​On-site and Outreach Group Programs

Lake Crabtree offers a wide variety of environmental education programs for public and private schools, Scouts, birthday parties and other organized groups. Programs are available at the park or off-site (outreach). All programs are specific to the piedmont region of North Carolina. Please allow at least two weeks advance notice to schedule a program for your group.

Call 919-460-2723 or email colleen.bockhahn@wakegov.com for more information or to request a program date. You can also begin the reservation process by filling out a Group Program Request Form and choosing a topic from our Group Program List. If you have questions about a program topic that is not listed, please ask our staff – we will do our best to accommodate your group.

Most programs given on-site are $25/hour per staff member (fishing and canoe programs are $40/hour per staff member). Outreach programs are $40/hour per staff member. Group size per staff member will be limited to 15–30 depending on the program requested and age of the participants. Programs for pre-K groups are available to groups of 15 or fewer.

For the public:floodplain.jpg
Whether you are a child or an adult, Lake Crabtree has a program for you! All scheduled programs have space limitations and, therefore, require registration prior to the program. Please download a copy of our Registration Form or call 919-460-3355 to receive one by mail or fax, or for more information.

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Family Programs
(Everyone welcome)
Preregistration is required for all programs unless otherwise noted.

Birding with Vernon
1st Saturday of each month (unless otherwise stated), 8:30–10 a.m.
April 5, May 10 (second Saturday), June 7
FREE; 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.

Crabtree Casters
1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month, 6:30–8 p.m.
April 16, May 7, May 21

Meet at the Boat Rental Docks.
Whether you already enjoy fishing or would like to learn how to fish, this program is for you! Join park staff for an informal fishing experience for the whole family. Bring your own poles or borrow one of ours through the Tackle Loaner Program. Bait and basic instruction are provided. All participants 16 years and older must have a valid NC fishing license to participate. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Telling Trails
Saturday, April 19, 2–4 p.m.
$3/person or $5/family
Meet at the Dogwood Shelter.
Ever wonder what animal made those tracks you came across while wandering in the wilderness? Expand your hiking experience by learning how to identify animal tracks and other signs that they leave behind. Join us for an eye-opening hike and make an animal track to take home.

Mama Birds
Sunday, May 11, 1–3 p.m.
Meet at the Amphitheater.
Spend Mother's Day this year learning about parenthood...of birds! A total of 222 species have been sighted at Lake Crabtree – many of them live them here year round and even more nest here. We'll discuss the roles male and female birds of all kinds play in raising chicks, investigate our on-site nest boxes, and much more!

Spider Sniffing
Saturday, May 24, 8–10 p.m.
$3/person or $5/family
Meet at the Waterwise Garden.
Do you have a nose for nature? Bring it, a flashlight and your night vision for a hike around the Old Beech Nature Trail. Meet with park staff at dusk to learn what those bumps in the night really are and discover the secret art of "spider-sniffing."

Turtle Talk
Sunday, May 25, 1–3 p.m.
$3/person or $5/family
Meet at the Dogwood Shelter.
Turtles are the oldest existing group of reptiles. This ancient order still survives today due to some amazing adaptations. We'll learn about turtles and go in search of wild turtles in their natural habitat.

Tree Trivia
Sunday, June 8, 1–3 p.m.
$3/person or $5/family
Meet at the Waterwise Garden.
This program is Summer Tree ID with a twist! Learn how to identify some of our common piedmont tree species while learning random facts about them. Compete against other participants to become the winning Tree Trivia Team! Ages 8 and up.

Sunset Canoe Trip
Sunday, June 22, 7–9 p.m.
$5/person or $10/canoe
(canoe can hold 2 adults and 1 child maximum)
Meet at the Boat Rental Facility.
Join park staff for an evening paddle on the lake. We'll look for animals active at dusk, learn basic paddling techniques, and see the park from a new perspective. Ages 5 and up. Participants are encouraged to bring drinking water and wear sunscreen.

Free Fishing Day
Friday, July 4, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
Meet at the Fishing Platform.
No preregistration required.
In celebration of Independence Day, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has declared July 4 to be Free Fishing Day. From 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m., everyone in North Carolina – resident and non-residents alike – can fish in any public body of water, including coastal waters, without a fishing license. This, of course, includes Lake Crabtree, though keep in mind fishing at the lake is catch-and-release only.  Park staff will be set up with poles for you to borrow at our fishing platform, and will be on hand to provide basic instruction if you need it, as well as teaching you how to identify what you’ve caught.

