Driving slowly down the gravel driveway, four children raced out to greet me. I was so excited to find out the magic behind the Bozeman Maze. Dale Mandeville began his hay-maze dreams in 1998, just having returned home from an internship—in none other than the engineering field. One could have probably guessed his occupation by the amount of planning and accuracy he has in his ever-changing maze designs. Having some space on his parents’ land, he wanted to do something fun. His parents had a pumpkin patch just off of Redwing Lane, just north of where the maze is now located. That fall after his internship, he decided to throw together a makeshift maze. It wasn’t anything special or crazy, but it was still a huge hit with the community. The following year, Dale’s Maze was far more popular than the pumpkins—and so it all began.

As a huge fan of his previous mazes, I realized it had to be a ton of work to do something like this every year, and have it more exciting every fall. I asked him if he does it all himself or if he recruits the kids. “It is all family and a few friends who put this thing together every year,” Dale said while keeping an eye on the kids. You could tell his family was close when his Grandma Donna came to see how things were going as we chatted. The planning that goes into this is beyond your evening project. It takes about 150 man-hours and over 3500 bales which come from a local farmer who drops them off in stacks. As for the actual maze and being open to the public,  “This year we had to turn it into a business and hire a few people,” Dale said. “Last year was so busy, even with all of the help from family.”

The Maze will feature much more than just some frustrating fun—it will provide hours of entertainment for the whole family, on a whole family budget. This maze has expanded to include several fun activities: the PowerJump Bungee Trampoline, mini-train rides, the corn box (picture a giant sandbox full of dried corn), puzzle mazes, and pumpkins. Some of these items may require separate ticket purchases, but the regular admission is $7 per person and children four and under are free with an adult. Discounts and groups rate are available for 10 or more people and for families of six or more.

After realizing the amount of work it takes to do this from the original drawings to the deliveries of the bales and building the maze, I asked Dale about why he continues to do it. “I just love seeing all the smiling faces… and the enjoyable frustration to thousands.”

Hours of operation:

Fridays 5:00-8:30 PM

Saturdays 10:00-8:30PM

Sundays 12:00 PM-6:00PM

For more info check out www.bozemanmaze.com and www.Facebook.com/BozemanMaze

Big thank you to Sarah Notarius of Notarius Photography for the great aerial photograph!