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.



Winter Evening Campfire
Friday, Feb. 19
Time: 6–7:30 p.m.
For all ages
Cost: $5 per family or $3 per individual
Bundle up, bring a chair or blanket and sit around the winter campfire listening to night sounds and stories of days gone by. Roast a marshmallow and enjoy the crackle of the fire. Bring a water bottle. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Full Moon Hike
Monday, Feb. 22, from 6:308 p.m.
For all ages
Cost: $5 per family or $3 per individual
Explore the park after dark and listen for the sounds of the night on a leisurely evening hike. Wear good walking shoes, dress for the weather and bring a water bottle. Meet at the Loblolly Shelter.
Family Orienteering
Saturday, Feb. 27
Time: 35 p.m.
For all ages
Cost: $5 per family or $3 per individual
Learn how to navigate using a compass. When you think you are ready, we'll send you off on an orienteering course that takes you all over the day use area of the park. This family activity is perfect for beginners. We will have compasses or you may bring your own. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Family Disc Golf Lessons and Play Time
Saturday, March 5
Time: 1–4 p.m.
For all ages
This special instructional event is for players of all levels. Disc golf professionals from the 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 1 or 2:30 p.m. (choose one) or an advanced skills session at 2:30 p.m. Head out on the course afterwards to practice your new skills! Bring your own discs or borrow ours. Meet at the disc golf parking lot.
 Introduction to Disc Golf: 12:30 p.m.
 Introduction to Disc Golf: 2:30–4 p.m.
 Advanced Skills Clinic: 2:30–3:30 p.m.
Go Green for Frogs
Thursday, March 17
Time: 3–4:30 p.m.
For all ages
Cost: $5 per family or $3 per individual
It is always good to "go green" – not only for St. Patrick's Day, but also for the environment, and especially for our frog friends! Learn about the different frogs (and toads!) that call the park home and what they tell us about our ecosystem. Hike around our ponds in search of them and make a fun frog craft. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Night Hike and Games
Monday, March 21
Time: 6:308 p.m.
For all ages
Cost: $5 per family or $3 per individual
Explore the park after dark as we play fun games and head out on a leisurely evening hike. Wear good walking shoes, dress for the weather and bring a water bottle. Meet at the Loblolly Shelter.
Salamander Search
Thursday, March 24
Time: 2–3:30 p.m.
For all ages (recommended for ages 6 and up)
Cost: $5 per family or $3 per individual
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, then head out to search the many temporary wetlands of the park for eggs, larvae and adults. Space is limited to minimize impact on the habitat. Meet at the Loblolly Shelter.
Whooo's Wild About Owls?
Saturday, April 16
Time: 2–4:30 p.m.
For all ages
Join CLAWS, Inc., a local wildlife rehabilitation facility, for a fun, interactive program about these fascinating birds of the night! Meet our three native owls up close, learn about their unique adaptations that make them great nocturnal predators, and dissect an owl pellet to discover what they have eaten. This FREE program is part of the North Carolina Science Festival. Meet at the Longleaf Shelter.
Investigating Tracks, Scat and Skulls
Wednesday, April 20
Time: 4–6 p.m.
Ages: 5 and up
More often than not, wildlife is aware of us long before we see them – if we see them at all. The best way to discover what animals are in your area is to identify their tracks and scat and look for other signs of their presence. NCSU Parks, Recreation and Tourism students will be leading this program, offering fun, hands-on activities and learning stations. Check back for more specific activities and presentations. This FREE program is part of the North Carolina Science Festival. Meet at the Loblolly Shelter.
Our Great Backyard Bird Count programs are great for families!



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. New time!
Fee: $2 per child
Monday, March 14
March 14 is National Learn about Butterflies Day and National Children's Craft Day. Discover butterflies through a story and hands-on activities. Play a butterfly matching game with colors and create a simple craft.
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 New time!
Fee: $4 per child
Monday, March 14
March 14 is National Learn about Butterflies Day and National Children's Craft Day. To celebrate, we will read a butterfly story, learn about their life cycle through hands-on activities, search for them in our garden and create a butterfly craft to take home.


