A corn maze or maize maze is a maze cut out of a corn field. They have become popular tourist attractions in North America, and a way for farms to create tourist income. Many are based on artistic designs such as characters from movies. Corn mazes actually began as formal garden mazes developed throughout Europe for the wealthiest castles and palaces to amuse kings and princesses. By the 19th century mazes became popular entertainment attractions in parks and public places. Corn mazes appear in many different designs. Some mazes are even created to tell stories or to portray a particular theme. Most have a path, which goes all around the whole pattern, either to end in the middle or to come back out again. In the United Kingdom, they are known as maize mazes ("corn" in British English is generally taken to refer to wheat, and "maize maze" has an attractive ring to it when spoken), and are especially popular with farms in the east of England. These mazes are normally combined with other farm attractions of interest to families and day trippers. Some of these attractions include hay rides, a petting zoo, play areas for children, and picnic areas. Each year a few of the mazes are featured in national newspapers and TV. In the U.S., corn mazes typically are cut down circa the first week of November.
The largest corn maze in the world is located in Dixon, California, and is 40 acres (160,000 m2) in area. The Guinness Book of World Records gave this designation in September, 2007.