With an abundance of nature centers around the Twin Cities, we have ample opportunities to learn about and participate in the maple syruping. This is the process of taking the sap of a maple tree and turning it into the maple syrup we find in grocery stores. Look for one or more of the following activities and/or demonstrations at these events: 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.
March is usually maple tapping month in Minnesota – the best time to tap maple trees. Although, depending on conditions, it could start as early as January or as late as May. The weather is ideal for maple sap when we reach that freeze/thaw period of the winter – where there are warmer daytime temperatures (near the 40s), but then below freezing temps overnight. Once the early buds start popping on the trees in April, the season is over.
Check back often through March of 2023, because we’ll keep adding events as they are announced.
MAPLE SYRUP EVENTS IN THE TWIN CITIES CENTRAL METRO
Fort Snelling State Park
101 Snelling Lake Road, St. Paul, MN 55111
FORT SNELLING STATE PARK has a long annual tradition of offering programs to Twin Cities-area folk and making them kid-friendly. March 5, 18 & 19, 2023. Registration is required and these events fill fast. FREE admission, but a $7 park day vehicle permit is required. Our family enjoys spending time in this, one of several urban-area Minnesota State Parks, mostly hiking and biking the trails along the Minnesota River. There’s exciting HISTORIC FORT SNELLING atop the bluff to explore, too (separate fees apply).
If you can’t make one of the events, you can learn more on the DNR’s Syruping Page: Did you know, that it takes approximately 30 to 40 gallons of sugar maple sap to produce just one gallon of syrup? And sugar maples are the most productive. Other maples will make less. That, and the short season, explains why a bottle can be so expensive.
MAPLE SYRUPING IN THE TWIN CITIES SOUTH METRO
Baylor Regional Park
9406 10775, County Rd 33, Norwood Young America, MN 55397
MAPLE SYRUP FESTIVAL: Families can experience the process of maple syrup making from tapping to boiling during this program. All ages. March 18, 2023, 11am-3pm, $10/pp. Registration required.
Pond-Dakota Mission Park
401 East 104th Street, Bloomington, MN 55420
MAPLE SUGARING AT THE GIDEON POND HOUSE is all about learning how maple sugar is made, including choosing trees to tap, collecting the sap, and the boiling process of making collected sap into syrup and sugar. Drop-in program for all ages. March 11, 2023, 10am-2pm, FREE.
Wood Lake Nature Center
6710 Lake Shore Drive, Richfield 55423
SATURDAY & SUNDAY SPECIALS: MAGICAL MAPLES
Hike into the woods to help collect and boil syrup in a pot or boiling vessel, and learn a little history and how maple syrup is made. March 4, 5, 11, 12, 19 & 26, 2023, see website for times, $5/pp. Pre-register to guarantee your spot. Walk-ins as space permits.
NATURE ADVENTURERS: MAGICAL MAPLES: This parent-child program from preschool kids ages 3-5 will include stories, crafts and outdoor discovery time. Dress for outdoors. March 15, 2023, 9am. $10/first child; $7 for a second child. Pre-register for limited spaces.
Dodge Nature Center
365 Marie Avenue West St. Paul, MN 55118
NATURE PLAYDATE: S IS FOR SYRUP: Littles ages 2-preK can learn about the syruping process through storytime and outdoor play. Registration required.
March 10, 2023, 10-11am. $10. Sold Out.
PANCAKE BREAKFAST: Pancakes with real maple syrup – yum! Afterwards, take a naturalist-led hike to learn about the syruping process. March 11, 2023, 8am. Drop In. FREE. Donation requested.
MAPLE SYRUPING: Ages 6 + with caretakers can observe the process of turning tree sap into syrup. Visit the evaporator, and plan to sample real maple syrup and sugar. Registration required. March 18 & 25, 2023, 1-2:30pm. $7/pp.
NATURE AFTER DINNER: SAP TO SYRUP: An evening maple syrup program for kids ages 3-8 with their caregivers. March 21, 2023, 6:30-7:30pm. $5/pp.
MAPLE SYRUPING IN THE TWIN CITIES NORTH METRO
Wargo Nature Center
7701 Main Street, Lino Lakes, MN 55038
At the MAPLE SYRUP FESTIVAL, learn about the tradition of gathering maple sap and cooking it down to make the sap turn into maple syrup and sugar. Make maple crafts and go on a scavenger hunt. Pre-registration required. March 11 2023, 2-4pm. $7/pp+ vehicle fee. Search Keyword: “Maple”.
Harriet Alexander Nature Center
2520 Dale St N., Roseville, MN 55113
IT’S TAPPING TIME! A FREE event, with tours and stations for identifying maple trees, tree tapping, sap cooking, and sampling maple flavor. Craft kits to take home. Families can purchase their own syrup for waffles and pancakes at home. 10am-4pm on Saturday and 12-4pm on Sunday. March 25-26, 2023.
