Tag - fort snelling state park

Maple Syruping with Kids in the Twin Cities
10 MORE Twin Cities Beaches, Playgrounds & Attractions to Try This Summer
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

10 MORE Twin Cities Beaches, Playgrounds & Attractions to Try This Summer

tm big marine beach

There are so many options for splash-happy fun in our urban lakes that we couldn’t stop after posting our original 10 Twin Cities Beaches & Playgrounds to try this summer. Culled from reader suggestions, our own summer jaunts to the beach, and other fun attractions we’ve been visiting over the past month, we’ve assembled a second round of 10 swimming spots we think are worth checking out. But hurry; as we know all too well here in Minnesota, beach season won’t stick around much longer.

tm elm creek park reserve

elm creek park reserve playground

Elm Creek Park Reserve Beach
12400 James Deane Pkwy, Maple Grove 55369

Open: Daily 9am-8pm, lifeguards on duty noon-8pm
Cost: 4/pp daily or $15/pp season pass, other listed activities are free.
Highlights: The man-made swimming pond features a lovely sand beach and filtered, chlorinated water. Work up the desire for a cool dip while tackling the colorful, kinetic playground (“The biggest park I’ve ever seen!” according to my 3-year-old), and exploring the exhibits at Eastman Nature Center. Also onsite is the historic Bottineau House, which offers Saturday open houses from 1-4pm and occasional family programming. Read More

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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