Thursday, March 13, 2014

Maple Syrup Fests Near Chicago #EcoFriendly #Nature

Syrup in the City

We're big fans of showing our children where their food comes from.  They've tapped Maple trees, gathered eggs from real chickens on a farm, and picked blueberries, strawberries, and apples.  It's especially important for urban kids to have that connection to nature.  

I have fond memories of maple syrup fests and tree tapping demos from my own childhood.  The best news is, if you live in or near Chicago, you don't have to go to Vermont or travel far from home.  We've gone to the Maple Syrup Festival at North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 North Pulaski Road, Chicago for years and tapped trees there as a family & with a school group. The fest runs 10am - 3pm Saturday & Sunday, March 22 & 23 & it's free. 

Make crafts, taste sap from the trees & see it boiling in a big vat outdoors & taste it once it's condensed.  Walk simple loop trails, hear a story teller, make a craft or warm up by the fire inside or out.  Click here for our past North Park Nature Center Features.

Other Area Maple Syrup Fests in the Burbs

Maple Tapping Pancake Picnic
Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle 
March 15

Here at ChiIL Mama we adore Morton Arboretum.  Click here to check out our past photo features on this true gem then sign up for some sweet, maple syrup fun this weekend.
Kids can learn how to identify sugar maples, and see how sap flows from the tree and is collected. Then they can try their hand at the auger on a fallen log and make a craft at the Shelter and see how sap is turned into the maple syrup. The Pancake Picnic includes silver dollar pancakes and bacon with four different grades of syrup to taste. Pre-registration required. 11am - 1pm. $18 members, $25 non-members, includes admission.

Festival of the Sugar Maples
Coral Woods Conservation Area, 7400 Somerset, Marengo 
March 15-16
Hear how maple syrup was discovered hundreds of years ago, learn how sap is collected from trees, and see how maple syrup is made at the evaporator. Free shuttle to breakfast on Sundays at different locations, see web site for details. 10am - 3pm. Pancake Breakfast $3 child, $6 adult.

Maple Sugaring Days
Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville 
Saturday 10 am-4 pm, Sunday 1-4 pm. $12/adult, $10/senior (62), $8/youth (4-12).
March 15-16
Learn how the early settlers of Naperville tapped maple trees and then turned the sap into maple syrup. Learn to dance a reel, watch cooking demo, see how sap is turned to syrup, make a leaf rubbing and enjoy a Maple Popcorn Ball treat.

Sugar Bush Fair
Spring Valley Nature Center, 1111 E. Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg
March 22-24
See authentic demonstrations of maple syrup production, a pioneer sugar camp, children’s puppet show and a hayride. Then enjoy a delicious breakfast of pancakes with real maple syrup, sausage, juice and coffee. 9am - noon. General admission is free, with tickets required for breakfast and available at the Nature Center two weeks before the event. Pre-sale tickets are $3.50 for a half stack and $4.50 for a full stack. Day-of prices are $4 for a half stack and $5 for a full stack.

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