As winter starts melting away, it’s maple syrup time! Several locations in the Twin Cities area are offering maple syrup programs through March and April. Costs vary, but some of the programs are free and many are low-cost.
Beware, though: once you learn about – and taste – real maple syrup you will never want to use anything else on your pancakes. Yum!
Fort Snelling State Park – Maple Syruping in Your Backyard
Come to Fort Snelling in March (3/18-3/19 and 3/25-3/26) for their annual Maple Syruping in Your Backyard workshop. Learn about the natural history of maple trees and the history of making maple syrup. Find out what equipment is required, how to tap trees, how to process sap into syrup, and taste the syrup. No registration is required and the program is free, but keep in mind that you will need to pay for a daily vehicle permit ($5).
If you live in greater Minnesota, there are other maple syruping events going on statewide, including Whitewater State Park, Wild River State Park, and Maplewood State Park.
Maplewood Nature Center – Sap Into Syrup
Families with kids ages 6 and up can come to Maplewood Nature Center on Saturday, 3/18 from 2-3:30 p.m. Get acquainted with the tools and equipment and help tap a real tree, then do a taste test to compare the real stuff to the fake stuff. Cost is $5/child, prepay by 3/16.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (Chanhassen) – Maple Fest
Head south to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen for their MapleFest Buffet Brunch on Saturday, 3/18 or Sunday, 3/19. Cost is $13 for ages 9 and up, $9 for ages 9 and under. If you come to the brunch, you’ll also get free gate admission for the day.
Otherwise, just come for demos from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on either day (free with gate admission). Try tree tapping, watch sap cooking down to syrup, and more.
Three Rivers Park District – LOTS of Events
The Three Rivers Park District always has a lot of maple syruping events, and this year is no different. There are many different events going on in March, most of which are low-cost or free.
Bring the kids to Eastman Nature Center in Dayton for games and tasting or go on a horse-drawn trolley ride at The Landing in Shakopee. French Regional Park in Plymouth has a maple syruping festival, or you can experience the whole maple syruping process at Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista.
Wargo Nature Center (Lino Lakes) – Maple Syrup Festival
Come to Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes for the Maple Syrup Festival on Sunday, 3/19 from 2-4 p.m. Cost is $5/person; register online in advance.
Even More Ideas
Want to take a day trip? Check out this extensive list of Midwest maple syrup festivals in February, March and April.
PS – If you can’t make it to one of these events but still want to experience real maple syrup, this Coombs Family Farms Organic Maple Syrup is available for $23.65 for a 32-oz. jug when you check out with Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program. Yes, that’s a little spendy, but seriously, ya’ll – it is so. good. As I recall, Costco has a decent price on organic maple syrup, as well (and Sam’s Club does, too).