When it comes to making maple syrup, St. Louis clearly isn't the first place that comes to mind. Vermont, Maine, and other New England states are famous for producing high-quality syrup, but St. Louis can make maple syrup too! One good way to learn about the process is to attend the annual Maple Sugar Festival at Rockwoods Reservation in St. Louis County.
When and Where: Festival Details
The Maple Sugar Festival is held each winter at the beginning of February. Admission and parking are free. You do not need to make reservations but do dress warmly for the cold weather.
The festival is held at the Missouri Department of Conservation's Rockwoods Reservation. The reservation is located at 2751 Glencoe Road in Wildwood. To get there, take I-44 to the Eureka exit (#264). Then, exit onto Highway 109 and go north for about four miles to Woods Avenue. Go west on Woods Avenue until you reach Glencoe Road. Follow Glencoe north to Rockwoods Reservation.
What to See and Do
The Maple Sugar Festival is a learning experience for the whole family. Guides will teach you how to find and tap maple trees. Then, see different ways of collecting the sap and boiling it down to make maple sugar and syrup. Finally, enjoy samples of freshly made sugar and syrup and other maple treats. Rockwoods Reservation also offers other classes for anyone who wants to better learn the skills to make maple syrup at home.
Rockwoods Reservation is one of the more popular conservation areas in the St. Louis region with more than 1,800 acres. It's open daily from sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Rockwoods Reservation offers outdoor activities like hiking, picnicking, biking, and bird watching. In fact, the reservation has been designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon Missouri because of its abundance and diversity of birds.
There is also an Education Center that's open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The center has information and exhibits about the wildlife, fish, and geography of Missouri. If you can't make it to the Maple Sugar Festival, the reservation hosts events and classes throughout the year for children and families. There are guided hikes, eagle spotting, owl prowls, and more. Many of the events are free.