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VISIT & explore

Maple Syrup's On Tap This Spring

Maple tapping at The Morton Arboretum
Celebrate the bounty of trees and experience maple tapping and the making of maple syrup in all its stages at our annual Maple Tapping Pancake Picnic on Saturdays, March 1, 8, or 15, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 
 
Start your adventure by learning how to identify sugar maples on a hike down Thornhill Trail to our tapped sugar maple tree, where you can see for yourself how sap flows from the tree and is collected. “Even parents are impressed to see the sap dripping from the tree,” says Jane Warfel, youth and family programs coordinator. You can even taste the sap right there at the tree.
 
Its taste may surprise you, says Lesley Kolaya, manager of youth and family programs. “The sap is very watery tasting, with a hint of flavor. Tasting the sap gives you an appreciation for the rest of the process.” While you’re at the maple tree, look for the tree’s scars from past tappings.
 
Next, travel down the trail to the auger demonstration, where you learn how to safely drill into a maple without damaging the tree. It’s a favorite stop for many kids, where you can try your own hand at the auger on a fallen log. Then, head to the Shelter to make a craft and see how sap is turned into the maple syrup we all know. 
 
After working up an appetite, it’s time for our pancake picnic. Pick up your four silver dollar pancakes with a side of bacon then grab samples of four different grades of syrup to taste, by themselves or on your pancakes. Find a seat by the cozy fire and enjoy.
 
“Most people only ever taste the lower grades of syrup, as the highest grades are only available directly from sugar bush farms and aren’t sold in stores,” says Warfel. “But we have the highest grade, called Fancy, for you to taste.”
 
Preregistration is required to attend the Maple Tapping Pancake Picnic. Sign up now!