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Maple Sugaring Syrup Events in Southeast Michigan

In March, our state's trees are ready to supply a sweet treat! Learn about the process in fun hands-on family events set for 2014.

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Ever make syrup? Mark your calendars for March. Maple season booms around this time, as warmer (relatively speaking) days and cold nights get trees' sap flowing. In fact, last year, Michigan was No. 6 nationwide for maple syrup production at 148,000 gallons! Nature centers in southeast Michigan offer fun programs that teach families the process (did you know it takes somewhere around 40-60 gallons of tree sap to make one gallon of syrup? Holy cow!). Here's what's in store in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties this season.

Note! When weather stays below freezing during the day, sap typically won't flow through the trees – so, even though you can watch the "tapping" process, you won't see the sap actually flow out of the trees. Be sure to call ahead; while most programs still run, some might get canceled (with this very cold winter we've had in 2014, it's safest to check!). Also, it's a good idea to call ahead in general, as most programs require advance registration (we note that right under the dates, where applicable).

Maple Syrup DIY at Wint Nature Center

March 1, 2014

  • Register: By afternoon on Friday, Feb. 28; must call in advance
  • Address: Lewis E. Wint Nature Center, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston
  • Phone: 248-858-0916 (during the week) or 248-625-6473
  • Times: 1-2:30 p.m.
  • Cost: $5/program (if paying for program, park vehicle entry fee is waived)

While Wint doesn't have an operating sugar bush, its program shows families the whole nine yards, including how to identify and tap trees – and simple tips and recipes to inspire you to try making your own batch of maple syrup at home, too.

Maple Sugaring Through the Ages at Oakwoods Metropark

March 1 and 22, 2014

  • Register: Must do so ASAP in advance; space is limited
  • Address: Oakwoods Metropark Nature Center, 17845 Savage Road, Belleville
  • Phone: 734-782-3956
  • Times: 10 a.m. Saturdays
  • Cost: $3/person, $7/vehicle entry fee

Freeze or no, this program's a go. Offers fun hands-on demonstrations about the yummy art of gathering sap to make syrup, sugar, candy and more. Includes an outdoor hike to the sugar shack and indoor portions – plus samples to taste. Starter kits, coloring books and more are for sale, too.

Maple Sugaring at Indian Springs Metropark

March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 2014

  • Register: Do so ASAP in advance to ensure space (pre-pay, too)
  • Address: Indian Springs Metropark, 5175 Indian Trail, White Lake
  • Phone: 248-625-7280
  • Times: 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. Saturdays
  • Cost: $5/person, $7/vehicle admission fee

Learn how American Indians discovered the sugaring process; then hike out to the sugar bush to see it in action! No one leaves without getting a taste of pure maple syrup. Even if it freezes, this event is a go.

Maple Sweetness at Wolcott Mill Metropark

March 1-2, 8, 22-23, 29-30, 2014

  • Register: Must register and pay advance; call ahead as soon as possible (slots fill quickly)
  • Address: Historic Center of Wolcott Mill Metropark, 64100 Kunstman Road, Ray Township
  • Phone: 586-749-5997
  • Times: 1 and 3 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays (note: doesn't occur Sunday, March 9)
  • Cost: $5/adult, $3/child, $7/Metroparks vehicle day pass

Note: While this event is still set for March 1-2, the center staff tells Metro Parent that since temps are predicted to be below freezing, the sap won't be running. You can still attend, but may want to call for a recommendation.

At this this popular program, kids can get hands-on with the trees, tools and tapping all required to create maple syrup – plus enjoy crafts, a short film and more. Dress for the weather, since part of the program is outside.

Maple's Sweet Story at Kensington Metropark

March 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, 29-30, 2014

  • Address: Kensington Metropark Farm Center, 2240 W. Buno Road, Milford
  • Phone: 810-227-8910
  • Times: noon-3 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays (guided tours leave every half hour); 9 a.m.-2 p.m. breakfast
  • Cost: $5/adults, $3/ages 3-12, free/2 and under, additional charge for breakfast, $7/vehicle admission fee

Even if the temps are cold, this program goes on (with a few minor alterations if the sap doesn't flow).  It includes a guided walk through the sugar bush, where your family gets to see how trees are tapped and sap is collected. A French/native camp demos how techniques have changed through the years. Portion happens in a heated classroom. Drop in!

Backyard Sugaring at Oakwoods Metropark

March 8, 2014

  • Register: ASAP in advance; space is limited
  • Address: Oakwoods Metropark Nature Center, 17845 Savage Road, Belleville
  • Phone: 734-782-3956
  • Times: 2 p.m.
  • Cost: $3/person, $7/vehicle entry fee

Geared at folks who have their own maple trees and want to learn the craft of making syrup, this event explores the principles and coaches you on creating your own small-scale setup.

Maple Syrup Time at Lloyd A. Stage Nature Center

March 1, 8 and 15

  • Register: Must do so in advance
  • Address: Lloyd A. Stage Nature Center, 6685 Coolidge Highway, Troy
  • Phone: 248-688-9703
  • Times: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays (tours leave every half hour)
  • Cost: $8/adults, $6/ages 4-12

Discover the tapping process, hike the sugar bush, visit a historic-style sugar camp, see what's cooking in the sugar shed and enjoy mini waffles. Ages 4-plus. Note that even if temps are freezing, this even will occur.

Sweet Treats at Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve

March 8, 2014

  • Register: By Wednesday, March 5 (act fast; as of Feb. 27, there were only nine slots left)
  • Address: Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve, 333 N. Hill Circle, Rochester
  • Phone: 248-656-0999
  • Times: noon-2:30 p.m. Saturday
  • Cost: $3-$5/person, $12-$20/family

Enjoy a demonstration of tree tapping and learn how the sap transforms into super sweet treats. Plus, you'll indeed enjoy some edible treats – including, but not necessarily limited to, maple sugar candy (you'll see how that's made, too!). Even if the weather is below freezing, this program run.

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