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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.
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.

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

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

Interested in Volunteer Opportunities?  Check out the Volunteers-in-Parks page.

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

Saturday, 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.

Yates Mill Associates’ Holiday Sale
Saturday, November 21, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Please join Yates Mill Associates for their annual 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 a wide array of 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.
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Take a Photo with Santa at the Old Mill
Saturday, December 5, 10 a.m.–noon and 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 to raise funds to support Historic Yates Mill, he'll be dressed up Victorian style inside the mill building. Have your picture taken with Santa for a small fee, by appointment. While you wait, play some "reindeer games" in the mill yard and try out a variety of old-time toys. Also enjoy seasonal refreshments and purchase hand-made crafts. All proceeds directly support the mill's ongoing maintenance and operations. Additional details will be added soon!

Seasonal Programs

Yates by Night: Monsters of the Millpond
Friday, 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! 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 7 and up; fee: $5/family or $3/person. Preregistration is required.

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Pilgrims at Play – Session 1

Friday, November 13, 10–11:30 a.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 create a first Thanksgiving food collage to take home. Ages: 7 and up; $5/family or $3/person. Preregistration is required.
Pilgrims at Play – Session 2
Friday, November 13, 2–3:30 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 create a first Thanksgiving food collage to take home. Ages: 7 and up; $5/family or $3/person. Preregistration is required.
Art in the Park: Handmade Holidays
Saturday, December 5, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Handmade gifts are the best, plus they are a fun, creative and budget-friendly way to spread the holiday spirit. This season make unique gifts and create your own greeting cards inspired by the history of Yates Mill. For all ages; fee: FREE. Preregistration is not required.


Historic Trades

Free historic trade wayside displays and demonstrations are offered on the third Saturday of each month, March through November, in the mill yard.    


The Printer
Saturday, October 17, 1–4 p.m.
Mill owner William Boylan was involved in many enterprises, including journalism. He moved to Fayetteville in 1796 to join his uncle who published newspapers and, in 1799, Boylan moved to Raleigh to publish the Minerva. The productivity of presses increased over time, because of improvements in press construction and the use of steam to power them. Explore the technological evolution of the printing press and make your own "penny print" to take home. For all ages; fee: FREE. Preregistration is not required.

The Butcher, Baker & Candlestick Maker

Saturday, November 21, 1–4 p.m.
Winter’s just around the corner – are you ready? Learn how colonial frontier communities prepared for the dark, chilly days ahead. Knead bread, roll candles and try your hand at corncob darts to sharpen your hunting skills. For all ages, FREE. Preregistration is not required.

Note that Historic Trades is offered from March through November each year. Please check back in the spring for more of these listings.

Little Historians

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

Take Me to the State Fair 
Thursday, October 15, 11 a.m.–noon
Learn about the origins of this state tradition and the history behind some of its tasty treats and favorite events. Read a story, play fair games, and make a paper quilt to take home. For ages 5–7 with an accompanying adult; $4/child. Preregistration is required.
The First Thanksgiving
Friday, November 20, 11 a.m.–noon
It’s never too early to learn about the past! Join us for a story about the first Thanksgiving and participate in some crafts and games. Also find out how the turkey almost became our national symbol. For ages 5–7; fee: $4/child. Preregistration is required.
Totally Toys
Wednesday, December 16, 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. 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.

A Side of History  

Veterans Day
Wednesday, 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.

Homeschool Days   

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A-Maize-ing Grains & Grist-Grinding Mills

Wednesday, October 28, 10–11:30 a.m.
Put on your Grain Brain and investigate the grains in your favorite foods. Use a mortar and pestle to get inside and find out what makes whole grains so healthy to eat. Sprout a living necklace to wear home! Then take a history hike to Yates Mill. Try your hand at shelling corn and bartering as you solve fun history mysteries. Fee: $6/child; for ages 7–16. Preregistration is required.
Bread, A Slice of Science
Tuesday, November 17, 1–2:30 p.m.
Celebrate "Homemade Bread Day" with us. Learn what makes bread rise, explore bread from around the world and make a personal pizza from scratch. Ages 7 & up, $6/child. Preregistration is required.
The Spirit of Giving
Monday, December 14, 10 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 of the blankets made during this program will be donated to the Project Linus non-profit group. By helping out, you'll become a "blanketeer"! For ages 7 & up; fee: FREE! Preregistration is required.

Natural Explorations

Who's Passing Through?
Sunday, October 18, 2–3 p.m
Every fall, the park fills up with seasonal migratory birds along with its year-round residents. Take a hike with an experienced naturalist to improve your identification skills and learn about the unique critters that take refuge at Yates Mill Pond. For ages 6 & up; fee: FREE. Preregistration is required.

Fall Foliage Hike

Saturday, November 7, 11 a.m.–noon
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
Sunday, December 6, 2–3 p.m.
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

An Orienteering Outing
Monday, October 12, 3–4:30 p.m.
Strike out on Columbus Day and find your way to the park to participate in an orienteering adventure. Track your way through the woods with the help of the sun's light and the earth's magnetic field. Use a compass to navigate your way through an obstacle course. Make maps and memories! For ages 8–12; fee: $6/child. Preregistration is required.
Family Fishing Fun
Saturday, October 24,
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.

Paddle the Pond
Saturday, October 24,
11 a.m.–noon
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!
Note that Canoeing and Cane Pole Fishing programs are offered April through October each year. Please check back next spring for new dates.


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

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Content Type: Article Page
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Created at 7/30/2012 3:31 PM by Rebeccah Cope
Last modified at 9/29/2015 6:00 PM by Stephen R. Walston