Winter in the Woods Festival returns to MDC’s Rockwoods Reservation Saturday, Feb. 5 with morning and afternoon “mini” sessions

News from the region
Saint Louis
Published Date

WILDWOOD, Mo.— The dead of winter is anything but dead.  Just because the temperatures drop, doesn’t mean it’s time to stay inside.  Anyone willing to put on an extra layer and venture out can experience nature in a whole new way.  Leaf-free trees offer breathtaking vistas hidden other times, trails and natural areas may be decorated with snow and ice, many local fishing lakes are stocked with cold-loving trout, bird feeders explode to life with cardinals, juncos and woodpeckers, and sap flows through sugar maple trees that can tapped into sweet treats.

To celebrate everything wintertime offers, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is holding the Winter in the Woods Festival again in 2022.  This free family event takes place Saturday, Feb. 5 at Rockwoods Reservation in Wildwood, but in a different format than years past. 

This year’s event will take the form of two Winter in the Woods “mini festivals”, one in the morning from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., and an afternoon session from 1-3 p.m.  Both sessions will be identical.  They are free and open to all ages, but advanced online registration will be required.  These smaller sessions take the place of the one, large festival held in the past to ensure the safety of participants and staff.

To preregister, select the preferred session from the following links and register each person attending:

Winter in the Woods evolved from the former Maple Sugar Festival and has expanded to embrace other aspects of the season.

“We really want to showcase the many fun family activities of winter and encourage everyone to discover nature in all seasons of the year,” said Amy Wilkinson, MDC Interpretive Center Manager.

Groups will be guided through several 20-minute stations.  These include learning all about the maple sugaring process.  Visitors will see firsthand how Native Americans and early settlers harvested sap—and boiled it down over an open fire to create sugar and syrup.  They’ll discover how to identify and tap sugar maple trees for themselves.  Other stations will show visitors how much fun they can have watching birds in winter, and another will reveal unique adaptations and behaviors animals use to weather the winter.

The entire program is outdoors, so participants should dress for the weather and wear comfortable footwear for walking.  They should be prepared to walk a total of one-mile round trip. A portion of the trail is not stroller/wheelchair accessible.

MDC staff will provide warming fires, pancakes and syrup samples, and hot chocolate.

Visitors should park at the Rockwoods Reservation Visitor Center to check in, and MDC staff guide you to the Cottonwood Picnic area where the program will take place.

Rockwoods Reservation is located at 2751 Glencoe Road, off Highway 109 between I-44 and Highway 100. 

As this is an in-person activity, MDC asks all participants to observe current local social distancing and masking guidelines.  Bringing and wearing face coverings is encouraged when appropriate.

Program registrants should note that families now have the option to link their children’s accounts to their own which will streamline the program registration process.  Once a group account is set up, parents will be able to register their children to an event without having to logoff and login for each person.  This allows parents to register an entire family or select family members to an event at the same time.

Stay informed of MDC latest programs by going to the MDC St. Louis regional events page at