This year’s fall attractions at Leatherberry Acres pay homage to Baraboo’s circus heritage and wayward elephants.
The 12-acre corn maze and pumpkin patch, located off Sauk County Highway A north of Baraboo, features a 200-foot zip line, a petting zoo and an air-powered cannon that launches pumpkins hundreds of feet through the air.
This season’s corn labyrinth depicts Circus World’s big top tent, elephants and clowns. A five-acre sunflower maze cut in the shape of an elephant also was added this year.
Leatherberry Acres owners Tyler and Karalee Leatherberry said the designs were inspired by Bill Johnsen’s photography from Circus World. They said Kelly, the elephant who escaped from the museum in July and strolled through town, also served as a source of inspiration.
“We want to bounce around Baraboo every year and draw more attention to Baraboo,” Karalee said. “Then the elephant got loose in town, so I figured let’s do the elephant.”
Tyler said this was the first year he and Karalee designed and cut the corn maze on their own. Karalee said she began the process by creating a collage of several photos. She then sketched a design and uploaded it onto a computer.
“I take a whole bunch of pictures and put a collage down, fiddle around with it, and then I draw it all out,” she said. “It’s very complicated because you have to plot it out on a grid.”
After Karalee finished the design, Tyler took the GPS coordinates from the computer program and plotted them in the corn field on his four-wheeler. He cut the paths in July when the corn was only a few feet high.
“I still take the drone out and watch him because I’m paranoid,” Karalee said.
In addition to exploring the corn and sunflower mazes, visitors can enjoy an expanded petting zoo, wagon rides, giant chute slides, a hay bale jungle gym and more. Tyler said the petting zoo will feature miniature ponies, baby horses, rabbits, pigs, goats and other critters.
Leatherberry Acres also is rolling out several new games. Kids can learn to identify farm animal tracks in one activity or go on a treasure hunt in the corn maze. Families also can test their luck at the Leatherberry’s five for 50 game.
The contest allows visitors to select a pumpkin to launch from the air-powered cannon at a parked van for $5. If the fruit connects with the vehicle, the winner gets a $50 payout. Tyler and Karalee said at least eight families won last year. Visitors also may shoot the cannon recreationally for $3.
The corn maze and pumpkin patch officially open Sep. 22. Other attractions are open on Wednesdays and weekends.
In three years of owning and operating Leatherberry Acres, both Karalee and Tyler said their favorite part has been watching families interact and have fun together.
“I just want people to come out here and have a good time,” Tyler said.