MAPLE SYRUPING IN THE TWIN CITIES WEST METRO
Eden Prairie Outdoor Center
13765 Staring Lake Parkway, Eden Prairie, MN 55347
MAPLE SYRUP MAKING: Families will learn the history of maple syruping and participating in making a makuk container. March 12, 2023, 1pm-2:30pm & March 18, 2023, 2pm-3:30pm; $12/family. Registration required. Activity #187212.
MAPLE SYRUP MOON & SPRING EQUINOX
Learn a little about the Maple Syrup Moon while attending this night hike. Dress for mid-March weather. March 4, 2023. $9/pp. Registration required. Activity #187207-03.
Westwood Hills Nature Center
8300 W Franklin Ave, St Louis Park, MN 55426
PUPPET STORYTIME – MAPLE SYRUP: Open play and exploration, naturalist-led activities, puppet show and a hike. March 6 & 10, 2023. 10am-11am, $$5/person. Registration required.
MAPLE SYRUP: Tap a tree, collect the sap and take it to the cooker. Discover how to turn sap to syrup. March 18, 2023; 10am-11:30am & 1pm-2:30pm, $5/person. Registration required.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
MacMillan Auditorium in the Oswald Visitor Center, 3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska, MN 55318
MAPLEFEST at the MINNESOTA LANDSCAPE ARBORETUM includes an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast (with fresh maple syrup, of course) and, for Arb members, admission to the arboretum. Reservations required. Tickets $23/adult, $18/ages 11-15 and members, and $13/ages 3-10. The event is a fundraiser for the Arb’s operating budget.
While at the Arboretum, there’s so much for families with kids to explore! March 26, 2023.
Tamarack Nature Center
5287 Otter Lake Rd. White Bear Township, MN 55110
SAP TO SYRUP: Learn all about the process of tapping maple trees for syrup during a 45-minute guided tour. March 11 & 18, 2023; noon-4pm. $7/pp & Registration is required for staggered start times.
MAPLE SYRUPING IN THE TWIN CITIES EAST METRO
Carpenter-St Croix Nature Center
12805 St Croix Trail S, Hastings, MN 55033
MAKING MAPLE SYRUP: Families will learn about trees as they hike to the “sugarbush”. They they will tap maple trees and learn the process of turning sap into syrup, with a sample at the end. Dress for snow and mud. March 5, 2023. $8. 1pm-3pm. Registration is required – Call 651-437-4359.
Sally Manzara Nature Center
3554 Kelvin Ave N, Lake Elmo, MN 55042
FAMILY NATURE EXPLORATION SATURDAY – MAPLE SYRUPING WITH CONNIE KIRK: Pre-register or drop in for this Saturday program. Phone: 651-408-2838. March 25, 2023. $5/family. 10am-11amm.
THREE RIVERS PARKS MAPLE SYRUP ACTIVITIES
Three Rivers Parks traditionally offer an abundance of inexpensive, family-friendly opportunities to learn about maple syrup, but tend to schedule events late in February or early in March.
Baker Outdoor Learning Center
2309 Baker Park Road, Maple Plain, MN 55359
MAPLE SYRUPING: Learn about maple tree tapping and boiling sap into syrup. Then, taste test to see if you can tell grocery store syrup from the real stuff. Outdoor program. Start Times at 3pm & 3:30pm. Registration is required by 2 days prior. March 5, 12 & 26, 2023. $5/pp.
HEARTHSIDE HISTORY: THE SWEET STORY OF MAPLE SUGARING: A fireside talk about the history of maple sugaring from Dakota and Ojibwe sugar harvesting to commercial producers. Coffee and light refreshments provided. Registration is required. Ages 8+. March 9, 2023; 1-2:30pm. $9/pp.
Eastman Nature Center
13351 Elm Creek Road, Dayton, MN 55369
JOURNEY INTO THE SUGARBUSH: A naturalist-led exploration of the sugarbush and the process of tapping maples trees and turning sap into syrup. Registration is required by 1 day prior. March 5, 11 & 12, 2023. $5/pp.
MAPLE SYRUP PRESCHOOL PROGRAMS: Special programs about maple syrup designed just for ages 3-6 with caregiver. These are immersive, outdoor programs with registration required. March 11 & 14, 2023. $6/pp.
MAPLE SYRUP FESTIVAL: Explore the Eastman sugarbush, help collect sap, watch maple syrup cooking at the cauldron and learn about maple syrup science, history and the impact of climate change. March 18, 2023, 1-4pm. FREE.
SAP COLLECTION SUNDAYS: Free programs that include helping to tap sugar maples, learning about and tasting the final product. Drop in. March 19 & 26, 1-4pm. FREE.
