Maple Syrup Festival

40th Annual Maple Syrup Festival

Saturday & Sunday, March 25 & 26, 2023
8 AM – 12:30 PM

Adults: $10 advance; $12 door

Children (4-12): $5 advance; $6 door

Children (3 & under): free

Buy tickets in advance and save! Before 3/24/2023 a discount of $2.00 will apply to all Adult Registrants & $1.00 will apply to all Child (4-12) Registrants. Tickets are good for either Saturday or Sunday and are also available the day of the event.

Tickets for this event are not eligible for refund.


The Bertram Road Bridge is closed indefinitely. You can still reach ICNC from Mount Vernon Road via 44th St and Otis Rd.


Click here to sign up OR email today!

Thank you to our sponsors!

Title sponsor

Media sponsor

Event sponsors




40th Annual Maple Syrup Festival | March 25 & 26, 2023

Enjoy a taste of real, fresh, handcrafted maple syrup at Indian Creek Nature Center’s signature event, the Maple Syrup Festival.

Help us celebrate the 40th anniversary of our signature event! Enjoy a taste of real, handcrafted maple syrup fresh from the tap, and stay for a weekend of family fun. The Maple Syrup Festival features syrup making demonstrations, a look at the action inside the Maple Sugar House, and a delicious pancake and sausage breakfast with real maple syrup handcrafted at the Nature Center.

Buy tickets in advance and save! Tickets are good for either Saturday or Sunday and are also available the day of the event.

Adults: $10 advance; $12 door; Children (4-12): $5 advance; $6 door; Children (3 & under): free

Let's go maple syruping!

Attend a maple syruping program — offered all month long in March!

Bring the family for a maple syruping experience — offered throughout the month of March! Discover how easy it is to tap maple trees and make delicious maple syrup. This is a great STEM science experience to learn about weather, tree physiology, and the chemistry of syrup making. Use the sugar maker’s tools to tap a tree and visit the Sugar House to learn how sap becomes syrup. After your program, visit the Creekside Shop down the road at Amazing Space to purchase some real maple syrup! Programs are 60 minutes.

ALL maple syruping programs will meet at the ICNC Barn (6665 Otis Road SE). Fee: $5. Ages 2 and under free.

Please dress appropriately for the weather.

Festival Exclusives!

Dan and Debbies Creamery in Ely, IA has infused their handcrafted ice cream with maple syrup produced at Indian Creek Nature Center. A pint of this exclusive treat can only be purchased at the Creekside Shop before or during the Maple Syrup Festival while supplies last.

Indian Creek Nature Center is partnering with Backpocket Brewing Company to create a beer for Maple Syrup Festival. This Blonde Stout, sweetened with maple syrup, will be available for purchase at Backpocket Brewery and in the Creekside Shop during the Maple Syrup Festival.

Acknowledging & Combating Waste at Maple Syrup Festival

Several years ago Indian Creek Nature Center began its journey to zero-waste. The Maple Syrup Festival was our flagship event where we implemented a diverse number of strategies to eliminate, off-set, or provide an alternative for the trash typically produced at this event. Beginning in 2018 we: added compostable plates, cups and cutlery from Ecocare; we replaced our butane long-stem lighters with 12” long wooden matches; partnered with Terracycle to recycle all of our disposable gloves; partnered with Compost Ninja to take the compost generated onsite to the composting facility in Iowa City (the composting facility in downtown Cedar Rapids cannot handle compostable plates, clamshells, and cutlery — Cedar Rapids residents who have curbside compost pick up should not place these items in their Yardy.); organized volunteers to help guests learn about what is recyclable, compostable, and actually trash.

Our quest to zero waste uncovered both challenges and cool things.

  • Plastic bags are 100 percent recyclable. When returned to the grocery store, they are shipped to Plastic Recycling of Iowa Falls where they are turned into plastic lumber.
  • Many other recycling streams are not doing so well. Co-mingled recyclables were traditionally sent to China, and are currently caught in the trade war.
  • Compostable plates and other single use items have come a long way in stability and usability. Some use virgin materials in their creation, and others use recycled materials (which is the better choice).
  • What makes single use compostables tough enough to handle hot pancakes and coffee makes them tough for both backyard and some industrial compost facilities to break them down. This means it may be a challenge for households and communities to actually compost the compostable single use items.
  • Compostables are still single use, and they are all imported from overseas. That means they have a large carbon footprint.
  • Ecocare is researching developing locally-sourced compostables. Where items are sourced, made, and shipped from is an important factor in deciding which single-use item is the most responsible choice.
  • The Linn County Solid Waste Agency has a state of the art methane collection and energy generating system. What does that mean? Organic material in the landfill breaks down and creates methane gas as part of the decomposition process. That gas is captured and used to generate power for the surrounding area. However, there is more methane being generated than can currently be used and this is not reason to be negligent of personal or household waste generation.

What can you do?

  • Understand that the recycling, compost and waste industry is always adapting, and learn what you can about where your things ultimately end up.
  • Support businesses and organizations that are working toward creative solutions.
  • Evaluate and categorize your choices as “Good, Better, and Best.” For example, the best choice is to use dishes that can be washed and reused. A better choice is purchasing a single use item that is made from recycled materials, sourced and made locally, and can be composted. A good choice is using a single use item that can be recycled. Single use Styrofoam should never be the choice.

If you learn information that can help us and others come closer to our goal of operating as low waste as possible, please share those ideas.

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