Maple Syruping with Kids in the Twin Cities

Volunteer showing girls how to tapa maple tree at a Warner Nature Center maple-syruping event, Minnesota

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 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 throughout March, 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 5-6 & 19-20, 2022. FREE admission, but a $7 park day 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.

Variety of maple syrup products at the Pond House in Bloomington, Minnesota
Maple Syrup at the Pond House

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. April 2, 2022, 11am-3pm, $5/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 12, 2022, 1-4pm, 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 6, 13, 19, & 20, 2022, see website for times, $5/pp. Pre-register to guarantee your spot. Walk-ins as space permits.

MAPLE SYRUP WRAP-UP: Hike into the woods to help collect the last of the sap then boil down in the evaporator. March 27, 2022, 1pm-2:30pm or 3pm-4:30pm. $5/pp. Pre-register to guarantee your spot. Walk-ins as space permits.

Dodge Nature Center

365 Marie Avenue West St. Paul, MN 55118

NATURE PLAYDATE – M IS FOR MAPLE: Parent-child program for kids ages 2 through Pre-K. Dress for the weather. March 18, 2022, 10am-11am. $10. Pre-registration is required

Collage of spring farm baby event at Dodge Nature Center in South St. Paul, Minnesota


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 12, 2022, 2-4pm. $5/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 26-27, 2022.

Preschool Maple Syrup Program at Warner Nature Center in Minnesota
Preschool Children taste test Maple Syrup

MAPLE SYRUPING IN THE TWIN CITIES WEST METRO

Eden Prairie Outdoor Center

13765 Staring Lake Parkway, Eden Prairie, MN 55347

MOONLIGHT MAPLE SYRUPING involves all the fun of syrup making, but after dark. Bring a lantern and flashlight. March 5, 2022. $12/family. Registration required. Activity #187229-01.

NATURE EXPLORERS: MAPLE SYRUP
Aimed at ages 8-12, a naturalist will walk participants through syruping history, fun facts and hands-on syrup making. Finish the afternoon with a treat. March 12, 2022, $10/pp. Registration required. Activity #187209-03

MAPLE SYRUP MAKING
Families will learn the history of maple syruping and participating in making a makuk container. March 13 & 19, 2022. $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 19, 2022. $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 7 & 11, 2022. 10am-11:30am, $4-$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 19, 2022. 1pm-3pm, $5-$8/person. Registration required.

Families with small children learning about maple syruping at Westwood Hills Nature Center in Minnesota
Westwood Hills Nature Center

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

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. Tickets $21/adult, $16/ages 11-15 and members, and $11/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 19, 2022.

Tamarack Nature Center

5287 Otter Lake Rd. White Bear Township, MN 55110

TAPPING INTO TREES & INGENUITY: Learn all about the process of tapping maple trees for syrup and tap into human ingenuity and learn about unique ways people are making the world a better place, especially regarding climate issues. Visitors are invited to to share something they’ve found rather ingenious, or even just a good idea. Attendees will divide into groups, with one group taking the maple syrup-making tour, while the other group learns about the incredible ingenuity that is being tapped into to solve big and little problems, especially regarding climate change. A separate, age-appropriate kids activity will be provided during the learning portion. March 12, 2022. FREE, but registration is appreciated through We All Need Food and Water.  

Small girl watching maple syruping process at Gale Wood Farm in Minnesota
Gale Woods Farm

Baylor Regional Park

Baylor Regional Park, County Road 33, Norwood Young America, MN, 55397

The FAMILY MAPLE SYRUP TOUR takes your family through the syruping process start to finish. March 12, 2022, 1-3pm.

A MAPLE SYRUP FESTIVAL is held in the park after the sap season has ended. April 2, 2022. 11am-3pm, please pre-register.


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 6 & 20, 2022. $8. 1pm-3pm. Registration is required – Call 651-437-4359.

PRESCHOOL STORYTIME: MAPLE SYRUP SEASON: This is an indoor/outdoor activity. March 25, 2022. $6/child. Registration is required – Call 651-437-4359

Spring Lake Park Reserve

8395 127th Street East, Hastings, MN 55033

MAPLE SYRUPING: Learn to identify maples and tap a tree. Families can drop in and explore the stations on their own schedule. March 20, 2022. FREE. 1pm-4pm. Drop-in program.

Maple Syrup spout dripping clear sap into bucket


THREE RIVERS PARKS MAPLE SYRUP ACTIVITIES

Three Rivers Parks traditionally offer an abundance of inexpensive, family-friendly opportunities to learn about Maple Syruping, but tend to schedule events late in February or early in March.

Cleary Lake Regional Park

18106 Texas Avenue, Prior Lake, MN 55372

GEOCACHING FOR MAPLE SYRUP: Learn the basics of geocaching and then learn about maple syruping as you visit spots throughout the park. Equipment provided. March 13 & 19, 2022. 10am-12pm; 12:30-2:30pm, 2-4pm and March 17 & 22, 2022. 5-7pm. $10/pp. Registration is required by 2 days prior – Call 763-559-6700.

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. $5. Registration is required by 1 day prior – Call 763-559-6700.

