February 22, 2016

Visiting the Sugarbush: Maple Syrup Events for the Family

I love real maple syrup. It's yummy on pancakes and waffles and even used as an ice cream topping! I even love making homemade maple syrup with the family, it's easy to do and yields wonderful results. If you don't want to make your own though, in Washtenaw County and close to Ann Arbor, there are several places where families can go to learn about maple syrup, it's history and how to make your own maple syrup!

February 27: The first event to highlight is the Sap to Syrup – Making It Yourself program through Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation on February 27. Each program ( 1:00-2:00 p.m. and 3:00-4:00 p.m.) is limited to 25 attendees though and pre-registration is required. The free event for children ages 4+ and adults will be hosted at County Farm Park (Field Operations Bldg., next to playground at Platt Rd. entrance) and it will teach you all you need to know to make some maple syrup at home! To reserve your space, call 971-6337, X334 or email stonerf@ewashtenaw.org.

February 27-28: Visit Belleville for Maple Sugaring Through the Ages (10:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m.) at the
Oakwoods Metropark Nature Center (17845 Savage Road, Belleville, MI 48111). Learn about the methods used to collect maple sap and how the maple tree sustained early Americans. Preregister at 1-800-477-3182 or 734-782-3956.

March 2: Saturdays in March at the Hudson Mills Activity Center (8801 N. Territorial Rd., Dexter), families can Journey to the Sugar Bush on a guided tour traveling back in time to experience how maple syrup has been made over the years. While you are there, enjoy an all you can eat pancake and sausage breakfast served from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. The guided tour (10:00 or 11:00 a.m. noon and by appointment) is $3/person with the pancake breakfast at $3.50/child and $5.50/adult. Call 734-426-8211734-426-8211 to register.

March 5: At the  Hudson Mills Activity Center (8801 N. Territorial Rd., Dexter) families can journey to the sugar bush on a guided tour traveling back in time to experience how maple syrup has been made over the years. While you are there, enjoy an all you can eat pancake and sausage breakfast served from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. The guided tour (10:00, 11:00 a.m. and noon and by appointment) is $5/Adult or $3/Children  Breakfast (additional):  $5.50/Adults or $3.50/Children.  Please pre-register at (734) 426-8211

March 19: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at the Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center at the Waterloo Recreation Area (17030 Bush Rd., Chelsea) families can join in the fun at the Old-time Maple Syrup Festival to observe the process of making maple syrup from tree to the pancake! Observe demonstrations of the whole process of making maple syrup from collecting the sap to the evaporation process, watch a short film demonstrating old-time methods and find many maple products for sale. Program fees are $2/person or $5/family for non-members of the Waterloo Natural History Association. Contact 734-475-3170 for more information.

Weekends throughout March 27, Arbor families can take a short drive to visit learn "Maples Sweet Story" at Kensington Metropark (2240 W. Buno Rd., Milford). Tours are given every half hour from noon until 3:00 p.m. where families can learn about maple sugaring. Stop in for a hot breakfast from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Farmhouse Grille, and then head on a guided tour to the sugar bush to see the maple sugaring process, including tapping trees and boiling down the sap. You might even see some Native American re-enactors telling the tale of the sugarbush!  For more information call 800-477-3178800-477-3178. A Metroparks vehicle entry permit is required to enter any Metropark in addition to a small fee of $3/adults and $1/seniors and children 3 to 12 years; kids under 3 are free.

Real maple syrup is very much worth the effort and worth checking out, so if your children would enjoy trying something a little different, be sure to check out the full list of Metroparks Maple Syrup programs and events around Ann Arbor in the coming month! Or if you feel up to the challenge try your hand at making maple syrup with your family, it's really easy to do.


  1. A friend of mine in Belleville is also hosting a "Make Your Own Maple Syrup" event on February 24 at her local farm. Check it out: https://www.facebook.com/events/484315181618460/

  2. I heard that it's almost maple syrup time at McLennan Maple Syrup in Manchester too - Tours and tastings are starting up, and on March 9 there is a pancake breakfast! http://www.mclennangardens.com/