During the work week, you may be doomed to traffic congestion and crowds in the downtown core, but you don’t have to go far for a reprieve.

Saunders Farm may be a popular destination come Halloween season, but it has lots to offer during the summer season as well.

Located in the village of Munster within the city of Ottawa, the family-owned farm gets tens of thousands of visitors a year, making it arguably the city’s most popular non-government attraction.

“We’re a bit of an institution in Ottawa,” said Mark Saunders, owner of — “and director of fun” at — Saunders Farm.

“What really excites us is how people love the farm, and when they have friends coming in, they bring them here.

“We’re one of those local flavour things people really seek out.”

Its location and family- and date-friendly activities make it a popular destination for local day-trippers.

“We get a lot of people from the city and the suburbs,” said Saunders. “We’re very green and we’ve got a lot of space and fresh air. Summertime is a great time to bring a picnic. And it’s different from city parks because we’ve got so many activities here and you get lots of exercise and have fun while you do it.”

While the farm is popular for its mazes and labyrinths — they have 11, ranging from 10-minute mazes for kids to 35-minute mazes that measure a mile to the centre — there are also play structures, tree houses, splash pads and an observation tower.

For the more relaxed, there’s also a shop featuring gourmet farm goods and Adirondack chairs to kick back and enjoy the surroundings in, Saunders said.

But there really is something for everyone, Saunders said.

“We get families and grandparents and teens and 20-somethings coming out,” he said. “Everyone becomes a big kid when they come here.”

But the mazes, which are designed by Saunders’ father and farm founder Bill Saunders and world-renowned maze designer Adrian Fisher, are what bring the people in.

This year, Saunders Farm is introducing its Flashlight Maze Craze.

“We had a lot of people asking if we were open at night,” Saunders said. “We’re going to have a big campfire going and a barbecue, s’mores, glowsticks and some music. And when it gets darker, people can use flashlights and explore the mazes.”

Saunders has no doubt the event, which is geared more towards adults, will be a success.
“There’s no doubt people will be scaring each other,” he chuckled.

If you want to go...
• The Flashlight Maze Craze happens tomorrow and Friday, Aug. 14 from 7-10 p.m.
• Price is $12.99 per person or $48 for a family of four.
• Bring your own flashlight.