The giant corn maze and other attractions are open at the farm off Interstate 205 in Lathrop northeast of Tracy, and will entertain visitors until Halloween, which this year falls on a Wednesday.
A harrowing haunted castle and a high-velocity pneumatic pumpkin blaster await those who visit, in addition to a maze that co-owner Susan Dell’Osso said has reached a new level of difficulty.
“It’s the hardest, most challenging maze in terms of getting lost” she said of the showpiece built on 25 acres of cornfield.
Work for the maze began in April, and the field was planted in July.
This year’s maze design features a pair of silos, the city of Lathrop logo and a witch flying over pumpkins. It also has platforms so visitors can get a view above the tops of the corn rows.
New this year, Dell’Osso said, is a wildly gyrating 4-foot pumpkin — a fiberglass Jack-o-lantern crossed with a mechanical bull.
“It’s a riot to watch — you can’t stay on it,” Dell’Osso said.
A safety switch stops the pumpkin if a rider is thrown off.
The haunted house this year has been reincarnated as a bewitched castle, brought to ghoulish life by all-new props and a cast of actors.
Dell’Osso warned that the haunted castle might be too frightening for small children to go through.
For those youngsters, weekends feature tea with the pumpkin princess, an event that will host 40 children younger than 5 at a time.
Fun for all ages includes the pumpkin blaster — a pneumatic cannon that launches gourds at a variety of targets.
Also returning this year are the train ride, tractor ride, zip lines, an aerial rope course, gem mining, petting zoo and a spinning pumpkin ride.
The country store, which features Halloween-themed items and food, will also be open along with the maze.
In 2011, the corn maze complex attracted more than 175,000 visitors, Dell’Osso said.
The farm opens seven days a week at 10 a.m., with gates closing daily at 8 p.m. and attractions closing at 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekends.
Some attractions have different closing times during the week and may not run during rainy weather.
Admission to the picnic grounds, pedal car track, tire pyramid and hay ride are free.
For a full schedule and prices for the different events and attractions, visit www.pumpkinmaze.com/home.html.