Gale Woods Farm
7210 County Road 110 West, Minnetrista, MN 55364
MAKE YOUR OWN: MAPLE SYRUP: Explore the sugarbush to learn the science of sugaring by identifying maple trees, tap trees, collect sap & evaporate it into syrup. Sample recipes to try at home. Ages 8+. March 11, 2023, 1pm-3:30pm & 2:30pm-3:45pm. $8/pp.
Hyland Lake Park Reserve
8737 East Bush Lake Road Bloomington, MN 55438
MY PRESCHOOLER & ME – TREES AND MAPLE SYRUP: A program for ages 2-6 with adult. March 16, 2023, 10-11:30am. $6/pp.
MAPLE SYRUP TIME AT JAN’S PLACE: Learn about the syrup process from a resident naturalist, see a working evaporator and taste real maple syrup. March 18 & 19, 2023, 1-2:20pm. $6/pp.
Lake Minnetonka Regional Park
4610 County Road 44, Minnetrista, MN 55331
GEOCACHING FOR MAPLE SYRUP HISTORY: Use a GPS unit to search the sugar bush for maple sugaring history, tap a tree, gather sap and watch it boil down to syrup. Registration required. March 11, 2023, 1-3pm. $12/pp.
Lowry Nature Center
7025 Victoria Drive, Victoria, MN 55386
GEOCACHING FOR MAPLE SYRUP HISTORY: Use a GPS unit to learn about the maple syrup process. Registration required. March 4, 2023, 1:30-3:30pm. $6/pp.
MAPLE SYRUP FESTIVAL: Make maple sugar and syrup, watch a tree being tapped and learn about this tradition and stop by the Sugar Shack to taste the maple syrup. March 25, 2023, 1-4pm. $6.
2187 Highway 101, Shakopee, MN 55379
MAPLE SUGARING WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS: Book a private family/friends maple syrup experience. Hike through the sugarbush, tap a tree, gather sap, watch it boil into real maple syrup and learn about the cultural significance of maple sugaring. Then sample the treats. March weekends, 2023. $40/group of up to 15 people. 10am-11am.
MAPLE SUGARING SCIENCE
On their Maple Syruping page, Three Rivers explains the science of syruping. For instance, the part of the tree that we tap into, is called the xylem layer. It works a bit like our own blood vessels, carrying water from the tree’s roots to its leaves. Watch for upcoming events at Three Rivers Parks.
15 Books to Read During Maple Tapping Season
Read Aloud Picture Books
- M Is for Maple Syrup: A Vermont Alphabet by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds
- Maple Moon by Connie Brummel Crook
- Maple Syrup from the Sugarhouse by Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton
- Miss Maples Seeds by Eliza Wheeler
- Sugarbush Spring by Marsha Wilson Chall
- Sugaring by Jessie Haas
- The Sugaring-Off Party by Jonathan London
- Sugar Snow by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Curious George Makes Maple Syrup by H.A. Rey
- From Maple Tree to Syrup by Melanie Mitchell
- How is Maple Syrup Made? by Grace Hansen
- Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle
Middle Grade School
- Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Sugaring Time by Kathryn Lasky
*This is an affiliate link to Bookshop.org, an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. Family Fun Twin Cities receives a small commission on books ordered through our link. If you want to find a specific local bookstore to support, find them on this map and they’ll receive the full profit off your order. Otherwise, your order will contribute to an earnings pool that will be evenly distributed among independent bookstores (even those that don’t use Bookshop). Learn more here.
MORE MAPLE SUGARING FUN FOR FAMILIES
Here are some of our favorite local resources for family fun of the educational kind.
- Print a full-color Minnesota DNR Young Naturalists – Sugar From Trees booklet. Make it home-school fun and Print the Teacher’s Guide with multi-disciplinary activities to cover a variety of subjects for 3rd grade through middle school.
- Learn the history of Maple Sugaring and the Ojibwe at MNopedia.
- Make some Maple Syrup Snow Candy with the Kitchen Pantry Scientist.
- Make Your Own DIY Pancake Kit for Kids with Non-Toy Gifts and make a pancake meal at home – my kids love mini pancakes.
- Tap Your Backyard Maples with instructions from Carpenter Nature Center. This handy printout tells homeowners what is needed for maple sugaring in their own backyards.
5 thoughts on “Maple Syruping with Kids in the Twin Cities”
Thank you Anne. Very nice.
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is Name Kailee did you did Today Mariah
What happens if we tap a tree this weekend with it being upper 30’s and below 30 at night, but then later in the week it doesn’t get above freezing or it barely does. Are we done for the season or ?
That is an excellent question and one I can’t answer, but the experts at these events probably can. I was wondering myself if we would have a short season this year.