Category - Maple Syrup

Maple Syruping with Kids in the Twin Cities
Archived: Maple Syrup
Archived: Maple Syrup in the Three Rivers Parks
Archived: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Offers Maple Syrup Events
Archived: Maple Syruping at Nature Centers Around Town
Archived: A Syrupy Weekend Wish List for March 7-8, 2014
Archived: March Is Maple Syrup Month!

Maple Syruping with Kids in the Twin Cities

March is maple syrup month in Minnesota, and with an abundance of nature centers around the Twin Cities, we have ample opportunities to learn about and participate in the maple syruping process. Maple syrup events usually contain one or more of the following activities: tapping the maple trees, collecting the sap, boiling it into syrup, and the best part — according to my kids, anyway — a sample of the finished product.

Click through for a list of upcoming maple syrup events across the Twin Cities Metro. Read More

Archived: Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup season gets me in a Laura Ingalls mood. I spent years of my childhood wishing I was Laura Ingalls.  I inhaled the books.  I watched the show.  I dressed in long dresses and bonnets — long after my friends had matured past dress up.  I thought when I had a little girl, she would love the Little House series, too.  She can kind of take it or leave it.  She’s read a couple of the books. 

I still have hope of getting her excited about these books.  Maple Syruping is a good start.  We also hope to start doing more travels outside the Twin Cities this summer.  The following are a few historical sites I’d like to see this summer.

  • Walnut Grove, Minnesota, is slightly less than three hours from the Twin Cities.  There you can visit the site of the Ingall’s original dugout home ($5/car)  from By The Shores of Plum Creek and the Wilder Museum ($3-$6/pp).  I think we’ll aim to go during July for the Walnut Grove Family Festival.


Saturdays July 12 and July 19, 2014
Friday and Saturday July 25 and July 26, 2014
11:00 am to 6:00 pm

Festival held in the Walnut Grove City Park

  • De Smet, South Dakota, is a 4 1/2 hour drive from the Twin Cities.  We hope to stay at the Ingalls Homestead as part of our South Dakota camping vacation.  If you want to sleep in a covered wagon, its $50.00/night; but you can tent it for $10/night.  The museum is an additional $10.00 per person.
  • Pepin, Wisconsin is the closest of the Laura Ingalls Homesteads.  It’s about an hour and a half from the Cities.  The museum is closed in the winter.  Laura Ingalls Days are September 13-14th.  That would probably be the best time to visit. Admission to the museum is a free will offering, but they are currently doing a capital campaign to expand the museum and could use a little extra.

If you would rather not put the miles on your car to learn more about Laura, you can try the Little House Books website.  It offers crafts and recipes to go along with the books, plus, since I was a little girl, the original stories written by Laura have been added to and now we can learn about her mother, grandmother and daughter, Rose.

Archived: Maple Syrup in the Three Rivers Parks

Even while the snow is still piled high, the trees start getting excited for spring, and maple trees’ sap starts to run.  It’s time for Maple Syrup.  And what better place to go then to one of the Three Rivers Parks! 

Three Rivers Parks is busy during March with Maple Syrup Festivals and Tree Tapping Events. Learn the history of maple syrup, watch it boil, hike out to the tapped trees, lend a hand in tapping the trees, play games, eat maple candy.   Pancakes are even offered at French Regional Park and Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement if you would like something to go with your syrup. There is so much yummy fun to be had at maple syrup time.

Maple Syrup is one of the best parts about March in Minnesota, so go out and enjoy this uniquely seasonal experience.  


