As the leaves begin to turn, Maplewood State Park in rural Pelican Rapids is the place to be. Each fall in late September and early October, the Friends of Maplewood host the park's annual Leaf Days celebration, set to take place this year on Sept. 29-30 and Oct. 6-7. Many activities are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on each of those days.
It is a good time to visit Maplewood, have a picnic, take a hike, or just drive around looking at the colorful leaves and native grasses. There will be narrated wagon rides to look at the leaves and discover some interesting facts about Maplewood State Park, and of course, many visitors will also want to hike the trail to the top of Hallaway Hill to check out the view as well.
A variety of activities will be offered, from trying to take on early settlers' tasks such as making rope, shelling and grinding corn, using an apple press and churning butter, to various woodworking activities and nature art for the kids.
"We're very kid friendly," says Friends of Maplewood President John Nordstrom. "We try to offer a lot of activities for both kids and adults."
As a family, you can use your phone and go on a digital scavenger hunt, or use one of the park's GPS units and try to find the hidden maple leaves around the park. And there may be a few surprises in store as well.
"Sometimes we'll have someone come in for one of the four days and do a craft or woodworking or cooking demonstration, or play some music," says Nordstrom. "Those things aren't always listed on the schedule, because they're last-minute additions."
If you don't want to pack a lunch, your hosts the Friends of Maplewood will have food available, so make a day of it and head on out to Maplewood State Park. The entrance is located located just off Highway 108, eight miles east of Pelican Rapids or 20 miles west of Perham. For more information please call Maplewood State Park, 218-863-8383.