Programs for Kids


Nature Lab: Aquatic Adventures
Friday, March 4
Time: 1–4 p.m.
Ages: 6–12
Cost: $12 per child
Discover what lives in and around the pond and lake ecosystems here at the park. Compare what you find in each, conduct water tests and enjoy spending the afternoon on an aquatic adventure at Harris Lake County Park. Bring a snack, full water bottle and dress for the weather with closed toe shoes that can get wet and dirty. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Nature Lab: Nature Journaling
Friday, March 18
Time: 1–4 p.m.
Ages: 6–12
Cost: $12 per child
Discover the wonders of the outdoors as you build your very own nature journal. Hike off on an adventure to learn about the animals, plants and ecosystems of Harris Lake County Park. Create a very special journal of your experiences out in nature as you explore. Bring a snack, water bottle and backpack. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Nature Lab: Nature's Tricks
Friday, April 1
Time: 1–4 p.m.
Ages: 7–12
Cost: $12 per child
Nature's tricks for survival come in many forms. We'll explore these adaptations and see if you can design a critter that is perfectly suited to its environment through our popular "Build A Bug" activity. No foolin'! Bring a snack, full water bottle and dress for the weather and to have fun! 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

Check back soon for more exciting programs and workshops for teens and adults!


Great Backyard Bird Count

February 1215, 2016
Programs are for all ages.
Registration is required for all programs.
 Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) was the first online citizen science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.
The GBBC is an annual four-day event that encourages bird watchers of all ages and abilities to identify and count birds and report their results. This helps scientists document where birds are, track changes in their numbers and gain a better understanding of birds in the winter. Visit the GBBC web page for more details.
Harris Lake County Park would like to invite you to participate in the 19th annual GBBC by counting in your own backyard or attending one of our programs listed below:
Introduction to Birdwatching and GBBC
Friday, Feb. 12
Time: 3:305:30 p.m.
Learn some 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 and help us count the birds. Meet at the Longleaf Shelter.
Birding Wagon Ride
Saturday, Feb. 13
Time: 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Cost: $4 per individual
We will load up in our wagon and drive the back roads of the park, stopping at 5-6 spots along the way for bird viewing and to record our observations. (Children attending should be able to observe quietly.) Meet at the wagon by the playground.
Owl Prowl
Saturday, Feb. 13
Time: 6–7:30 p.m.
Cost: $5 per family or $3 per individual
Owls are actively calling to claim their territory at this time of year. Learn about the different owls that live in our area, their amazing adaptations and how to identify them by sight and sound. We will hike along the trails in hopes of hearing one of these nocturnal birds of prey. (Children attending should be able to observe quietly.) Meet at the Longleaf Shelter.
Harris Lake Bird Walk
Sunday, Feb. 14
Time: 1–3 p.m.
Help park staff add to our GBBC count as we walk along the trails and shore to identify our birds in the various habitats at the park. Meet at the restroom pavilion.
Majestic Eagles
Monday, Feb. 15
Time: 10–11:30 a.m.
Cost: $5 per family or $3 per individual
In honor of Presidents' Day, enjoy a morning at the park learning about our national symbol, the majestic bald eagle! Discover eagle habits and history, compare your arm span to that of an eagle and create an eagle craft. We'll conclude the program with a hike to the fishing pier to look for eagles soaring high over Harris Lake. Dress for the weather and bring your own binoculars, or borrow ours. Meet at the Longleaf Shelter.
Our staff is also offering GBBC programs at the American Tobacco Trail!
Check out the ATT Programs Page for details.
Many Wake County Parks are offering programs for the Great Backyard Bird Count!
Take a look at the main GBBC page for a list of all county park programs.


Citizen Science Thursday  


New monthly series! 
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 in layers, bring a water bottle and wear sturdy shoes. Meet at the Cypress Shelter.
Upcoming Dates:
February 18 
 March 10


Big Sweep

 Sunday, March 6 from noon–3 p.m.
For ages 6 and up
FREE fun volunteer opportunity!

Help keep Harris Lake clean!
Volunteers are needed to help collect trash along the lake shore and along New Hill Holleman Road, preventing lots of litter from reaching Harris Lake.
Minimum age for shoreline cleanup is 6; minimum age for roadside cleanup is 10.
All volunteers should wear sturdy shoes or boots, dress for the weather, bring a water bottle and your own gloves if you prefer.
We will provide park gloves and trash bags for all and orange vests for the roadside crew. All volunteers must sign the Wake County Volunteer Release.

Meet at the park office for introduction and assignments.


 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.

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