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Public Programs

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Christina D. Sorensen

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Parks, Recreation and Open Space

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We offer a variety of park programs for all ages – register for one today! Visit our calendar of events, view our program e-newsletter or sign up here to receive our e-newsletters to keep up with what is happening in the parks.
Important Updates
As of Jan. 1, 2019, there will be no charge for all Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space public, group and outreach programs. Fees will still apply for camps and shelter rentals.
As of Jan. 1, 2019, we will no longer accept cash on site at any Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space location. Payments can be made on site or in advance with a credit or debit card. Checks must be mailed in advance.
Scroll down or select a program series below to learn more about our offerings:
 Each person attending family programs must be registered through the online system. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
Winter Fun *Almost full!
Monday, Jan. 21
10 a.m.–noon
For ages 7–12
Winter can be a fun season if you are dressed properly for outdoor activities. Bundle up and come out for some nature exploration outdoors and indoor crafts. *This is a kids' drop-off program.
Meet at the Park Office.
Winter Campfire Under the Stars *This program is full but you may go on the waiting list.
Friday, Feb. 1
5:30–7:30 p.m.
For all ages
Cozy up to the fire and enjoy an evening outside roasting marshmallows and listening to stories. As the sky darkens, we will move to the field for moon and star gazing. If it is cloudy, we will take a night hike to see and hear who is out and about. Bring a camp chair or blanket, water bottle, flashlight and dress for the weather.
Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Geocaching 101 at Harris Lake County Park
Saturday, Feb. 2
2–3:30 p.m.
For ages 6 and up
Geocaching is a treasure hunt where participants use GPS coordinates to track down hidden “caches.” Learn what geocaching is all about and head out to find a real geocache in the park! We will provide GPS units and instruction on how to use them, but feel free to bring your own unit or smartphone with a geocache app. Register early as class size is limited.
Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Kids Discover Nature: Squirrel Finds a Winter Home
Monday, Feb. 11
11 a.m.–noon
For ages 1–6 with accompanying adult (only the child must be registered)
Squirrels are out and about all winter, but they need a safe warm place to live. Edna Miller’s story, Scamper, A Gray Tree Squirrel, is just what is needed this time of year. Dress for the weather for outdoor fun.
Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)
Friday, Feb. 15–Monday, Feb. 18
Participate in the 22nd annual Great Backyard Bird Count! 
Bird watchers of all ages are encouraged to count birds to create a real-time snapshot
of where birds are across the globe.
The following programs are being offered at Harris Lake County Park as part of the GBBC. Check out our GBBC offerings on the American Tobacco Trail, as well. Registration is required for all participants through our online system. Dress for the weather and bring water, binoculars and bird book if you have them or borrow ours.
Introduction to Bird Watching and the GBBC
Friday, Feb. 15
4:30–6 p.m.
For all ages, but best for over 4
Discover tips and techniques to identify birds as we introduce you to the rewarding hobby of birdwatching through fun activities. Learn how to participate in the GBBC and hike along the shoreline to practice your new skills as we count the birds.
Meet at the Longleaf Shelter.
Morning Bird Walks at Harris
Saturday, Feb. 16

