch. Each area includes activities based on its theme.
The Barnyard features a tractor climb, a hayride, a cornfield trail with activities throughout and a cow belly bounce, which is a bounce house designed like an upside-down cow. The hayride is comprised of cars designed like animals.
The Wild West includes a creepy house, pedal karts, a steer-roping station and giant sling shots that fire tennis balls at targets. Activities like the sling shots are fun for all ages, giving Corn Cob Acres a wide range of appeal.
The final section is the Pumpkin Patch, which allows families to buy their own pumpkins and paint them for free. They can also dress a scarecrow, play in a pumpkin-shaped playplace and toss jack-o-lantern bean bags.
The average time families can spend enjoying Corn Cob Acres is three hours, Schopf said. The interest was so high last year that it is now open Sundays in addition to Saturdays. Schopf hopes to some day have school classes or other groups visit and enjoy the attraction.
“Corn Cob Acres appeals to any age,” Gene Schopf said. “The (tennis ball) launcher, the creepy house, the pony hops—any ages for that. That 10-year-old age range is where they were maybe too young for (Field of Screams) but too old for (Corn Cob Acres). Now we have the whole gamut covered.”
Kurt Bopp is assistant editor/web for Central Penn Parent. He loves fall-themed activities like Corn Cob Acres as an adult as much as he did as a kid.