Joe and Dianne Fetzer are celebrating the opening of their seasonal River Maze for its 14th season of operation.
Starting in the late 1990s, the Fetzers had the idea to start a corn maze. Both grew up in the agriculture industry and saw a story about a corn maze on a farm in Indiana. The couple traveled to the Hoosier State to find a fall activity ripe for the picking, complete with pumpkin patches, apple orchards and the maze.
So, Joe and Dianne set out to create their own attraction. Working with a company that assists in the design and creation of these mazes, Joe and Dianne opened with a layout modeled after Tennessee’s watershed map. They opened for the first time in 2005, and have been growing ever since.
Now in its 14th season, River Maze is calling back to its roots and recreating the watershed maze with the addition of “Trek Thru Truth,” Bradley County’s up and coming children’s Bible museum, as well as outlines of animals familiar to Tennesseans, like a raccoon and Mockingbird.
The River Maze will return with a series of games and activities, including the beloved Flume Zoom slide, a jump pad and the maze’s Raccoon Rollers.
Joe and Dianne are excited to introduce their two new escape rooms to the public this year. One room tells the story of a copper hauler mistaking copper for gold, hiding the precious metal for participants to find. The second is a fun, quirky escape room where escapists are on the hunt for a bear and must work to find the unconventional method of keeping it at bay.
As always, the couple is not only opening their maze to the public, but for school groups as well.
Joe explained he intends to expand the educational programs the maze has to offer, particularly with showing students the process of shelling corn and making corn meal.
The Fetzers said they have several projects in the works, and that adding new items to the maze is a constant work in progress.
“People come here for any number of reasons. For the beauty, the education. Overall, the valley is a wonderful area, and we really hope to make the maze a premier destination,” he said.
Starting this weekend, the maze is open to the public Friday, 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sundays, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Field trips can be scheduled throughout the week by calling the River Maze at (423) 650-0710.