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Rebeccah Cope

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Historic Yates Mill County Park offers a variety of site-based, experiential programming for all generations.

For a printout of upcoming programs and events, please refer to the Yates Mill quarterly program newsletters below.
To register, complete and sign the Park Program Registration Form and return it with payment (made out to Wake County Parks) by mail or bring by the park office located at the address listed below. Payment and registration form must be received to confirm your spot in our programs.

Looking for Tours of Yates Mill? View the Mill Tours page.

Looking for Organized Group Programs?  View the Group Programs page.

Please note that all payments must be made using cash, check or money order – park staff do not have the ability to take credit cards.
The following programs are offered
at Historic Yates Mill County Park, 4620 Lake Wheeler Road, Raleigh, NC 27603.
For more information, contact the park at 919-856-6675 or email

Special Events    

Fall Big Sweep Cleanup
Sunday, October 5, 9 a.m.–noon 
Join park staff on "Do Something Nice Day" and help to “sweep up” trash from around the millpond and the roads surrounding the park.  Gloves and trash bags will be provided.  Come prepared for the weather and wear proper clothing and closed toe shoes. To volunteer, please call 919-856-6675. For ages 18 & up.

Seasonal Program: Pumpkinpalooza
Friday, October 31, 10–11 a.m.
There’s something about a pumpkin that is absolutely magical! Come discover the story of our favorite autumn gourds. Paint your own pumpkin to take home and discover what lies beneath the rind. Then head outside for a pumpkin hunt! For all ages: fee: $5/family or $3/person. Preregistration is required.

A Side of History: Veterans Day
Tuesday, November 11, 11 a.m.–noon
On Veterans Day the United States honors the men and women who serve and have served our country. Learn about this important holiday and make pretty firework cards to send to some of our veterans. For all ages; fee: FREE! Preregistration is not required.

Yates Mill Associates Holiday Sale
Saturday, November 15, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
YMA_logo_red.jpgPlease join Yates Mill Associates for our annual their Holiday Sale, where you can stock up on cornmeal and cookbooks for your holiday baking and gift-giving. You can also buy T-shirts, hats, mugs, artwork and other souvenirs of Wake County's last operating gristmill, as well as handcrafted clothing, accessories, photographs, home decor and more made by YMA's talented volunteers. All proceeds support YMA's ongoing efforts to maintain and operate Yates Mill.

Seasonal Program: Pilgrims at Play
Friday, November 21, 10:30 a.m.–noon AND 3–4:30 p.m.
Ever wonder what it was like to be a kid at the First Thanksgiving? Come to Yates Mill and find out! Play 17th-century games, learn to talk like a pilgrim, and try some of the original Thanksgiving treats. For all ages; $5/family or $3/person. Preregistration is required.

Take a Photo with Santa at the Old Millvictorian-santa.jpg
Saturday, December 13, 10 a.m.–noon & 1–3 p.m.
Santa sure is a busy guy around the winter holidays season, but fortunately he's made time for us. To help us raise funds to support Historic Yates Mill, he'll be dressed up Victorian style inside the mill building between the hours of 10 a.m.–noon and 1–3 p.m. Have your picture taken with Santa (fee: $15-65, depending on the photo size) – he'll be "receiving callers" on a first-come, first-served basis . While you wait, play some "reindeer games" in the mill yard and try out a variety of old-time toys. Also, enjoy some free, seasonal refreshments.

Art in the Park: Make-a-Flake
Saturday, December 27, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Who hasn't enjoyed the simple pleasures of cutting paper into snowflakes on a cold winter day? Come to the park center anytime between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. to make some paper snowflakes of your own, or make some to help decorate our park center windows. Also, explore how snowflakes form and what can affect their structure. For all ages; fee: FREE! Preregistration is not required.

Historic Trades

For all ages, FREE. Preregistration is not required.  

