floodplain.jpgWhether you are a child or an adult, Lake Crabtree has a program for you! All programs offered at Lake Crabtree are FREE unless otherwise stated. All programs have space limitations and, therefore, require registration prior to the program.


The health and safety of our visitors and staff remain the top priorities for Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space. As Wake County follows the state’s phased approach to lift COVID-19 restrictions, we are also working to safely reopen park services in phases over the coming months. 

Update: External restrooms and water fountains will reopen on Monday, June 1. 

Wake County parks and preserves have been open throughout the pandemic. Visitors must comply with guidelines set forth by the state, including gathering with no more than 25 people and maintaining physical distance of at least six feet from any other person.

Measures to limiting the number of people allowed in the park at one time remain in place. If a gate is closed or cones are blocking the entrance, that means the park has reached capacity. Parks that are run by towns or cities may be operating differently—please reach out to them directly before visiting their parks.  

The following restrictions will remain in place at Wake County parks and preserves through at least June 30: 
  • Playgrounds and park centers are closed.
  • Park programs and events are canceled. 
  • Special operations, such as boat rentals, group camping and lodge rental, are not available. 
  • Shelter rentals and other park use agreements are canceled. 
In the meantime, be sure to check out our digital programming at wakegov.com/parks/fromhome.

Experience Lake Crabtree County Park virtually! Check out our Lake Crabtree from Home page.



To register online, use the registration buttons to the right of each program or the links below the description.

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Family Programs

*Preregistration is required for all programs unless otherwise noted. All participants must be registered. All family programs require an adult to register and attend with children under 18. Age restrictions may apply. Age limits are established for safety and program content. Pets are not permitted at programs.

Birding with Vernon
1st Saturday of each month (unless otherwise stated), 8:30–10 a.m.
March 7, April 4, May 2, June 6
No preregistration required


Meet at the Waterwise Garden (first parking lot on right)
Join our bird enthusiast, Vernon, for an easy walk while looking and listening for our feathered friends. Discover different types of birds and their habitats.​ All ages.


Crabtree Casters
6:30–8 p.m.
Whether you already enjoy fishing or would like to learn how to fish, this program is for you! Join park staff for a fun, informal fishing experience. Bring your own poles or borrow one of ours through the Tackle Loaner Program. Bait and basic instruction are provided. Fishing is catch and release only. All participants 16 years and older must have a valid NC fishing license to participate. All children must be accompanied by a registered adult. Only registered participants will be allowed on the fishing pier during the program. If the accompanying adult does not have a license, minors will be covered by the licensed instructor.​ Choose a date below to register online. Ages 4 and up.





Nature Nerds
9–10 a.m.
Expand your knowledge of our local flora and fauna by exploring a different area of the park each month. Join park staff as they "nerd out" over amphibians, birds, insects, spiders and anything else they see or hear along the way. Help collect data for the Natural Resource Inventory Database while increasing your own identification skills.​ Choose a date below to register online.  Ages 9 and up.

April 14
May 12
June 30


Signs of Spring Hike
Saturday, March 28, 1–3 p.m.

Join park staff on an easy hike to look for early wildflowers, blooming trees, and singing birds. Learn how to identify some common spring species and enjoy the park as it comes to life! All ages.​


Hoos Eating Hoo?
Friday, April 17, 7:30–9:30 p.m.
Learn about predator and prey relationships by taking a closer look at the eating habits of that mysterious creature of the night, the owl. Release your inner scientist as you examine an owl pellet. Then join park staff on a hike to look for signs of owls, other predators, and their prey.​ Ages 7 and up.


Going Batty
Saturday, May 16, 8–10 p.m.

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird...It's a bug...NO, it's a bat! Bats are the world's only flying mammals, and having wings is only one of the adaptations that make them unique. Discover just how special bats are during this evening program.​ Ages 7 and up.


The Eagles Have Landed!
Saturday, May 23, 1–3 p.m.
Eagles are often seen around Lake Crabtree County Park. From 2003 to 2011, they even nested here! In 2019, a new nest was discovered, and our eagle couple have returned this winter. Join park staff to learn more about this amazing bird and observe the nest yourself. We will look for eagles and other birds that frequent the mudflat area of the lake.​



Free Fishing Day
Saturday, July 4
Each year on July 4, North Carolina celebrates Free Fishing Day. This is the one day of the year when anyone can fish in NC public waters without having a fishing license. Come out to Lake Crabtree and test your hand at catch-and-release fishing. Park staff will be available to teach you the basics. All equipment and bait is provided by the park. Borrow one of our poles or bring your own. Ages 5 and up.Choose a time below to register online.









Children must be accompanied by an adult. Storytime for Tots occurs on the first Wednesday of each month (March-November) and includes a story followed by nature exploration and a craft or activity. Come prepared to actively participate with your child. Programs run from 1–2 p.m. Preregistration is required. Ages 2–6.




