It's the sweetest season of the year: maple-tapping time! And all across Chicagoland, nature centers are rising to the occasion. Hit up one of these event for a sweet (and educational) time, but bring your own wet wipes.
Walk in the sugar maple forest as winter comes to an end to learn about the sweet history of maple syrup making.
Find out what bats live here, what they like to eat and where they go in the winter months. Enjoy hands-on activities, experiments, hikes, stories and crafts. Please dress your child for the weather.
Learn the art of tapping trees to make maple syrup. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult.
Learn the history of maple sugaring and evolution of the sap collection process, then taste Coral Woods maple syrup. Tours start every 15 minutes, last an hour, and involve a half-mile hike. Dress for the weather. On Sunday, you can stop for breakfast before or after the Festival, at Smithwood BBQ Grill, 6517 Main St. Breakfast is $6 adults and $3 kids, and is served from 7 a.m.-noon.
Learn the time-honored method of collecting sap the old-fashioned way and try a maple treat.
Features a pancake breakfast, authentic demonstrations of maple syrup production, a pioneer sugar camp, children's puppet show and a wagon shuttle to event area. Syrup and other goodies available for purchase.
Features a guided stroll through the woods to discover the secret of turning tree sap into syrup.
Learn how trees are tapped and sap is collected, visit the sugar shack where the sap from the tree is boiled, evaporating the water and leaving sweet syrup, talk to colorful Voyageur-era volunteers as they make maple sugar over an open fire, see the miller grind corn into cornmeal, watch the video “Maple Sugar Farmer” and stop by the General Store to urchase pure maple syrup, maple sugar candy, and maple souvenirs, as well as Amish-made apple butter, preserves, maple tea and more.
Learn how real maple syrup is made, and enjoy lunch from food trucks with maple syrup-focused menus.
Watch how maple sap is turned into delicious maple syrup, and learn how people through the ages and even animals like woodpeckers, have tapped maple trees for maple sap. Programs begin on the hour. Maple-themed snacks and hot beverages will be available for a small fee (cash or check only).
See the entire maple syrup-making process from tapping the tree and collecting the sap, to boiling it down into syrup. Take a walk through the sugar bush, enjoy storytelling, make a maple craft, warm up by the fire, and taste real maple syrup fresh off the fire.
Take a guided hike to learn the history of maple tapping and see how it’s done. Complete your experience with maple syrup sampling and family style brunch.
Celebrate the arrival of spring with a special day of activities including crafts, games, tree tapping and maple syrup history.