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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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 Harris Lake County Park staff offers a variety of public educational programs for all ages year-round. Visit our calendar of events and sign up for our e-newsletter to stay up to date!

Scroll down or select a program series below to learn more about our offerings:

Our staff also offers public programs at the American Tobacco Trail! 
Check out the ATT programs page for details.

 photo of kids coloring

Nature Tots

 Discover the natural world through stories, hands-on nature activities, games, crafts and more.
Ages: 1–3 years with an adult
Time: 10:30–11 a.m.
Fee: $2 per child
Are You a Dragonfly?
Monday, August 10
Judy Allen shares the secrets of metamorphosis in her book Are You a Dragonfly? Children enjoy seeing how dragonflies look when they are young and then as adults. We will observe some real dragonflies and play a game. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Over in the Meadow
Monday, September 14
Over in the Meadow is a charming children's counting book about 10 different animals that live in the meadow. The children will search for pictures of the animals as we read the story. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.

Get up close with nature! Discover amazing things in the park as we explore nature "hands on" through games, crafts, hikes and more.
Ages: 3–5 years with an adult
Time: 1–2 p.m.
Fee: $4 per child
Are You a Dragonfly?
Monday, August 10
Judy Allen shares the secrets of metamorphosis in her book Are You a Dragonfly? Children enjoy seeing how dragonflies look when they are young and then as adults. We will observe some real dragonflies and play a game, then make our own dragonfly to take home. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Over in the Meadow
Monday, September 14
Over in the Meadow is a charming children's counting book about 10 different animals that live in the meadow. The children will search for pictures of the animals as we read the story, then visit our new wildflower meadow to search for some of these critters and paint a picture. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.



Sunset Campfire
Friday, August 7 from 89:30 p.m.
Friday, September 11 from 78:30 p.m.
For all ages
Cost: $5 per family or $3 per individual
Enjoy an evening at Harris Lake County Park by the light of the setting sun as we build a rustic campfire! Learn fire building techniques, sing songs, roast marshmallows and more. Marshmallows and roasting sticks will be provided. Bring your own camp chairs and a water bottle. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Family Camping Experience
3 p.m. Friday, August 14noon Saturday, August 15
For all ages; best for ages 6 and up
Cost: $5 per person
Spend the night camping at Harris Lake County Park! Learn how to set up a campsite, build a fire, cook dinner and then explore the park at night. Bring your favorite trail tales as we relax around the campfire with s'mores. After breakfast on Saturday, enjoy some park activities before we pack up camp. You provide your equipment and we will provide the food and fun! Space is limited, so register soon! More information on what to bring and expect will be emailed out to those who register, including food options. Meet at the disc golf parking lot (first gravel lot on the right after entering the park).
Sunday Evening Paddle and Marshmallow Toast
Sunday, August 30
Time: 5:30–7:30 p.m.
Ages: 8 and up
Cost: $10 per canoe (up to 3 persons per canoe)
Following an early evening paddle along Harris Lake, we will toast marshmallows over a rustic fire to celebrate National Toasted Marshmallow Day. Learn the basics of canoeing before we launch. All canoe equipment is provided; however, feel free to bring your own life jacket. Please bring a water bottle and camp chairs for sitting around the fire. Meet at the picnic area near the Peninsula Trailhead.
Geocaching 101
Friday, September 4 (Wake County Schools early release day)
Time: 3–4:30 p.m.
Ages: 6 and up
Cost: $5 per family
Do you enjoy discovering new ways to use technology in the great outdoors? If so, geocaching is for you! Geocaching is like a treasure hunt where participants use GPS coordinates to track down hidden boxes called "caches." In this program, we will teach you what geocaching is all about and then search for some geocaches in the park! We will provide GPS units and instruction on how to use them, or you may bring your own unit or smartphone with a geocache app. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Wagon Rides for Grandparents and Grandkids
Sunday, September 13
Time: 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. departures
For all ages
Cost: FREE with grandparents; $5 per family without grandparents
In honor of National Grandparents Day, grandparents may bring their grandkids to the park for a FREE wagon ride along the back roads of the park! Registration is required. Meet at the wagon near the playground.
Build Your Own "TACO" (Take a Child Outside Week self-led program)
Thursday, September 24
Time: 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
For all ages
Cost: FREE!
Bring a picnic lunch and spend the afternoon at Harris Lake County Park. Drop in anytime between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to do one or all of the activities ready for you in and around the Longleaf Shelter. Enjoy bird watching, go on a scavenger hunt, create nature crafts, learn about spiders and other critters, make your own paper and more! Pre-registration is preferred. Meet at the Longleaf Shelter.


