Few things whisper “summer” like getting lost in a field of sunflowers, and for the first time, families can do it at Eckert’s Farms in Belleville, Illinois.
Eckert’s has announced its first ever 5-acre Sunflower Maze, which will have visitors meandering along dusty paths lined by towering sunflowers. Visitors can view the field for $1; admission to explore the maze is an additional $2 per person.
The Sunflower Maze, which is similar to a corn maze, is designed to encourage families to work together, strengthen their navigation and problem-solving skills and spend a little time exploring nature and learning more about sunflowers. The maze will be open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-through Sundays, coinciding with pick-your-own vegetables, and takes less than half an hour to complete. It is expected to be available for four to six weeks.
Eckert’s Belleville Farm is located at 951 S. Greenmount Rd., Belleville, IL. The farm is also home to a restaurant and frozen custard shop.
Summer will also linger a bit longer at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area near Spanish Lake this year thanks to a new sunflower planting schedule. The Missouri Department of Conservation usually plants 14 fields in the conservation area in early May as part of a dove management regiment. The fields, which have become a popular spot for photos, usually begin blooming in early July and last for about 10 days.
This year MDC has planted additional plots, many of which are close to the visitor center, and staggered the timing of the plantings to spread the blooming periods over a longer timeframe; sunflowers are expected to be in bloom at the conservation area through mid-August. The area will be open from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour past sunset, allowing visitors plenty of opportunities to take “sunflower selfies” at peak times of day.