Maple Syrup Magic at MacKenzie: A feast for the senses

John tastes maple sap right from the spial at Maple Syrup Fest on April 2, 2011.

What could be better than tasting maple sap right from the tree? Not much.

What are the chances that John will forget where maple syrup comes from?  Not likely.

Doing, tasting, touching, seeing, anything that activates the senses, increases the odds that kids – and adults – will retain knowledge. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s fun.

Maple Syrup Fest at MacKenzie Environmental Education Center is a feast for the senses.  We started with a pancake breakfast and then enjoyed a horse-drawn wagon ride. The horses were shedding so hair blew back on us as we rode along. We tasted sap right from the tree and then saw how it’s boiled down to make the yummy syrup we ate at breakfast.

Cougars once roamed in Wisconsin. They have been extirpated.

The kids climbed the fire tower where they felt a cold breeze and got a good view. Finally, kids saw a lot of wildlife. Mackenzie has a Wisconsin Wildlife exhibit where the kids saw white-tailed deer, fox, otter, cougar, bobcat, eagle, hawks and more. Where else can you see a bobcat and a cougar?

Today will reach 80 degrees marking the end of maple syrup time. It’s a magical time of year to savor the end of winter and to soak up the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the spring.

Diane Schwartz is the Outdoor Education Specialist at the Goodman Community Center in Madison, WI. She takes kids and their families on monthly outings. The next trip is April 16th at the Arboretum. As always, register for this blog now and receive a free 11-page bubble activity guide. Thank you for reading.

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