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Adult Programs
(Adults only)

Are you an adult interested in programs at Lake Crabtree? Then let us know what you think so we can give you what you want by filling out this short survey.

Lake Trail Hike
Saturday, June 7, 1–5 p.m
Meet at the Waterwise Garden.
Of the 16 miles of trails at Lake Crabtree, 6 of them are the loop that goes all the way around the lake. Come prepared with good walking shoes that can handle some mud. This hike will last at least 3 hours as we will be taking our time exploring parts of the park that are often overlooked as well as identifying any interesting flora or fauna we encounter. Eligible for Criteria II or III NC-EE Certification credit.

Mass Extinction and Endangered Species
Friday, June 20, 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Meet at the Manager's Office.
There have been five massive extinctions in Earth's history. We are currently living in the sixth. We'll discuss the causes for this massive die-off, worldwide endangered species, local endangered species, success stories and what we can do to help species in crisis.

If you are working on your NC Environmental Education Certification, Criteria II or III hours are available for this program or as continuing education credit.

Optional pre-workshop homework is available for an additional two hours credit.

Please bring a bag lunch. If you would like materials to take home, please bring a memory stick.

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Storytime for Tots
Discover nature, beginning with a story, followed by outdoor, hands-on nature exploration. Each program will end with a fun activity or craft to take home. Come prepared to actively participate with your child. First Wednesday of each month. Programs run from 1–2 p.m. at the Beech Shelter. Cost is $4 per child, or sign up for three programs for $10. Preregistration is required. Ages 2–5.

A Slug’s Life
by John Himmelman
Wednesday, May 7
Follow the journey of a slug as it searches for food, shelter and a damp place to call home. Look for evidence of slugs around the park and learn all about slime trails. Participants will make a slug to take home.

What Joe Saw
by Anna Grossnickle Hines
Wednesday, June 4
Joe is always the last in line on walks through the park, and the other kids call him "Pokey Joe." Discover why Joe is always lagging behind, and why sometimes, being a slowpoke is a good thing! We'll go on our own walk through the park and keep track of what we see along the way.

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Homeschool and Track-Out Programs
These programs are open to students 6–12 years old (Please note that our age limits have changed). Each lesson meets at the Beech Shelter and the cost is $8 per child, unless otherwise noted. Preregistration is required.

Alien Invaders
Tuesday, April 29, 1–3 p.m.
Don’t look now, but we're surrounded! Strange animals and plants have invaded and they've thrown the environment out of balance. Learn about species that have become a problem in North Carolina and what you can do to help.

Dirt Don't Hurt
Monday, May 12, 1–3 p.m.
'Dirt' is the technical term for displaced soil. But what is soil? Did you know that in North Carolina alone there are 16 different kinds of soil? That we have a State Soil? Come learn about the earth under your feet and be ready to get your hands dirty!

Tuesday, June 3, 1–3 p.m.
Leave your GPS at home and learn how to find your way using only a compass and a map. We'll cover the basics of orienteering, including reading bearings, calculating your stride, and more. Use your new skills to find your way on our 1-mile orienteering course through the woods.

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Special Events
Big Sweep
Saturday, October 4, 9 a.m.–noon
Meet at the Boat Rental Tower
Join volunteers around the globe and help clean the world's waterways. Teams will pick up trash along the shore of Lake Crabtree and its connecting creeks. Gloves, bags and other supplies are provided by the park. We'll raffle off prizes and learn why it's important to educate others about litter. Individuals and groups are welcome.
Make a difference in your community! Preregistration is required.
Call 919-460-2723 to sign up.
Pollinator Festival
Saturday, June 21, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Meet at the Beech Shelter
June 16–23 is National Pollinator Week. Lake Crabtree is excited to host its second annual Pollinator Festival, featuring games, crafts and all sorts of other activities celebrating everything that pollinators do for us and the rest of the planet. There'll be prizes and other cool stuff for you to take home. Preregistration is not required.
Show up any time for some family fun.