28115 Meadowbrook Rd., Novi, MI 48377
Finally, a chance for me to feature something that’s even sappier than I am! You read right, I said sap, and if you’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to make real maple syrup, Tollgate Farm and Educational Center in Novi is the place to go. They know everything there is to know about tapping and sapping the mighty Michigan sugar maple.
First of all, when you visit Tollgate Farm, I highly recommend doing it with a bunch of kids, because you really start to feed off their energy and excitement. Watching them learn and discover is a real treat. Plus, it gives you the chance to pretend like you already knew it all.
The process of making syrup is a little bit of science, a little bit of magic and a whole lot of fun. We went with a wagon full of kids into the farm’s maple forest, learned how and why the sap flows, actually tapped some trees and then made our way over to a real Sugar Shack to boil down the sap into delicious syrup. A guide was with us the entire way making sure the kids learned all about the process, because remember, I already knew it all… ha!
This was honestly the most fun I’d had in a long time. The kids were excited and wonderful, I actually did learn a lot and when all was said and done, I had some freshly made syrup for my pancakes the next day.
Please note that the maple tapping season is in the spring and is very short and unpredictable, so by all means, call ahead to see when they’ll be tapping and sapping.
Even though we went there for the experience of making real maple syrup, Tollgate Farm is owned and operated by Michigan State University and is a real working farm with all kinds of activities and animals for the kids to see. They also offer an entire range of educational opportunities including youth education programs and camps, so I invite you to explore more about what this outstanding facility has to offer.