If you’re looking for a winter family-friendly activity that’s sweet, celebrates the outdoors, and is educational, why not try maple sugaring in NJ? Luckily, you don’t have to travel far—the Garden State has a bunch of places where you can learn about the process of identifying maple trees, collecting sap, making the syrup, as well as tasting the sweet sap (and bringing home the skills to tap your own trees). Scroll down to know more about maple sugaring in NJ, and for winter things to do, check out our guide to winter fun in NJ. (featured photo credit: Istock/Marc Bruxelle)
(Note: It’s always best to check ahead for in-person events)
Learn the steps in turning tree sap into delicious maple syrup at the annual all-day Maple Sugar Fest. The whole family will enjoy spending the day outdoors, hiking the trails, and partaking in a Maple Sugaring Challenge—tap it and see how much syrup you can get from the tree. Don’t miss the hot chocolate, maple vendors, and more.
Cost: Members $10 and non-members $20. Registration is required; for children ages 5 and up.
165 Hobart Ave., Summit, NJ 07901
Poricy Park Nature Center
Drill holes, hammer in tappers, and hang buckets, all for a delicious, sweet treat as you learn the steps of making maple syrup at Poricy Park Nature Center. The walk down and back is approximately .5 miles. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Cost: $5 for residents and $6 for non-residents. Register online through community pass.
345 Oak Hill Road, Red Bank 07701
Environmental Education Center in Basking Ridge
February 11, 12, 18,19, 25 and 26
Take part in a 60-minute outdoor program at the Sugar Shack, a half-mile hike from the Environmental Center. See how trees are tapped, view sap-collecting methods from the past and today, and see the boiling process used to make maple syrup.
Cost: $6 per student/senior or $7 per adult
190 Lord Stirling Road, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920
(908) 722-1200 x5002
Collect sap and start the sugaring process at Echo Hill. Meet at the playground and then walk to the sugar bush (a 5-10 minute walk) to discover how syrup can be found even in your backyard.
Cost: $3 per person. Ages: 6 through adult (children must be accompanied by an adult).
42 Lilac Drive, Flemington, NJ 08822 US
Tenafly Nature Center
February 12, 19, 26, and March 5, 12, 19, 26
Make a day of it at this popular nature center where you can learn how to identify a maple tree, hear about the history of maple sugaring and see how the technology has changed.
Cost: Children under 2 are free, members $8, member family (up to 6) $60, non-members $12. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required.
313 Hudson Avenue, Tenafly, NJ 07670
Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center
February 18, 19, 25, 26, and March 4, 5, 11 or 12
At this event, you’ll identify and tap maple trees, collect sap, and make real maple syrup over a wood-fired evaporator. Spiles and syrup will be available for purchase while supplies last.
Cost: $6 per person; Pre-registration is required; for ages 6 and up.
Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center, 247 Southern Boulevard, Chatham, NJ 07928
Maple Sugaring at the Hermitage
During this program, you’ll learn how to identify sugar maple trees and tap them. They will be tapping a total of 15 trees, and you will even be able to tap one of your own in the end—a great way to try maple sugaring in NJ in your backyard.
Cost: Families $35 and Individuals $15
335 Franklin Turnpike, Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ 07423
Howell Living History Farm
February 18 and 25
On this historic farm, you’ll watch farmers collect sap in the woods, make syrup in the sap house, and then taste it on top of whole wheat pancakes after visiting the farmhouse kitchen. Take your newfound knowledge home to tap maple sugar in your backyard. Tree Tapping demonstrations are limited to 25 participants.
70 Woodens Lane, Hopewell Township, NJ 08530
Trailside Nature Center
February 18 and 19
This program shows the journey of sap to syrup and, afterward, warm up with a cup of hot chocolate by the fire. There will be a wildlife event before and a winter walk scavenger hunt after the maple sugaring event.
Cost: $7 for Union County residents and $8 for non-county residents. Pre-registration is required, and it’s weather permitting. Recommended for families with children ages 4 and up.
452 New Providence Road, Mountainside, NJ 07092
The New Weis Center
February 18, 19, 25, 26, and March 5
Learn about the process, history, and ecology of maple sap and syrup. Start with a short hike, and they’ll you’ll see how to tap, collect and evaporate the sap. Finish off the day with a syrup taste test.
Cost: $14 per person; free for those under age 5. Under 18 must be accompanied by a registered adult.
150 Snake Den Road, Ringwood, NJ 07456
Rancocas Nature Center
Take a self-guided hike with multiple interactive stations along the Rancocas trails. Learn about the sugar maple tree and the history of maple sugaring, watch a tapping demo, and taste the rewards. There will be a campfire burning too.
Cost: members $9, $30 family of 5, non-members $11, and $40 for a family of 5
794 Rancocas Mt. Holly Road, Westhampton, NJ 08060
(609) 261-2495 or email@example.com
Give your kids a lesson on the history, folklore, and science of maple sugaring. Visit maple trees, find out how they are tapped using drills and spiles, and try a sample of sweet maple sugar. You will have an up-close view of the evaporation process and how sticky sap transforms into sweet maple syrup.
Cost: $10 per child. $10 per adult. For ages 5 and up. Adult attendance is required.
31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington, NJ 08534, US
Van Vleck Gardens
Take the family on a journey of discovery as they identify a sugar maple tree, learn the steps for turning sap into syrup, and visit a tapped sugar maple tree in the Van Vleck Gardens. This tour will take you through several learning stations, including activity sheets, informative displays, and educators.
Cost: $25-$35. Online registration is required.
21 Van Vleck Street, Montclair, 07042
Schiff Natural Lands Trust & Schiff Nature Preserve
This educational presentation will explain the history of maple sugaring, the seasonal life cycle of the sugar maple tree, and how syrup is made, starting with identifying a maple tree by tapping the tree. Watch a wood-fired evaporator at work and then sample the sweet stuff. There’s also a two-mile field walk to the working maple grove if you’re up for it.
Cost: Free for Schiff members, and the non-member fee is $5 per person (ages 3 & up))
339 Pleasant Valley Road (Use 339 Schiff Dr in your GPS), Mendham, NJ 07945
Happy Day Farm
March 11, 12, 18 and 19
Did you know it takes about 80 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup? Take a tractor ride on the 130-acre farm with over 600 maple trees, where you’ll see the sugar bush and learn about the equipment needed to collect sap. Also, you’ll get to ID maple trees and even help in the tapping process.
Cost: $18 per person; children under 1 are free. Tickets will be sold at the door only. Cash only
106 Iron Ore Road, Manalapan, NJ 07726
Miller-Cory House Museum Maple Sugar Sunday Story Time and Craft
Kids will love to learn how maple sugar rises and flows and how it is collected using wooden buckets and handmade spiles. After, they’ll have storytime and a craft. There will also be open hearth cooking with period recipes and techniques.
Cost: $5 for adults and children 13 and older, $4 for children ages 3-12. Free for 3 and under*
614 Mountain Avenue, Westfield, NJ 07090
It’s the annual open house to try maple sugaring in NJ. See how the trees are tapped and syrup is made. The farm will post more details closer to the event.
Cost: More information will be posted as soon as it is available.
50 Neilson Road, Wantage, NJ 07461
Are you going to try maple sugaring in NJ this winter? Let us know!
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