A fun, free and educational family event returns to Hendricks County, Indiana, the first two Saturdays in March. McCloud Maple Syrup Days celebrates McCloud Nature Park's sugar maple trees and the delectable sweetness that they produce. This year's Maple Syrup Days will take place on March 5 and 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
Located just outside North Salem in the northwest section of the county, McCloud Nature Park provides a glorious outdoor experience year-round with 232 acres of hills, prairies, trees, trails, Big Walnut Creek, wetlands, a historic truss bridge, open green space, wildlife and much more. Inside McCloud, hundreds of sugar maple trees are tapped every year as Hendricks County Parks & Recreation celebrates Maple Syrup Days.
Since I work for Hendricks County Parks & Recreation, I'm a pretty good source for insider information about this popular event.
Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser
The Parks Foundation of Hendricks County is hosting the 13th Annual Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser at McCloud Nature Park on March 5 and 12 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day.
Reservations are required by clicking here. Carry-out orders are also an option while supplies last.
Freewill donations are accepted (suggested donations of $10 per adult and $6 per child), and all proceeds go to Hendricks County Parks & Recreation for future development of and improvements to McCloud Nature Park, the Vandalia Trail and W.S. Gibbs Memorial Park.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Saturday during Maple Syrup Days, our staff and volunteers will teach visitors the history behind maple syrup dating back to the Native Americans and colonial Americans, as well as how maple syrup is made today.
A few days ago, we started tapping the sugar maple trees at McCloud in our "Sugar Bush" area. You'll see our maple sugaring rigs still on the trees during Maple Syrup Days.
Our naturalists also will lead guided tours beginning at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on both days.
They will lead visitors around the park and teach you all about maple syrup. You’ll see sap buckets on the trees, learn tree identification to spot maple trees, enjoy a campfire and Native American legends and experience the steam from the evaporator in the Sugar Shack!
Tours will take 60-90 minutes and will traverse a half mile on gravel and natural surfaces. Be sure to dress for the weather and for mud because tours are held entirely outdoors.
Masks are required whenever safe distancing cannot be maintained. Group sizes may be limited.
We also have some self-guided activities taking place each day that you and your family can enjoy anytime between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
On-going self-guided activities include:
- Scavenger hunt – Pick your list up at the Nature Center, and then see if you can find everything on the list within the park!
- Storywalk – Start at the Nature Center and read a maple syrup story while walking a trail.
- Self-guided hike – Start at the Nature Center and follow the information signs along the trail, half mile on gravel and natural surfaces.
- Check out the Sugar Shack – Watch steam from the evaporator and read information signs to learn about the evaporator.
- Check out the wigwam – Kids enjoy exploring this style of Native American home.
NEW for '22! Throw a Tomahawk!
We have a brand new station coming to Maple Syrup Days in 2022! Adults will be able to throw a tomahawk at a target, and kids will be able to shoot clay pellets from slingshots at targets! This free activity is a great way to get some blood pumping, test your aim and have fun!