The Historic Trades program is not offered in September BUT a variety of NC artisans will be demonstrating their work during the 9/20 Fall Harvest Celebration.   
The Cooper
Saturday, October 18, 1–4 p.m.
Do you know what job a cooper does? This trade goes back centuries and has remained almost unchanged. Coopers make barrels, casks and buckets. The Tupperware of their day, these wooden containers held flour, gunpowder, beer, distilled beverages and much more. Take the barrel bean bag toss challenge and learn more about this interesting historic trade.
Clothiers, Mercers and Haberdashers
Saturday, November 15, 1–4 p.m.
The haberdashery shop is open! Come out anytime between 1–4 p.m. to explore several historic textile-related trades. Learn how these jobs evolved over time and play some games to see if you can distinguish between the traditional roles of clothiers, mercers and haberdashers. Also, find out if these jobs are still around today!

Little Sprouts 

For ages 3–5 with accompanying adult; fee: $4/child or $10 for three Little Sprouts programs. Preregistration is required.   

Thursday, November 6, 10–11 a.m.
Celebrate "Marooned without a Compass Day" by joining us for an outdoor program on way-finding. Learn about the cardinal directions and how to find your way without a compass by using time, shadows and plants! For ages 3–5; fee: $4/child or $10 for 3 Little Sprouts programs. Preregistration is required.

Pine tree drawing.jpg
Let's Look for Evergreens

Friday, December 19, 10–11 a.m.
Celebrate the winter season by coming out to the park on "Look for an Evergreen Day"! Many types of Christmas trees grow in the wild, such as firs, spruces,and pines, and the scent of fresh pine sure captures the feel of the holidays! Celebrate this unique holiday by learning about evergreens and making a fun pine needle craft, then bundle up to go outside to find where they grow in the park. For ages 3–5; fee: $4/child. Preregistration is required.


Little Historians

For ages 5–7; fee: $4/child or $10 for three Little Historian programs. Preregistration is required.   

Mad Tea Party
Monday, October 6, noon–1 p.m.
Celebrate "Mad Hatter Day" with an adventure to Wonderland and learn a little about the book's author, Lewis Carroll. Take tea and cake with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare, play games and make your very own crown, while watching out for the Queen of Hearts. For ages 5–7; fee: $4/child or $10 for 3 LH programs. Preregistration is required.

Bravo for Bread!bread-ingredients.jpg

Monday, November 17, 11 a.m.–noon
Celebrate "National Homemade Bread Day" with us. Learn what makes bread rise, explore bread from around the world and make a bread clay sculpture to take home. For ages 5–7; fee: $4/child or $10 for 3 Little Historians programs. Preregistration is required.
Totally Toys
Tuesday, December 2, 11 a.m.–noon
Children have been playing with toys and using them to learn important skills for thousands of years. Join us to read a story, explore the kinds of toys children play with around the world, and make a few historic toys to take home. Bring your favorite toy to share with the group. For ages 5–7; fee: $4/child or $10 for 3 Little Historians programs. Preregistration is required.
Be sure to check out the Nature Watchers (for ages 3–5) and Nature Friends (for ages 6–9) Program Series that are being offered at Crowder District Park. 

Homeschool Days 

World Foodways
Friday, October 17, 1–3 p.m.
Food is an important part of our individual, regional and even national identity. Explore food traditions from across the globe and discover how similar or different cultures can be in terms of what, and how much, they eat. Then head down to the old mill to discover how food has historically been produced in the Yates Mill community. For ages 7–12; fee: $8/child (includes a $4 mill tour). Preregistration is required.

Grains.jpgA-Maize-ing Grains and Gristmills

Monday, November 3, 10:30 a.m.–noon
Celebrate "Sandwich Day" by joining us for a hands-on program about staple grains and their importance to our lives. Explore the purpose of gristmills and the role they have played in farmers' lives, both today and in the past. For ages 7–12; fee: $6/child (includes a $4 mill tour). Preregistration is required.

