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.
Now Available!
Online Public Program Registration
You can now register for public programs online at your convenience
and pay for them with a credit/debit card!
Register for any of our programs by clicking the Harris Lake icon next to the program, or click the one below to search for programs by location, age, date and more!
Learn more under How to Register.



Each person attending family programs must be registered through the online system. Children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.
Hooray for Herps
Sunday, May 15
Time: 1:30–3 p.m.
For all ages
Cost: $5 per family or $3 per individual
Discover the differences between reptiles and amphibians (“herps”) and see some live ones up close. Herps are important to all habitats - learn why and how you can help welcome them to your backyard. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Bird Walk (Part of Longleaf Festival)
Saturday, May 21
Time: 1–2 p.m.
For all ages
Join bird enthusiast Mark Johns for a walk along the Peninsula Trail to discover the variety of birds that live in our park. Mark will identify birds by sight and sound. This walk is part of the Longleaf Festival. Parking is in the parking field and you will take the shuttle to the event area. Meet at the festival Information Tent.
Family Disc Golf Lessons and Play Time
Saturday, June 4
Time: 9 a.m.–noon
For all ages
This special instructional event is for players of all levels. Disc golf professionals from Cary Area Disc League will be here to provide lessons for beginners or advanced skills for the more experienced. Register for an “Introduction to Disc Golf” session at 9 or 10:30 a.m. (choose one) or an advanced skills session at 10:30 a.m. Head out onto the course afterwards to practice your new skills! Bring your own discs or borrow ours. Meet at the disc golf gravel parking lot.
Click on one of the lessons below to register for that class:
Way Back When Wagon Ride
Saturday, June 11
Time: 2–3:30 p.m.
For all ages
Cost: $5 per family or $3 per individual
Tour the history of the park on a wagon to discover way back when this property was farmland. Imagine what it was like to grow up on a farm as we stroll down to the rebuilt wash house. Hear how naval stores were harvested from the longleaf pines. Then step into the future and the early stages of our now established longleaf pine forest including a glimpse of the recently "burned" longleaf pine area. Meet at the wagon near the playground.


Preschool Programs

Programs meet at the Cypress Shelter.
All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Nature Tots 
Discover the natural world through stories, hands-on
nature activities, games, crafts and more!
Ages: 1–3 years with an adult
Time: 10–10:30 a.m.
Fee: $2 per child
Monday, May 9
Woodpeckers are nature’s home builders, creating holes that many other animals live in when the woodpeckers move out.  In April Pulley Sayre’s book, Woodpecker Wham, the children will delight in their introduction to woodpeckers.
Decomposers and More
Monday, June 6
Around One Log by Anthony Frederick takes kids on a journey under a log to see who is living there.  With plastic toys and the real thing, kids will have a chance to see some of the critters from the book. 
Forest Friends
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: 11 a.m.noon
Fee: $4 per child
Monday, May 9
Brian Wildsmith introduces the idea that owl sleeps during the day and woodpeckers sleep at night in his charming book, The Owl and the Woodpecker. Children will see up close at some old tree cavities then explore the woods for animal homes in trees. 
Decomposers and More
Monday, June 6
Around One Log by Anthony Frederick takes kids on a journey under a log to see who is living there.  With plastic toys and the real thing, kids will have a chance to see some of the critters from the book. We will go out and roll a few logs and then make your own log to take home. 


Programs for Kids


Eco-Track: Fabulous Fish
Friday, June 10
Time: 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Ages: 712
Cost: $28 per child
Spend a day at Harris Lake County Park learning what it takes to be a great angler! Discover the fish species we have here at the park, learn about our lake and pond ecosystems, practice your best cast and then hike to our stocked pond to go fishing for catfish. Fishing poles and bait will be provided, or you may bring your own pole. Bring a lunch, snack and water bottle. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Eco-Track: Marvelous Mammals
Thursday, July 7
Time: 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Ages: 611
Cost: $28 per child
Mammals big and small, we love them all! Focusing on native NC mammals, we will discover the adaptations that make them so successful, see some mammal mounts up close, examine their tracks and scat, play games and make a craft. Bring a lunch, snack and a refillable water bottle. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Check out our 2016 Day Camps for kids at Harris Lake County Park!



 Programs and Workshops for Teens and Adults

Lichen Walk (Part of Longleaf Festival)
Saturday, May 21
Time: 10–11:30 a.m.
Ages: 14 and up
Join lichenologists Gary Perlmutter and Eimy Rivas Plata for a walk along the Peninsula Trail to observe lichen, including some rare and unusual species that have been found here. Wear good walking shoes and bring your own hand lens or magnifying glass (we will have some available to borrow as well). This walk is part of our Longleaf Festival. Parking will be in the parking field. A short hike will bring you to the event area, take the shuttle back to the parking field. Meet at the Peninsula Trail kiosk near the car top boat launch.
Nature Photography Hike
Sunday, June 12
Time: 9:30–11 a.m.
Ages: 12 and up
Cost: $3 per person
Celebrate the upcoming National Nature Photography Day and join park staff on a guided photography hike! Explore all there is to see and photograph in the park on a summer morning as you learn about the landscape and wildlife of Harris Lake County Park. All photography skill levels are welcome. Bring a camera of any quality (even a cell phone!).
 Meet at the picnic table near the Peninsula Trailhead.



Citizen Science Thursday  


Ages: 8 and up
Time: 35 p.m.
 Help the park staff with our citizen science projects! Each month will vary depending on what needs attention. Projects may include monitoring bird houses or other artificial habitats, cleaning or repairing boxes/habitats or installing additional projects.
Come prepared to learn and work as you contribute to our citizen science research and our Natural Resources Inventory Database. Dress for the weather, bring a water bottle and wear sturdy shoes. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Click on one of the dates below to register online:


Longleaf Festival

 Celebrate with us at our 7th annual Longleaf Festival at Harris Lake County Park!
Saturday, May 21
11 a.m.3 p.m.
Learn about the life of the longleaf pine, how it is managed with fire, its history 
and the wildlife and plants that depend on its natural habitat. There will be 30+ agencies
and organizations with interactive exhibits, games, crafts, live animals, wagon rides
to our longleaf forest and much more!
NEW at Longleaf Festival: "The Greatest Naval Stores Show on Earth!"
See how our NC longleaf pines produced tar, pitch and turpentine for the entire world. Live demonstrations will begin at 10 a.m. with the last one at 3 p.m., performing at the top of each hour. Free, no registration required.
Learn more by visiting our Longleaf Festival web page!
*   *   *
This FREE event does not require preregistration.
If you have questions, please call the park office at 919-387-4342.
To volunteer or if you are interested in exhibiting, call 919-387-4344. 


 How to Register for Public Programs

Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space has launched one of our
most requested features - an online registration system.
You can now sign up for a public program online
and pay for it with a credit/debit card!
To register for one of our public programs, click the link by that program
to be taken to the registration page on our online registration website.
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 jackie.trickel@wakegov.com to schedule school field trips, birthday parties and other group programs.
Are you unable to register online with a credit/debit card? Contact the park office
at 919-387-4342 or email us at harris.lake@wakegov.com for assistance.

Back to top