When one thinks of winter, indoor events normally serve as a source of a good time. However, one event merits pulling on the coat, and getting the family out into the crisp air for a bit. With Wildwood, Missouri measuring in at only two and a half hours of travel time, The Winter in the Woods Festival makes for an ideal break from cabin fever and to discover nature in winter! Dropping temperatures don’t have to leave you homebound.

When one thinks of winter, indoor events normally serve as a source of a good time. However, one event merits pulling on the coat, and getting the family out into the crisp air for a bit. With Wildwood, Missouri measuring in at only two and a half hours of travel time, The Winter in the Woods Festival makes for an ideal break from cabin fever and to discover nature in winter! Dropping temperatures don’t have to leave you homebound. Being small farmers, our family has a lot of experience with agriculture in frigid months, which is not usually fun. The event on Saturday, however, is a chance to get out and play, because it’s being held rain or shine. In its twentieth year at Rockwoods, visitors have flocked to the conservation area to watch the sweet sugary sap get tapped and flow from the park’s trees.

The 1880 acre Rockwoods Reservation plays host to the event, a Missouri Department of Conservation recreation area with education, hiking, and wildlife viewing, located in Western St. Louis County. The festival will be held on Saturday, February 1st from 10 am to 3 pm.

Rockwoods Reservation itself holds an interesting cultural history that began in the late 1700s. Trappers passed through the valley there while traveling to trade furs in the new settlement of St. Louis. A small farm was then started from a Spanish land grant by Ninian Hamilton in 1800. Remnants of native limestone, clay, and gravel quarrying can still be observed in Hamilton Creek, which flows through the recreation area.

The Missouri Department of Conservation partners with the Missouri River Bird Observatory as well as other local organizations to put on the Winter in the Woods free event offering multiple outdoor winter activities associated with birding, survival, and camping. The MDC brings educational displays showing how wild animals cope with cold weather and will include “Ask the Forester” and “Ask an Agent” interactive talks.

Previously known as the annual Maple Sugar Festival, popularity pushed the inclusion of the event to other reflections of the season. Organizers have now added representation of winter birds by taking “The Great Migration Challenge”, a survival game, as well as fly fishing fly tying demonstrations, geocaching challenges, winter camping ideas, fire starting and building, and kids crafts. Maple sugaring will still be demonstrated.

A free play area for children makes a complete day of fun for the entire family. Food trucks will be on-site to provide refreshments available for purchase. Savor the Southwest Tex-Mex Tacos and Blues Fired Pizza are two trucks making an appearance from 9 am to 4 pm.

Off-site parking with a free shuttle bus service is the only way available to enter the event. Locations will be Pond Elementary, 17200 Manchester Road, and St. Louis Community College-Wildwood Campus, 2645 Generations Drive. Onsite parking is available for the disabled exclusively. All events of the day are free and no reservations will be required. Be sure and dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes!

For additional information on the festival, call 636-458-2236 or visit their Facebook page at MOCONSERVATION.