September 4 through October 31, 2021
It happens only once every 17 years, and Brood X emerged from the ground at McCloud Nature Park in 2021, so we honor the cicada this year with the McCloud Prairie Maze!
These periodical insects spend most of their lives a foot or two underground eating sap from tree roots. Then in the spring of their 17th year, mature nymphs emerge from the ground by the billions over select parts of the eastern United States, shed their exoskeleton, and inflate their wings for their brief stage as an adult.
The adult male cicadas fill the air with calls for a mate, using tymbals on each side of their abdomens to create the high-pitched sound. Their songs are answered by the adult females with a clicking of their wings. The result is a loud symphony that lasts about three to four weeks. Four to six weeks after emerging from the ground, the insects die.
Shortly thereafter, the newly-hatched nymphs drop out of the trees where their mommas laid their eggs, and they burrow into the ground for the next 17 years!
Cicadas look like some sort of alien, but they don’t bite or sting or carry disease. They are actually good for the environment! Cicadas aerate the ground when they emerge, they are a plentiful food source for a wide variety of birds and animals, and their carcasses enrich the soil with nutrients as they decompose.
Celebrate Brood X with a trip through our cicada-themed prairie maze. Be sure to dress for the weather, wear comfortable closed-toe shoes, and bring some water. Bring the nymphs, too, as this maze is appropriate for all ages!
Make sure to explore the McCloud Prairie Maze by October 31 because after that, we won’t see a Brood X cicada again until 2038!
Admission to McCloud Nature Park and the prairie maze is absolutely FREE, and both are open from dawn to dusk daily. To access the prairie maze, park in the Nature Center parking lot. Maps to the maze are available in the kiosk outside of the Nature Center, as well as in the kiosk at the entrance to the maze.
The McCloud Prairie Maze is within McCloud Nature Park, located at 8518 Hughes Road, North Salem, Ind.
The McCloud Prairie Maze is open daily from dawn to dusk. It opens to the public on September 4, 2021, through October 31, 2021.
Admission to the McCloud Prairie Maze is absolutely FREE!
Parking is available in front of the Nature Center. There is no charge for parking.