  • March 5, 2022 9:30am-10:45am; 11am-12:15pm; 1:15pm-2:30pm; 3pm-4:15pm.
  • March 6, 2022: 12:30pm-1:45pm; 2pm-3:15pm; 3:30pm-4:45pm
  • March 12, 2022 9:30am-10:45am; 11am-12:15pm; 1:15pm-2:30pm; 3pm-4:15pm.
  • March 13, 2022: 12:30pm-1:45pm; 2pm-3:15pm; 3:30pm-4:45pm

UNDER THE MAPLE MOON: A full-moon program to explore the sugarbush and learn about how sap is turned into sweet treats. March 19 & 26, 2022. $5. 7pm-8:30pm. Register by March 17th – Call 763-559-6700.

MAPLE SYRUP CELEBRATION: 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 19 & 26, 2022. FREE. 10am-2pm. Drop-In.

French Regional Park

12605 Rockford Rd, Plymouth, MN 55441

GEOCACHING FOR MAPLE SYRUP: Learn the basics of geocaching and then learn about maple syruping as you visit spots throughout the park. Equipment Provided. March 6, 12 &  20, 2022. 10am-12pm; 12:30-2:30pm, 2-4pm and March 21, 2022. 5-7pm. $10/pp. Registration is required by 2 days prior – Call 763-559-6700.

GEOCACHING FOR MAPLE SYRUP UNDER A FULL MOON: A full-moon program. Learn the basics of geocaching and then learn about maple syruping as you visit spots throughout the park. Equipment Provided. March 18, 2022. 7-9pm. $10/pp. Registration is required by 2 days prior – Call 763-559-6700.

The Landing

2187 Highway 101, Shakopee, MN 55379

MY PRESCHOOLER & ME: MAPLE SUGARING TIME: Explore maple syruping with your child through stories, activities and crafts. March 1 & 8, 2022. $5/pp. 10am-11am. Registration is required by 2 days prior – Call 763-559-6700.

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. $40/group of up to 15 people. 10am-11am. Registration is required – Call 763-559-6700.

  • March 4, 2022: 10am-11am, 10:30-11:30, 1pm-2pm, 1:30-2:30pm
  • March 4, 2022: 10am-11am, 10:30-11:30, 11am-12pm, 12pm-1pm, 12:30-1:30pm; 1pm-2pm; 1:30-2:30pm; 2pm-3pm; 2:30-3:30pm
  • March 6, 2022: 10am-11am, 10:30-11:30, 11am-12pm, 12pm-1pm, 12:30-1:30pm; 1pm-2pm; 1:30-2:30pm; 2pm-3pm; 2:30-3:30pm
  • March 7, 2022: 10am-11am, 1pm-2pm
  • March 8, 2022: 10am-11am, 10:30-11:30
  • March 9, 2022: 10am-11am, 10:30-11:30, 1pm-2pm, 1:30-2:30pm
  • March 10, 2022: 1pm-2pm, 1:30-2:30pm
  • March 12, 2022: 10am-11am, 1pm-2pm
  • March 13, 2022: 10am-11am, 1pm-2pm

Richardson Nature Center

8737 East Bush Lake Road, Bloomington, MN 55438

MAPLE SYRUP TIME: Learn how to identify maple trees, tap and collect sap and watch the evaporator in action. Taste the final product. March 12 & 19 2022. $5. 2-3:30pm. Registration is required by 24 hours prior – Call 763-559-6700.

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. March 6, 13 & 27, 2022. $5. 3-4:30pm & 3:30-5pm. Registration is required by 2 days prior – Call 763-559-6700.

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. Supplies available for purchase. March 19, 2022. $8. 1pm-3pm. Registration is required by March 17th – Call 763-559-6700.

Lowry Nature Center

7025 Victoria Drive, Victoria, MN 55386

MAPLE SYRUP DIY teaches families about what it takes to make maple syrup at home. Visit the Lowry sugarbush, learn how to tap a tree and the process of converting sap to syrup. Feb 27, 2022.

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 26, 2022. $5. 1pm-4pm. Registration for 1-hr time slogs is required by March 24th- Call 763-559-6700.

Lake Minnetonka Regional Park

4610 County Road 44, Minnetrista, MN 55331

MAPLE SUGARING BY LAKE MINNETONKA: Guided hike of the sugarbush and the 1876 Schmid Farmstead ruins. Tap a tree, gather sap, watch it boil and learn about history and cultural significance of maple syrup. March 23, 2022. $10. 1pm-3pm. Registration is required by March 21st- Call 763-559-6700.

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

Early Readers

Middle Grade School

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Volunteer showing kids how to tap Maple Syrup at Warner Nature Center in Minnesota
Warner Nature Center – Kids Learning how to attach a sap collection bag to a hook

MORE MAPLE SUGARING FUN FOR FAMILIES

Here are some of our favorite local resources for family fun of the educational kind.

  1. 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.
  2. Learn the history of Maple Sugaring and the Ojibwe at MNopedia.
  3. Make some Maple Syrup Snow Candy with the Kitchen Pantry Scientist.
  4. Make Your Own DIY Pancake Kit for Kids with Non-Toy Gifts.
  5. 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.

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