Programs for Kids and Teens


Nature Lab: Youth Serving Our Parks
Tuesday, August 4
Time: 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
Ages: 12–17
Cost: FREE in exchange for service
Get a jump start on your service hours for school or other group service requirements! Experience the park from the ground level as you help park staff with removing invasive plants, planting native plants and general upkeep in the Educational Gardens and Natural Play Area. Bring a lunch and water bottle and wear close-toed shoes. Watermelon will be served after a hard morning's work in honor of National Watermelon Day on August 3. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Nature Lab: The Mysteries of Water
Wednesday, August 5
Time: 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Ages: 5–9
Cost: $12 per child
Join us at Harris Lake County Park as we explore the mysteries of water while playing games and doing activities! We will build boats, experiment with water and much more. Bring a lunch and dress to get wet. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Beginning Fishing Clinic
Sunday, August 16; Saturday, September 12
Time: 9–11 a.m.
Ages: 7–15
Cost: $8 per child
In this introduction to the basic fundamentals of fishing, children will gain the skills needed for a lifetime of fishing enjoyment. We will teach angler safety and courtesy, how to rig a line and tie knots, local fish ID and pond food chain dynamics. This one-hour clinic will be followed by one hour of fishing. Meet at the fishing pond (first gravel lot on right after entering the park).
Limited to 6 children. Parents may drop off or remain with their children during program.
Nature Lab: Incredible Insects
Wednesday, August 19
Time: 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
Ages: 6–12
Cost: $16 per child
Catching insects, observing them and releasing them back where they belong is a favorite summer past time. Your child will enjoy spending the morning with park staff doing just that, and learning a bit along the way! We will explore the forest, field and pond for a variety of insect discoveries. Bring a snack and lunch. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.



 Adult Programs and Workshops

Advanced Wild Bats
Monday, August 10
Time: 4–8 p.m.
Ages: 16 and up
Cost: FREE!
This workshop, designed for formal and non-formal educators, explores North Carolina's bat species through a presentation and hands-on activities. Current research related to White-Nose Syndrome will be discussed. Participants will receive free materials and test classroom activities. CEU and EEC credits are available upon workshop completion. Meet at the Loblolly Shelter.
Fly Fishing Basics
Saturday, August 15; Sunday, September 13
Time: 5–7 p.m.
Ages: 16 and up
Cost: $10 per person (includes all gear)
Learn the basic skills needed to begin a lifetime of fly fishing. We will go over casting methods, rigging techniques, fly and bait selection and where to fly fish in the area. This two-hour course includes one hour of instruction and one hour of fishing. Bring a water bottle and sunscreen. Meet at the field behind the picnic area.
N.C. fishing license is required. Class size is limited to 3 participants.
Catch and Cook
Monday, October 26 (Wake County traditional schools teacher workday)
Time: 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Ages: 16 and up
Cost: FREE!
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will teach you the basics of fishing, including knot tying, setting up a rod and types of bait to use before we head out to our fishing pond to cast a line. Learn how to scale, clean and filet a fish caught in the wild. We'll explore different cooking techniques and make some side dishes to make a delicious meal of your catch. Whether you're a novice or an expert, you will enjoy a relaxed, fun-filled afternoon of learning and most of all good eating! All materials are provided. CEU and EEC credits are available upon workshop completion. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.


 How to Register for Public Programs

 For more information and to check program availability, contact the park at 919-387-4342 or email us at

To register, complete and sign the PROS Program Registration Form and return it with payment by mail or bring it by the park office.


Please Note: Payment and a completed, signed registration form must be received to confirm your spot in our programs. Registration must be received at least two days prior to the program date. If the minimum number of registered participants is not met, the program will be canceled. All payments must be made using cash, check or money order (made out to "Wake County Parks") – park staff do not currently have the ability to take credit cards.

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Content Type: Article Page
Version: 225.0
Created at 7/5/2012 4:48 PM by Christina D. Sorensen
Last modified at 7/27/2015 6:55 PM by Erin Latimer