The beginning of March is usually the kick off to many maple syrup festivals throughout southeast Michigan. Despite the snow still covering the ground and the colder than normal temps, many parks, nature centers and science museums are still on tap for their events. When I worked at Cranbrook Institute of Science, the annual Maple Festival was one of my favorite events. It drew large crowds to learn everything you need to know about the process of and science behind tapping trees, collecting sap, making syrup and candy. The event also was a kickoff to spring (at least in my mind!).
Cranbrook’s event is only open to museum members this year but, no worries, there are several other maple programs hosted around metro Detroit. Most of these programs require registration so check ahead of time. All are family-friendly unless noted.
Maple Campfire Cookout, Friday, Feb. 28, 7:30-8:30pm: Learn about tapping a maple tree and taste samples of yummy treats you can make at home using maple syrup. Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve, Rochester Hills (Fee)
Maple Madness, Saturday, March 8, 1-2:30pm: Learn how to tap a maple tree and the process of collecting sap from the tree to make candy, syrup and more. Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve, Rochester Hills (Fee)
Maple Magic – DIY, Saturday, March 1, 1-2:30pm: Identify and tap maple trees, taste the sap and learn how to make your own syrup. Wint Nature Center (Independence Oaks County Park), Clarkston (fee)
Maple Sugaring, every Saturday in March, 11am, 12pm, 1pm: Discover how American Indians learned the process of maple sugaring. Take a guided hike to see how to tap trees, watch the process of boiling the sap into syrup and taste samples. Indian Springs Metropark, White Lake (fee)
Maple’s Sweet Story, every Saturday in March, 12-3pm: Explore the farm’s sugar bushes as you learn the process of tapping trees, collecting sap and boiling into syrup. Visitors can also visit French and Native American camps to learn about the process long ago. Kensington Metropark, Milford (fee)
Journey to the Sugar Bush, every weekend in March, 10am, 11am, 12pm: See how sap is collected and turned in syrup. Pancake breakfast is also available. Hudson Mills Metropark, Dexter (fee)