Great Blue Herons
Wednesday, April 1, 1–2 p.m.
Great Blue Herons can be seen every day at Lake Crabtree. Learn all about these amazing birds, including how they catch fish, where they nest, and more! We'll practice catching fish, make a heron to take home, and go for a walk to watch herons in action.​


Wednesday, May 6, 1–2 p.m.
We will read "The Salamander Room," which is about a boy who imagines all of the ways he can turn his room into the perfect home for a salamander. After the story, we will learn all about salamanders and their habitats, and create rooms for the "sallys" at Lake Crabtree.​



Wednesday, June 3, 1–2 p.m.
Before they become butterflies or moths, caterpillars have to grow up fast and avoid lots of hungry predators. Learn about the daily life of a caterpillar, and explore real cocoons and chrysalises. After the story, we'll make a craft and search for caterpillars, butterflies, and moths around the park.​







These programs are open to students 6–13 years old. Parents/guardians are welcome to stay for the program or drop-off. Preregistration is required.


Weather Wonders
Tuesday, March 31, 1–3 p.m.
The science of weather is called meteorology. This program investigates the basics of meteorology: what causes the weather, how meteorologists study it, and why it is important that they do! Students will go on a hike to collect some real world weather data and play Lake Crabtree's Weather Jeopardy game.​



Homeschool/Track-out: Hunting for Herps
Wednesday, April 29, 1–3 p.m.
​Come learn about the unique life cycle that makes an amphibian an amphibian and other ways they differ from reptiles. Join park staff as we go in search of wild turtles and other reptiles and amphibians in their natural habitat.


Macro Mayhem & Water Quality
Wednesday, May 13, 1–3 p.m.

Clean water is important to both wildlife and humans. Learn about macroinvertebrates and how they help determine water quality. We will collect animals along the edge of the lake, perform water quality tests and learn about aquatic food webs. Participants will be getting in the water, so rubber boots or other sturdy, waterproof shoes are a must!​


Homeschool/Track-out: Partnering with Pollinators
Thursday, June 18, 1–3 p.m.
Join us as we take a closer look at pollinators and their relationship with flowers. We will discuss pollinator conservation and learn how you can make your yard or garden friendly to these valuable creatures.​









Rain Barrel Workshop
Wednesday, April 22, 6:30–7:30 p.m.

Description: Build your own rain barrel! Participants in this workshop will take home a fully functional 55-gallon rain barrel with installation kit. These are the same rain barrels that retail for $99 and up! Workshops are limited to eight barrels, so reserve your spot now. One registration per barrel. Cost is $45 per barrel, and participation is limited to two people per barrel.​ Ages 18 and up.


Beginner Birding Class

What is the difference between birdwatching and birding? Birding with Vernon walk leader, Vernon Janke, will talk about the art of birding, and the tools and techniques you need to improve your birding skills. Discover why birding is one of the most popular outdoor activities, and use your new knowledge on a bird walk around the park.​ Choose a date below to register for a class online. Ages 18 and up.

Full Moon Paddle
Thursday, May 7, 8–10 p.m.
Paddle Lake Crabtree by moonlight and enjoy views of the full moon from the lake. Experience this unique opportunity to be in the park after hours!​Choose a boat type below to register online. Ages 18 and up.



Full Moon Paddle
Friday, June 5, 8–10 p.m.
Paddle Lake Crabtree by moonlight and enjoy views of the full moon from the lake. Experience this unique opportunity to be in the park after hours!​ Choose a boat type below to register online. Ages 18 and up.





Lifestyles of the Small and Squishy
Friday, June 12, 9 a.m.–noon
Insects eat plants – let us count the ways! There is a surprising and incredible variety of ways to eat plants, ranging from chewing them to sucking out their juices (like mosquitoes do to us), to mining trails through the insides of leaves, to creating tumors on plants that create fresh food. In this workshop we will explore different ways animals eat plants and discuss the adaptations behind some of these methods of feeding. Then we will work on finding examples of herbivores in nature to provide you with some tools for contributing to science by looking closely at the small things feeding on plants in your backyards. ​Ages 18 and up.






Spring Big Sweep
Saturday, April 4, 9 a.m.–noon
Help clean up Lake Crabtree's shoreline and other areas around the park. Individuals, families and groups can register to participate in this event. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Gloves and bags will be provided. Participants must bring a completed Wake County Volunteer Waiver Form to the event. Long pants and sturdy, closed-toe shoes are required. Drinking water, sunscreen and a hat are recommended.​ Ages 5 and up.





Dragonfly Detectives Camp
Monday, July 20–Thursday, July 23, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.

$80 per camper

Dragonfly Detectives Camp is a four-day camp at Lake Crabtree County Park for children ages 9–13. Each camper will receive a dragonfly field guide, insect net, activity guide and water bottle to keep. Snacks will be provided each day. This camp is co-sponsored by the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.

Explore the world of dragonflies! Learn about aquatic systems, animal migration, and dragonfly identification while participating in fun, scientific activities. Campers will help gather data on dragonfly migration and contribute to a citizen science project.



LCCP Adventure Backpack Bin image for website.jpg
Visit Lake Crabtree's Adventure Backpack Bin, on the garden side of the manager's office, for some educational fun! You can participate in a citizen science project, go on a scavenger hunt or do some birdwatching! All of the information and tools you need are provided. Just show up anytime during park hours, sign out a backpack at the bin and begin your adventure! Please be sure to take our short survey when you have completed your activity.


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