Mesilla Valley Maze opens fall 2020 season with limited attractions


Available attractions at the Mesilla Valley Maze are limited this year. Image courtesy of Mesilla Valley Maze on Facebook.

The Mesilla Valley Maze isn’t what it used to be—gone is the maze, gone are the hayrides and gone are the games.

Because of setbacks that resulted from the pandemic, Ana Lyles, owner of the Mesilla Valley Maze on 3855 W Picacho Ave, said the corn maze looks different this fall in comparison to previous fall seasons.

“We had to reinvent the maze this year due to COVID-19,” Lyles said. “We planned this back in June, and back in June everything was shut down, so we weren’t able to plant the corn, and more importantly we weren’t able hire the 100 plus people we bring on every season.”

This year, the Mesilla Valley Maze offers a sizeable area to take family pictures and has locally made goods and a variety of pumpkins available to sell at their Country Store & Pumpkin Junction.

Some attractions that are unavailable this year include the corn maze, the orange tire mountain, the duck race, resting areas, the hayride to the pumpkin patch, the slide and the school field trips.

NMSU graduate Samuel Wong said he has enjoyed spending time at the maze with his family throughout the past few years.

“I always think about this one moment in time when me and my two kids along with my brother and his three kids were climbing the tires together.” said Wong. “We’ve been coming here the last 7 years because it’s the moments like that that make us return every year.”

One of the Mesilla Valley Maze’s biggest attractions is the School Tours, as this program would bring up to 1,500 school-aged children to the maze each day from all over the area.

Joana Salopek is the head of the Mesilla Valley Maze School Tours program and the store manager for the Country Store & Pumpkin Junction. Salopek said there were plans to teach students about pecan trees and the pecan business in Las Cruces this year.

“We were going to teach the kids about sunflowers and pecan trees this year. With Las Cruces being one of the biggest growers of pecans in the nation, we feel like it’s important to teach the kids about pecan trees and what it brings to our community,” Salopek said. “Now we can’t do that this year.”

The Maze’s School Tours program provided field trips for kindergarten through 5th grade that met standards and benchmarks for Common Core and TEKS for both the New Mexico and Texas Departments of Education.

Due to COVID-19 public health orders, group gatherings of more than 10 people are not permitted in New Mexico and some elementary schools are offering limited in-person instruction while others continue instruction through distance learning.

In past seasons, Salopek said, schools from El Paso and around New Mexico would visit the maze for field trips.

“We’d get all schools from El Paso to as far as Alamogordo to come out. We also like to make sure each kid goes home with something in their hands. At the end of the day, that’s why we’re here—we do this for the kids,” said Salopek, an agricultural science graduate from the University of New Mexico.

The Mesilla Valley Maze is open from Friday to Sunday and their hours of operation are 11a.m. to 7 p.m.

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