Lead Us to the Greatest Mazes and Labyrinths!

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the lamest maze I ever encountered.

The Wooz was an amusement park built in Vacaville, CA when I was a kid. It had opened to huge fanfare. Mazes had been a trend in Japan, so the Wooz opened with great hopes of being a big destination.

My family and I went the first month it was open. And it was…meh. Really easy, if not mostly tedious, to get through. There was no decorative quality. It was just brown wooden walls. And Vacaville in the summertime is ridiculously hot. So you wind your way through some boards and sweat your tail off for 30 minutes and leave. I don’t even think they had snacks there. It’s now regarded as a famously bad idea.

https://localwiki.org/vacaville/The_Wooz

And here’s some bizarre footage of Steve Wozniak running through it.

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There are some nice visual mazes on the London Underground. Nice to let your mind wander even if feet are fixed. Some of the cathedral ones were originally partially used for meditation. You need that as a commuter even more. I tend to do the one at St Pancras most when waiting for a train. Bank station really really needs one as that place is a laabyrinth of lines and exits itself. Rumours are people have been wandering lost there for decades. https://art.tfl.gov.uk/labyrinth/about/

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There’s a labyrinth on the northern edge of Barcelona, which can be beautiful when it’s well taken care of Barcelona parks - The oldest park in Barcelona, The Labyrinth Park, is influenced by a host of architectural eras and regions, with a maze as one of its main attractions - (barcelona-metropolitan.com) However, no mention has been made here of meditation labyrinths, the most famous, perhaps, is in Chartres Cathedral: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/labyrinth-chartres-cathedral

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I also love the Parc del Laberint d’Horta in Barcelona! Super fun and definitely easy to get lost in! “It is a historical garden in the Horta-Guinardó district in Barcelona and the oldest of its kind in the city. Located on the former estate of the Desvalls family, next to the Collserola ridge, the park comprises an 18th-century neoclassical garden and a 19th-century romantic garden.”

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I was born and grew up in Venice. I moved away when I was 19. Up until that time my sense of orientation in Venice was uncanny, even by Venetian standards. You are right, it is a maze. I enjoyed walking visitors to any T junction and ask them: “Left or right?”. They’d be baffled. Normally there is a right way and a wrong way. Not necessarily so in Venice. Now, the beauty of this is that I am hopeless finding my way in any of the cities I have lived in since I left. I am very GPS dependent. Nevertheless, to this day, you can drop me blindfolded anywhere in Venice and the moment I open my eyes again I know my way home.

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Grace Cathedral in San Francisco has a two lovely Labyrinths based on the ancient one in Chartres Cathedral in France. Grace has one inside and another outside, atop one of the highest hills in the city.

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There’s a labyrinth on top of St. Catherine’s hill just outside Winchester in England. Don’t start walking it thinking “This’ll be fun!” It’s very serious, but it can also be joyful. A ley line runs through the center of it.

In Memphis, First Congregational Church (usually referred to as First Congo), 1000 Cooper St., has a very beautiful meditation labyrinth set into the floor. People come early, before the worship service, to walk the labyrinth, or appointments can be made for individuals or groups to walk it.

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The incredible hedge maze at Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel almost makes the exorbitant room rates seem worthwhile.

Running around that maze with my kids has become one of my funnest memories, in a trip full of fun memories.

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I’ve been in several mazes and labyrinths (although by what you’re calling a maze, all of them are labryinths, despite the names at the sites. I’ve been through several labyrinths based on the Chartres design, all in the U.S. But the most fabulous labyrinth I explored was at Glendurgan Gardens in Cornwall, UK. (Pictures attached) I have also made it through the maze at Hampton Court, with its 8-ft-plus hedges.

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So many great mazes and labyrinths here - excellent topic. Like many others here, growing up I loved mazes and I’ve had the opportunity to experience several. The one that was most memorable for me, however, was actually rather simple.

On my last trip to New Orleans, my wife and I walked all the way from the French Quarter to the end of Magazine Street, exploring and stopping for drinks along the way. At the end of the road we came upon the Labyrinth at Audubon Park (actually two adjacent labyrinths of increasing scale) which was designed following Hurricane Katrina to help survivors heal by walking the path, and thereby understanding that to move forward, one must sometimes move backwards.

Having recently moved to Tampa, I had just experienced my first hurricane with Irma, which left our neighborhood without power for the better part of a week. We were lucky enough to be able to live and work from a nearby hotel, but I became acutely aware of all of those who weren’t as fortunate as we were. Folks who wouldn’t be able to easily recover from the damage nature had inflicted. As I walked the first of the two Labyrinths at Audubon Park, I found myself thinking about it and by the time I completed the second one I discovered I was tearing up just a little bit, which was entirely unexpected. Maybe it was due more to the series of hurricanes I’d been drinking than the one I had weathered, but it really left a profound and lasting impression on me.

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I recall a recent camping trip to Cromer, here in England. We located a nearby maze online and set off to cycle there, but on our journey we unexpectedly found another maze to explore. There is a joy in getting lost, losing your friends, climbing the tallest point to figure your way, and finding those hidden gems lurking round corners

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One of the most interesting labyrinths I visited was at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. As part of a mind-body therapy program, service members who are being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries walk the labyrinth in this skylit atrium filled with plants. This is one of seven labyrinths featured in my documentary, “Labyrinth Journeys.” The film presents the stories of adults, teenagers and children who use labyrinths as tools for meditation, rehabilitation, healing, stress-reduction, and playful exploration.

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IKEA.
Hands down the most difficult maze to navigate, the designers certainly wanted you to never leave.

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There is a glass labyrinth at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri that I hope to walk one day!
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Normally choosing National Parks over Disney style experiences the Dole Plantation Pineapple Maze being our last stop on a phenomenal Hawaii vacation was made more because it was the last thing between us and the airport than a deep desire to see it. Fortunately, the joy of navigating this massive maze was far more than expected and ended up being a perfect way to end our stay. We ran it with children and found it to be a challenge even with the help of a small map provided on the back of our ticket and long enough to be rewarding to finish without becoming a slog. I would love to return and set aside more time to attempt it without referring to the map.

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Of course The Land’s End labyrinth in SF is worth mentioning for the gorgeous views on the hike in and at the labyrinth itself- but my personal attachment is my 5yo daughter asking to go to wish herself away to the goblins, a la the Henson film. Parenting done hilariously, I guess?

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When we’re in Australia we love to go to Bago Maze near Port Macquarie NSW. https://www.bago.com.au/bago-maze/ The grandkids have a great time trying to find all the hidden delights, and we can join in as well or just sit and watch with a glass of wine from the vineyard!

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Brilliant! I’ll be in touch next time I’m thinking of returning to the Serene Republic! :smile:

Funnily enough, I’ve just read this having returned from Barcelona where I had a similar experience in the Gothic Quarter (though certainly to a lesser degree than in Venezia!). There’s a lot to be said for these urban mazes that never-really-intended-to-be-better-than-real-mazes…

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hahaha I love this video. Thank you.

The labyrinth at Villa Pisani in Stra, near Venice, Italy, has been the set of many a classical film. Worth a try if you are in the area. Closed in Winter.

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