Gifts of the Maple 
Richardson Nature Center
March 9 and March 16, 3:00-4:00 pm

Sap to Syrup
Eastman Nature Center
March 9, March 16, March 23 1:00-4:00 pm

Maple Syruping: Tapping Into Nature
Clearly Lake Regional Park
March 14 10:00 am-12:00 pm
March 15 1:00-3:00 pm
March 28 12:00-2:00 pm
March 29  1:00-3:00 pm

Maple Syrup Festival at Baker
Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement
March 16 3:00-6:00 pm

Maple Syrup through History
The Landing
March 22 10:00 am-4:00

Family Maple Syruping with PANCAKES
French Regional Park
March 22 11:00 am-1:00 pm

Maple Syrup Festival at Eastman
Eastman Nature Center
March 22 1:00-4:00 pm

Maple Syrup Festival at Lowry
Lowry Nature Center 
March 22 1:00-4:00 pm

Maple Syrup Time
Lowry Nature Center
March 23 and March 30 12:30-2:00


images courtesy of Three Rivers Parks


Archived: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Offers Maple Syrup Events

Every year I think I am going to enjoy the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum while it’s free, and then the winter goes by and I didn’t get out there once.  Then, March rolls around and I think once again, what a perfect time to visit. 

And it is with all the Maple Syrup events and delicous treats to enjoy!   Each year the staff at the Arboretum staff taps over 250 trees and hangs little blue bags to collect the sap.  March is the ideal time to tap trees for sap collection because the below freezing temperatures at night and the high 30s, low 40s during the day encourages the Sugar Maple trees to wake up and the sap to start running.

The Aboretum has perfected a method of creating maple syrup by using traditional methods and a vacuum system to increase production.


This year the Maple Syrup season kicks off with the Sugarbush Pancake Brunch at the Oswald Visitor’s Center on Saturday, March 22 from 9:00 am-1:00 pm.  Tickets are $6-$11.50 and include the admission price.  

When you’ve gotten your fill of pancakes, take a walk out to the trees on the Arboretum’s Maple Syrup Tour.  These take place on the same day from 9:00 am-2:00 pm and are free. 

If you are unable to make it to the Brunch, but still want to check out the maple syrup at the Arboretum, you can attend the Sugar Open House.  Saturday, March 29 and Saturday, April 5  from noon-5:00 pm, you can visit the Sugarhouse to watch staff and volunteers make syrup, sample fresh sap, and taste freshly made syrup.  

It’s a very hopeful time in Minnesota–March is– enjoying the fruits of our laborious winter and anticipating the arrival of spring.

image courtesy MN Landscape Arboretum



Archived: Maple Syruping at Nature Centers Around Town

With so many different nature centers around the Twin Cities,  we have an abundance of opportunities to check out the maple syruping process.  Not every nature center does maple syrup, but there are quite a few to choose from.  Maple syrup events usually contain one or more of the following activities: tapping the maple trees, collecting the sap, boiling it into syrup, history of maple syrup, and a treat of maple goodness.  Some of these programs have limited space so click on the link or call the phone number  to get more information about the events you are interested in.

Central Metro
Those Marvelous Maples

Saturday, March 8 3:00-4:30 pm, Sunday, March 9 1:00-2:30 pm or 3:00-4:30 pm
Saturday, March 15 3:00-4:30 pm, Sunday, March 16, 1:00-2:30 pm or 3:00-4:30 pm
Wood Lake Nature Center 6710 Lakeshore Dr., Richfield, MN  55423,  612-861-9365

Do you appreciate Minnesota’s Marvelous Maples?  After this inexpensive and fun program you certainly will.  Have fun out in the sugarbush.

West Metro
Maple Syruping  $6-$8
Sunday, March 16  1:30-3:30 pm
Wednesday, April 2 1:30-3:30 pm
Westwood HIlls Nature Center 8300 West Franklin Avenue, St. Louis Park, MN  55426,   952-924-2544
Tap and collect syrup, taste it straight from the tree, and taste the final product on a pancake!

Puppet Story Time:  The Maple Syrup Mystery $3.50 per child, must be accompanied by an adult
Monday, March 24 10:00-11:00 am
Westwood HIlls Nature Center 8300 West Franklin Avenue, St. Louis Park, MN  55426,   952-924-2544
An all-indoor activity to bring your littlest ones to. Learn about Maple Syruping from the crazy puppets at the Nature Center and enjoy a sample.