Monday, Feb. 18
8:30–10 a.m.
For all ages, but best for over 4
Help park staff add to our Great Backyard Bird Count data as we walk along the trails and shoreline to identify our birds in different habitats of the park.
Each walk will meet at the platform in the Educational Garden.
GBBC Evening Adventure
Sunday, Feb. 17
5:30–7:30 p.m.
For all ages (children should be able to observe quietly)
Owls are actively calling to claim or protect their territory this time of year. Other birds are settling down for the night. Walk with us along the trails and ponds to discover birds and other cool nature out at dusk. Bring a flashlight.
Meet at the Loblolly Shelter.
Wacky Woodpeckers
Monday, Feb. 18
10:30 a.m.–noon
For all ages
Woodpeckers are some of the most recognizable birds as they grip the side of a tree, pecking a hole or looking for food, but how much do you really know about them? Learn some cool woodpecker facts, hear common woodpecker calls, make a suet log for your family to take home and go on a short hike to look and listen for them around the park.
Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Dr. Seuss Wagon Ride
Saturday, March 9
2–3:30 p.m.
For all ages
Come celebrate one of the most beloved Dr. Seuss books, The Lorax, as we take a wagon ride to our longleaf forest to learn about the similarities between Truffula trees and our native longleaf pine trees!
Meet at the Loblolly Shelter.
Kids Discover Nature: Dandelions, Stars in the Grass
Monday, March 11
11 a.m.–noon
For ages 1–6 with accompanying adult (only the child must be registered)
Have you ever admired the sprinkling of golden dandelions in the spring? Mia Posada does a great job illustrating the life cycle and beauty of dandelions, a favorite flower for young children. We will read her book and create a field of dandelions craft.
Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Night Hike at Harris Lake County Park
Friday, March 22
7:30–9 p.m.
For all ages
We’ll let the moon light our way and the frogs serenade us as we explore the trails and roads to look for signs of nocturnal critters and observe the natural world at night. Dress for the weather, wear good walking shoes and bring water and a flashlight.
Meet at the Loblolly Shelter.
Secretive Salamanders
Saturday, March 23
2–3 p.m.
For all ages
Harris Lake County Park is home to several species of salamanders. Join us as we learn about these elusive amphibians and see some up close.
Meet in the Educational Garden at the picnic tables.
Exploring the Pond
Saturday, March 30
10–11:30 a.m.
For ages 6 and up
Discover the fascinating world of pond critters as we scoop in the pond to observe who lives there up close. View some of the tiniest critters under a microscope. You won't believe your eyes!
Meet at the Cypress Shelter.


Ages: 10 and up
Time: 1:30–3 p.m.
FREE but all participants must be registered
through our online system.
 Click on a date below to register:
Help us monitor and keep our bluebird and wood duck boxes clean throughout our park; create or place additional habitat boxes and assist with other natural resource tasks. Come prepared to learn and work – dress for the weather, wear sturdy shoes, bring work gloves and a water bottle.
Children ages 10–14 must have an adult registered with them.

Please print and sign the Volunteer Release and bring to the program.
This release is required for participation.
Meet at the Cypress Shelter unless told otherwise.

Haunting at Harris

Our 15th Annual Haunting at Harris: Halloween Around the World on Sunday, Oct. 7, was a wonderful success with over 1,000 visitors enjoying the event!
We would like to say THANK YOU to our volunteers and partners who gave of their time and talent to make Haunting at Harris a fun event for our visitors:
Carolina Children's Museum
Wake County Animal Center
New Hill Community Center
NCSU Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management 358 students
Green Hope High School AP Environmental Science students
NCSU Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity
National Charity League – Cardinal Chapter
Fuquay-Varina High School students
Staff from Blue Jay Point & Historic Yates Mill County Park
Special friends of our park!
Here are just a few photos taken at this year's Haunting at Harris.
Stay tuned for next year's date and theme to be announced!
PRT Obstacle Course.jpgSugar Skulls Craft - Educational Garden.jpg

Face Painting.jpgRebeccah Nature Artifacts.jpg

Skulls and Crossbones Game.jpg


 Halloween Express wagon.jpg
Check out our public programs at the American Tobacco Trail!
Go to the American Tobacco Trail programs page for details.
We would love your feedback!
Did you attend one of our programs?
Let us know how we did by completing our brief public program evaluation online. 

How to Register for Public Programs 

You can register for public programs online at your convenience and pay for them with a credit/debit card.
To register for one of our public programs, click the Harris Lake icon next to the program to be taken to the registration page on our online registration website, or use the button below to search for programs by location, age, date and more.
Internet Browser Issues?
Internet Explorer works best when registering or searching via our program calendar.
The most common registration questions are answered on our FAQ page.
If you still need further assistance after visiting that page or if you have a question about a program, please call the park office at 919-387-4342.
*  *  *
Interested in a private group program? Please note that you will still need to contact park staff by phone at 919-387-4344 or by email at to schedule school field trips, birthday parties and other group programs.
As of Jan. 1, 2019, we will no longer accept cash on site at any Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space location. Payments can be made on site or in advance with a credit or debit card. Checks must be mailed in advance to
Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space,
PO Box 550, Suite 1000, Raleigh, NC 27602.
Are you unable to register online with a credit/debit card? Contact the park office at 919-387-4342 or email us at for assistance.



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Content Type: Article Page
Version: 480.0
Created at 7/5/2012 4:48 PM by Christina D. Sorensen
Last modified at 1/18/2019 5:30 PM by Joanne E. St Clair


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