Maple Sugaring in New Jersey
Get your sugar fix at these sweet tree-tapping events happening this winter in New Jersey.
Updated January 2016
Tis the season—to go maple sugaring! For families with a sweet tooth looking for something fun to do this winter, check out these places around NJ with maple-sugaring events, so you can see how the real thing is collected and made and taste-test different varieties around the state. You might even come home with a bottle of the homemade goodness to drizzle on your pancakes and waffles. Mmmmm!
(If you arrive home with fresh NJ maple syrup, try making one of these tasty recipes.)
Tap a tree and see the maple sugaring process at the farm. Participate in activities and nature hikes focused on wildlife, tree identification, best forestry practices and climate change as it relates to sugar maple trees found in the forests on the property. Taste homemade New Jersey maple syrup and see a live sawmill demonstration.
Every Saturday and Sunday from February 20–March 13
See how maple trees are tapped, witness various sap-collecting methods used both today and in the past and get a bird’s-eye view of the boiling process for making New Jersey maple syrup. The 90-minute program happens at the Sugar Shack, where you’ll hike the half-mile from the meeting place at the Environmental Education Center. Dress for the weather and wear boots!
Head to the nature center for Winter Break Camp Days and participate in fun activities including tapping sugar maple trees to make syrup, building forts, taking hikes, making bird feeders, following animal tracks and more.
Come out for "A Winter's Day on the Farm," where maple tapping will be part of the fun, along with a wagon ride, a visit to the farmhouse and meeting the animals.
Saturdays and Sundays January 17–February 28 (except February 7) + March 5
Learn how to identify and tap maple trees, collect sap and make syrup over a wood-fired evaporator. Taste-test different delicious syrups, including those made on the premises. On February 16, there's a Preschool Walk, where little ones will learn how maple tree sap is turned into sweet syrup, taste the finished product and make a maple-themed craft.
On March 5, check out Great Swamp's Maple Sugar Festival, and enjoy maple sugar snow cones, taste tests of maple cream and syrup, crafts, games, tree tapping demos and more. Admission is $4 per person, rain or shine.
Home-schooled kids can come to this environmental center to learn all about maple-sugaring out in the field and see how it’s done up close.
March 5, 6, 12 & 13
Participate in a hands-on demonstration of home maple sugar production and see how it’s all done.
January 30 + March 6
Come to the arboretum first for a maple sugaring demo to kick off the season on January 30, when one of the staffers will tap the maple trees in preparation for this season's sap flow, teaching the hows and whys behind the process and enlisting the help of all those there. Then its Maple Sugaring Fest is on March 6, where you’ll learn how early settlers tapped maple trees and turned the sap into delicious maple syrup, participate in a family scavenger hunt and see whether you can successfully complete the "Maple Syrup Challenge." Round out the day with a sampling of maple syrup made on the premises.
Learn about the history and process of maple sugaring at Somerset County Library’s Bound Brook branch and get tips on maple-sugaring techniques.
Search for maple trees, learn how they're tapped for syrup, and go through the process of sugaring. Then, enjoy different types of maple syrup. Perfect for children ages 4–12.
February 15 + March 5
On February 15, head to the Watershed Center for the Birds-n-Brunch Mini-Camp, where kids can participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, then bundle up for a trek outside and a lesson on maple sugaring. Visit tapped trees and the evaporation station and then sit down to a pancake brunch made with the preserve's own maple syrup. On March 5, there's a Maple Sugaring Brunch & Hike, during which you'll walk to the tapped trees, learn about the process of converting maple sap to syrup and then visit the evaporation station, with a pancake brunch and homemade maple syrup afterwards.
Every Sunday from February 7–March 20 + April 3
Learn how to identify a maple tree and about the history of syrup-making. Then check Tenafly’s tapped trees and boil down sap to make fresh, warm maple syrup. Afterwards, taste the sweet treat. On April 3, head to the center for its annual Pancake Brunch & Maple Sugaring event.
For kids in grades 2–12, the Sap to Syrup program teaches how real maple syrup is made from the sap of a New Jersey sugar maple tree. Students will find out what equipment is needed to collect sap and take part in a taste test to see if they can identify the real thing. They’ll walk the grounds and see a working tap in action, plus learn how to spot a maple tree. Specific dates TBA.