Spring Open House  FREE
Saturday, March 29 12:00-2:00 pm
Westwood HIlls Nature Center 8300 West Franklin Avenue, St. Louis Park, MN  55426,   952-924-2544
Go on a “signs of spring” scavenger hunt, help collect sap by checking the sap buckets.

Sugar on Snow Party $7
Saturday, March 15 1:00-4:00 pm
Tamarack Nature Center 5287 Otter Lake Road, White Bear Township, MN  55110   651-407-5350
A Vermont Maple Tradition is celebrated in Minnesota as attenders of this party start the process of making syrup from the beginning and ending with the popular treat of sugar on snow.


Maple Syrup Open House $9
Saturday, March 22 12:00-4:00 pm
Lee and Rose Warner Nature Center 15375 Norell Avenue North,  Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota 55047   (651) 433-2427 ext. 10
Sugarbush demonstrations take place every 1/2 hour; the last demonstration at 3:30 pm.  Crafts, log tapping, refreshments, as well as other activities including spile making.  What is a spile?  The little pour spout that you tap into the tree.  I got that one from Wikipedia, so you can take it or leave it.

It’s Tapping Time!  FREE
Saturday, March 29 or Sunday, March 30 10:00 am-4:00 pm
Harriet Alexander Nature Center 2520 North Dale Street, Roseville, MN  55113  651-765- 4262
Make a whole day out of it.  Get right to work as a volunteer tapping, collecting, and boiling.  The Harriet Alexander Nature Center folks are counting on their volunteers for a successful maple syrup season.  Those who lend a hand enjoy learning about the history of syrup, Native American Stories, and tasty maple treats.

This is a hopeful and fun season to enjoy with your family.




Archived: A Syrupy Weekend Wish List for March 7-8, 2014

When it comes to my wish list for family fun, I find more and more I’m wishing for a date night.  I never used to need one of those — family dates were just fine.  But almost 9 years into the whole parenting experience, sometimes I just want to be with the love of my life without our offspring.  Where ever you stand in the parenting continuum, I say embrace it. If you don’t need special date nights, there are some great activities for the whole family.  If you want to hire a babysitter or send the little ones to grandmas house for the night, how about a Date Night at Silverwood Park?  No matter what, here are some wishful options for the upcoming weekend.


Date Night at SilverwoodDate Night  –  How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You: Maple Syrup Making and Pitchers
Silverwood Park, 2500 County Rd. E,St. Anthony, MN 55421
Friday, March 7, 2014; 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
$25.00 per couple (Reservations required by Thursday)

Since March is Maple Syrup month, what better way to have a date night than by making some sticky sweet maple syrup and a pitcher to pour it from.  You’ll have something special to take home to the kids at the end, too.  Date Nights at Silverwood are always part indoor clay project and part outdoor — so this is a dress down date.  Dress to get dirty and stay warm.  But wear layers, because you are going to want to peel them off by the fire after all the fun.  “Wine and beer are allowed” — That sounds like a bring-your-own kind of deal.  Reserve your spot by Thursday by calling 763-559-6700 to make a reservation and reference activity number #237811-16. This program is for ages 21+.

Alexander graphicOpening Night: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Stages Theatre Company, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN 55343
Friday, March 7, 2014; 7:00 p.m.
$15 per person; Pre-Buy Tickets Here.

I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Based on the children’s book by Judith Viorst, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day opens at Stages Theatre this weekend.  We visited Stages to see Aladdin earlier this year, as I said in my review of that production, the actors at Stages are gifted young people.  It is so worth it to get to these shows if you can.  Maybe if you take your kids to see Alexander, they won’t want to move to Australia.


Mu Daiko
Cowles Center For Dance and The Performing Arts, 528 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Saturday, March 8, 2014; 2:00 p.m.
Special Family Performance Pricing: $22 for Adults and $14 for students.

