Red Oak Nature Center will be offering an early, sweet taste of spring Saturday, March 15, when the annual MapleFest takes place.
The event is free to the public, and registration is requested only for groups of 10 or more.
Tours will run every hour beginning at 9 a.m. with final tour at 1 p.m. with naturalists from Red Oak leading visitors to various stations in the woods to view demonstrations of how maple sap is harvested and turned into maple syrup. Each group will tap a maple tree, then witness the process of how sap is boiled and converted into syrup. Group taste-tests will follow.
"Early spring is the perfect time to collect maple sap because the days start getting warmer but the nights are still cold," said Margaret Gazdacka, facility supervisor at Red Oak. "Visitors will get to witness this age-old practice of taking sap from a tree and turning it into the syrup you use on your pancakes."
Maple-themed treats and hot beverages will be available for a small fee. Also, the event will feature items for sale from Vermont -- the maple syrup-producing capital of the world -- that include small bottles of maple syrup, lollipops and candy.
Red Oak Nature Center is on Route 25 in North Aurora, one mile north of Route 56. For more information, call Red Oak at (630) 897-1808 or visit the district's website at www.foxvalleyparkdistrict.org or its Facebook page.