The Spirit of Giving
Monday, December 15, 10:30 a.m.–noon
Get into the spirit of giving by helping to cut out and assemble warm fleece blankets for children in need. No sewing skills are required! All blankets made during this program will be donated to the Project Linus nonprofit group. By helping out, you'll become a "blanketeer"! For ages 7 & up; fee: FREE! Preregistration is required.

Natural Explorations  

Seniors Stay Fit Nature Walk
Wednesday, October 8, 9–10 a.m.
Monday, November 10, 9:30–10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, December 9, 10–11 a.m.
Walking helps you stay strong and fit! Join us for a short nature walk (3/4-mile) just for seniors. Learn to identify native plants and wildlife and visit the park's two boardwalks for some nature viewing. Binoculars will be provided, or you can bring your own. Make sure to bring water and wear sturdy hiking shoes! For ages 55 and older; fee: FREE! Preregistration is required.
Leave the Wetlands to Beaver
Sunday, October 5, 3:30–4:30 p.m.
Explore how beavers help to create wetlands that benefit a great variety of wildlife and discover some of the special adaptations that make beavers such great builders. Search for signs and evidence left behind by beavers while taking a short walk in the park. For all ages; fee: FREE! Preregistration is required.

Yates by Night: Monsters of the Millpond
Thursday, October 30, 6:30–7:30 p.m.
What lurks behind trees, slithers across the pond or hides in the watery depths? Monsters of the millpond, that's what! Don't go out alone after dark on "Mischief Night" – join a park naturalist instead for a guided hike and explore the creepy critters that come out at night. For ages 6 and up; fee: $5/family or $3/person. Preregistration is required.

Fall Mill Pond 2012.jpg
Fall Colors Hike

Saturday, November 1, 2–3 p.m.
Ever wonder why Mother Nature puts on such a display of colors in the fall? Explore this amazing annual event during a guided hike and discover what these natural colors tell us about the environment. For all ages; FREE. Preregistration is required.


Winter Wildlife Survival Skills
Saturday, December 6, 11 a.m.–noon
Winter is coming. Learn about seasonal changes in nature and explore how various kinds of wildlife prepare for the cold, as well as what you can do to enhance your own winter survival skills. For ages 6 & up; fee: FREE! Preregistration is required.

Recreational Adventures


Paddle the Pond
Saturday, October 25, 2–3 p.m.
Come out to Yates Mill Pond for a morning canoe float. After basic instruction, explore the pond’s many features as seen only from the water. Canoes, paddles and life jackets will be provided. This program is subject to suitable weather conditions. For ages 6+ (with accompanying adult); fee: $10/boat. Preregistration is required. Space is limited, so register early!

Family Fishing Fun
Saturday, October 25, 9–10 a.m.
Come out to the millpond and fish the old fashioned way – we'll provide you with a cane pole, tackle and bait, along with basic instructions and assistance with identifying fish species. You'll need to bring your own luck and patience! For ages 5 & up, with accompanying adult; fee: $5/family or $3/person. Preregistration is required.

Track Out Days 

The Long Winter
Tuesday–Thursday, December 9–11, 1–4 p.m.
Track out at Yates Mill! Join us for one, two or all three days of the Long Winter! Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family really had to tough it out. Learn what the family did to survive one especially long winter and find out how the family celebrated Christmas and bring home several homemade holiday crafts. Learn all about how animals and people find food, build a shelter and survive winter. If you want to, come dressed in your best pioneer outfit!
Children in Grades K–5 will participate in curriculum-correlated activities, both together and by grade level. This program is great for year-round students on Track 1 and for homeschool students who want to learn science in a hands-on setting. Fee: $12/day (or $30 for all 3 days). Preregistration is required.



The go-to place for upcoming program and event listings for Historic Yates Mill County Park.

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Created at 7/30/2012 3:31 PM by Rebeccah Cope
Last modified at 10/1/2014 4:27 PM by Stephen R. Walston