This weekend the Cowles Center will host Mu Daiko – a performance based on Japanese drumming.  Saturday’s show is cut a little shorter (45 minutes) and is specially priced for families.  It’s recommended for ages 3 and up.  If you go to one of the other performances, they suggest 7 and up.  After the show, your kids will be invited up on stage to try the drums themselves.  If you want to prep them for this show, you can watch several videos on YouTube, including the one below:

Little House in the Big WoodsIn Laura’s House: Sugar on Snow
Lowry Nature Center, Carver Park Reserve, 7025 Victoria Drive, Victoria, MN 55386
Saturday, March 8, 2014; 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
$5 per person (20% discount for groups of four or more)

Like I said above, we’re all about the maple syrup experience this month.  There is no shortage of events throughout the Twin Cities during March.  However, when I think of maple syrup, I immediately think of that Chapter of Little House in the Big Woods, where they eat nothing but maple syrup for like 24 hours straight.  If that’s what you think of too, you may want to haul out to Victoria with your family to experience maple syrup Laura Ingall’s style.  Here some stories from the book – probably the syrup-gorging chapter, make a sugar on snow treat just like Laura, sample real maple syrup and sugar. You can even start a quilt sampler like Laura’s.




Archived: March Is Maple Syrup Month!

I nearly forgot that my 4-year-old’s maple syruping field trip is tomorrow. Can you blame me? My body – and the thermometer on the garage – are still telling me it’s the dead middle of winter! But despite the chill, my daughter and her class will be off to the Dodge Nature Center to learn how sap is collected from sugar maple trees and then boiled until it is closer to the stuff we pour over pancakes.

It’s a pretty interesting – and fairly DIY – process. If you can find the time, there are a host of places around the Twin Cities that offer maple syruping events. Some are fancy affairs complete with pancake breakfasts. Others are more casual demos down at your local Minnesota State Park. Family Fun Twin Cities is currently putting together a list of family-friendly venues to learn about maple syruping this spring. Sweet syrup fact: the sap flows best from mid-March to mid-April when temps are close to 40 during the day and below freezing at night. Those temps sound pretty good right now!

To get you started (and planning ahead because some of these events require advance registration), here are some places set to tap their trees in the next couple of weeks:

Dodge Nature Center: It’s Maple Syrup Time!
365 Marie Avenue West, West St. Paul
March 22 & 29, 2014
1 – 2:30pm
Adults & children over 2 yrs/$7 or $20 per family
Reservations required – class will fill!

Event includes a tree tapping demonstration, a visit to the evaporator, and a chance to sample. Special pancake breakfasts will also be held at Dodge Nature Center on March 15 only. Six time slots are available to enjoy breakfast and a maple syruping demonstration. The cost is $5 per adult and $2.50 per child with advance reservations required. For more details, visit this link.

Fort Snelling State Park: Maple Syruping in Your Backyard
101 Snelling Lake Road, West St. Paul
March 9, 15, 16, 22, 29, 30, 2014
1 – 2:30pm
Program is free; a $5 State Park day pass is required to enter the park. Reservations are not necessary.

We have personally attended this program at Fort Snelling State Park a couple times as a family. It starts with an indoor lecture that might make the little ones antsy, but the hike outside is easy, the sap demonstration is fun, and we poured our syrup over ice cream afterwards!

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum: Maple Syrup at the Arboretum
3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska
Maple Syrup Tours – March 22, 2014 (9am – 2pm)
Sugar House Open House – March 29 & April 5, 2014 (noon – 4pm)
Program included with $12 Arboretum admission ages 13 & up.

Visit the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Sugar House for a look at sap being cooked into syrup and get a taste of the fresh product. The Arboretum will also be hosting a Sugarbush Pancake Brunch on March 22 from 9am – 1pm in the Visitor Center. Tickets include the meal plus Arboretum admission and cost $11.50 ages 8 & older, $6 ages 4 – 7, and those under 4 eat free.

Stay tuned for more maple syrup events posted throughout the week. And in the meantime, think spring!


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