Maple Syrup Festival

Can you see all the syrup on my face?
Since Daddy was out of town for the weekend, Eliel and I decided to check out a local maple syrup festival at River Trails.  They've been tapping the maple trees for a few weeks now and today, they had a special festival to show how they boil down the syrup.  In addition, they also have games for the kids, face painting, puppet shows, animals talks and even a walk through the forest to see how and where they tap the trees.  Eliel wasn't too interested in the walk but I would have loved to go and see how they do it.  Maybe next year.

Look Mama!  A Snake!
Big Bird
In addition to the fest, River Trails Nature Center also has a slew of different animals that are indigenous to the area.   Eliel loved looking at the turtles and fish but he was too nervous to pet one of the snakes even though I did.  Outside, they also have larger mammals and birds that were found injured and unable to be released in to the wild.  Eliel especially liked the 'dog' (coyote) and the big bird (eagle).

Heat on Mama!  (Boiling down the syrup)
After seeing some of the animals, we went over to the area where they were boiling down the syrup.  There were two examples.  One was how they did it a long time again with heating up rocks and then putting them into the maple syrup to boil away the water.  I can't imagine how long and hard that must have been.  Maple syrup is more than 75% water so it takes a lot of heat and time to boil it down.  The second example we saw was a 'sugar shack' in which they had large boilers and were boiling it down.  Eliel though the steam was a heater on and loved watching the steam rise up into the chimney.  He of course didn't realize what they were actually doing but it was interesting to him just the same.
Look fire!

The best part was all the yummy treats there were!  There were samples of maple syrup with french toast sticks.  Eliel and I ate a few and when the sticks were gone, we didn't want to waste the maple syrup so we drank the rest.  It tasted amazing!  After that, we tried some maple syrup on ice as well and finished off a bag of popcorn together.  It was a great snack!

As we were leaving, Eliel asked if we could bring Daddy back next time to see the ducks.  I think that's a very good idea!