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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.

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.

 

Old Time Maple Syrup Festival at Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center

March 8, 2014

  • Register: Must do so in advance; act fast to secure space
  • Address: Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center, 17030 Bush Road, Chelsea
  • Phone: 734-475-3170
  • Times: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday
  • Cost: Free

This traditional rite of spring gets its due at Eddy. Learn how maple syrup is made, and then enjoy a pancake and sausage breakfast at the nearby Chelsea American Legion Post 31. Also includes guided walks that demonstrate the various parts of the process. See a film and a display, too, and buy a few maple products on your way out.

Maple Syrup Pancake Breakfast and Tours at McLennan Gardens

March 8, 2014 (note: also offers tours by appointment throughout March)

  • Address: McLennan Gardens, 110950 M-52, Manchester
  • Phone: 734-428-7005
  • Time: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (tours start every two hours)
  • Cost: breakfast: $6/adults, $3/children (sides of sausage are extra); tours: $5/person

Swing on by for pancakes served with this spot's famous estate-made Michigan maple syrup! Take a tour to explore its syrup-making operation, too, including handle tools and supplies, a sugar shack and more – plus kids enjoying coloring and crafts. Then, taste test some maple candy and syrup on ice cream. Ask about setting up a tour, too, if you can't make it!

Maple Syrup Tour at Maybury Farm

March 8-9, 15-16, 22-23 and 29-30, 2014
Note! Canceled March 1-2 due to freezing weather

  • Register: Call in advance to ensure a spot, and to make sure the program is a go (will cancel if weather is too cold)
  • Address: Maybury Farm, 50165 Eight Mile Road, Northville
  • Phone: 248-374-0200
  • Times: 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays
  • Cost: $6/person, free/under 2

This annual event features hayrides! You'll see the entire process, including the tapping, sugar shack and transforming sap into maple syrup. The welcome center offers hot chocolate and coffee for sale, plus maple goodies. Dress for the weather, boots are a must.

Journey to the Sugar Bush at Hudson Mills Metropark

March 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, 29-30 and April 5-6, 2014
Note! Canceled March 1-2 due to freezing weather; expanded extra weekend

  • Register: Must do so in advance; either way be sure to call, in case of further freeze-related cancelations!
  • Address: Hudson Mills Metropark, 8801 N. Territorial Road, Dexter
  • Phone: 734-426-8211
  • Times: 10 and 11 a.m. and noon Saturdays-Sundays; 9 a.m.-2 p.m. breakfast
  • Cost: event: $3/person; breakfast: $3.50/kids, $5.50/adults; $7/vehicle day pass

Explore the historic art of collecting sap and processing it into syrup with this fun learning program. Before you do, though, be sure to plunk down the few extra bucks (and get there a bit early) to savor a sample on pancakes.

Maple Sugaring in Your Own Backyard at Farmington Hills Nature Center

March 9 and 23, 2014

  • Register: By the Friday before (two days in advance; be sure to call)
  • Address: Farmington Hills Nature Center, 24915 Farmington Road, Farmington Hills
  • Phone: 248-477-1135
  • Times: 1-3 p.m. Sundays, March 9 and 23
  • Cost: $7/person, $21/family of four

It's DIY syrup time! The entire family gets involved in identifying maple trees and seeing how sap is collected, boiled down and transformed into syrup. Top it off with a treat and instructions to take home. Word has it there'll be some real maple syrup to try on pancakes, too.

Maple Syrup Festival at Wolcott Mill Metropark

March 15-16, 2014

  • Address: Historic Center of Wolcott Mill Metropark, 64100 Kunstman Road, Ray Township
  • Phone: 586-749-5997
  • Times: noon-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
  • Cost: $5/adults, $3/kids, $7/Metroparks vehicle day pass

Swing by to learn how to make maple syrup, complete with crafting, taste testing and an outdoor fire to warm you up along the way. Maple syrup goods are for sale, too. At the park entrance, sign up to try some pancakes with real maple syrup, too.

Cass Benton Park in Northville

March 15 and 22, 2014

  • Register: By the Friday before
  • Address: Cass Benton Park, Northville Road, north of Six Mile Road, Northville
  • Phone: 734-261-1990
  • Times: 10 and 11 a.m. and noon, Saturdays
  • Cost: $6-$7/kids, $2-$3/adults

A historic "sugar bush" still exists in this area. Dress for a short trail hike and check out tree-tapping, pancakes and then enjoy a sample of the real deal.

Maple Syrup Day at Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center

March 29, 2014

  • Register: Must register and pay in advance at the center, as this is a ticketed, popular event that sells out early
  • Address: Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center, 4101 River Bends Drive, Shelby Township
  • Phone: 586-323-2478
  • Times: programs start at 11 a.m., noon, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.
  • Cost: $3/person

Check out the whole maple sugaring process with various demonstrations, from tapping a tree with an old-school "brace and bit" and boiling it down to enjoying some real warm syrup on top of ice cream. All ages welcome.

Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser at Stage Nature Center

March 30, 2014

  • Register: Recommended to guarantee spot; walk-ins welcome as space allows
  • Address: Lloyd A. Stage Nature Center, 6685 Coolidge Highway, Troy
  • Phone: 248-524-3567
  • Times: 10-11:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Costs: $8/adults, $5/ages 3-12

Gather for pancakes, sausage and real maple syrup and support the Troy Nature Society. Ages 3 to adult are welcome. Proceeds benefit programming at the Lloyd A. Stage Nature Center.

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