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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 

April is Raleigh History Month!

Whereas the City of Raleigh was established on April 15, 1792, the month of April shall hereafter be known as "Raleigh History Month." Raleigh citizens and their neighbors are encouraged to visit, learn from, and enjoy the historic sites located around Raleigh.
Start your journey to discover Raleigh's past – get your Raleigh Heritage Trail "Passport to History" now! Visit any 6 of the 12 Raleigh Heritage Trail sites (including Yates Mill) to win a prize!  Be sure to get your passport stamped along the way! For details, please go to

Kelvin science festival logo.jpgScience Festival Simple Machines Field Day
Saturday, April 12, 10–11 a.m.
Get outside, get active and get excited about simple machines at Yates Mill! Join us for a hands-on outdoor Simple Machines Field Day. The first session is from 10–11 a.m. The second is from 11 a.m.–noon. Try out a fun simple machines challenge at each of our self-paced stations. Please dress for a mess! For all ages; fee: FREE. Preregistration required.
Yates Mill Associates' Chicken Pickin'
Saturday, April 12, 3–6 p.m.
Yates Mill Associates will hold their third annual Chicken Pickin' on Saturday, April 12. Barbecue and all the fixings will be served rain or shine. Each $25 ticket buys a plate full of chicken and pork barbecue, baked beans, sweet potatoes and cole slaw. You also get cornbread made from Yates Mill cornmeal, dessert and a drink.YMA_logo_red_wheel only.jpg
Tickets will be available for sale soon from members of the Yates Mill Associates board of directors and volunteers, by sending an email to or by calling Historic Yates Mill County Park at 919-856-6675. YMA will post more information on its website:
All Chicken Pickin' proceeds are used to help will mill repair and maintenance. Though Yates Mill won't be reopened for tours by April 12, you can take a walk around the mill pond to enjoy the scenery and a view of the mill from a distance.
Screen Free Week
Monday, May 5, 6–7 p.m.
Turn off the screen and turn on the fun! Join park staff to learn about the benefits of screen free time. Go outside to play active nature games. Take the Screen Free Week pledge and enter to win a prize when you complete the challenge! For all ages; fee: FREE! Preregistration is encouraged.
A Side of History: The Park's 8th Anniversary
Sunday, May 18, 1–4 p.m.
Yates Millpond is once again a place where people gather, as it was in the past. After a 20-year effort to restore the mill and a 10-year effort to develop the park, including recovery from damage done by Hurricane Fran in 1996, the park opened to the public in May 2006 and now hosts around 110,000 visitors a year. Join us in the park's visitor center for a display on the park's beginnings and enjoy some cookies and lemonade in celebration of the park's 8th anniversary.  For all ages; fee: FREE! Preregistration is not required. 

Historic Trades

For all ages, FREE. Preregistration is not required. 

The Farm Wife
Saturday, April 19, 1–4 p.m.
Successful life for NC Piedmont farming families required the hard work of all household members. Although not typically considered an occupation, farm wives performed many highly valued tasks essential to a family's survival. They washed, cooked, gardened, cleaned, cared for children and livestock among other tasks. Some also added a great deal to the household economy by selling canned goods, fruits and vegetables from their gardens. Join us to learn more about this often overlooked historic trade.
Millwrights, Millers and their Apprentices
Saturday, May 17, 1–4 p.m.
Milling is among the oldest of human occupations. While a miller operates water or wind mills, a millwright builds them and sets up machinery such as drive shafts, bearings, gears and mechanical belts. Most millers and millwrights were educated through apprenticeship programs where they received a combination of classroom education and a good deal of on-the-job training. Mill around with us as we explore the similarities and differences of these historic trades.
The Country Doctor
Saturday, June 21, 1–4 p.m.
Explore the historical profession of the medical practitioner with staff from the Country Doctor Museum, which is located in Bailey, NC, and is the oldest museum in the United States dedicated to the history of America's rural health care. Check out some of the museum's medical artifacts, try your hand at pill rolling and learn about medicinal herbs. Also learn about the country doctor that once served the Yates Mill community.   

Art in the Park 

The Earth Laughs in Flowers
Saturday, May 3, 1–5 p.m.
Get inspired by the park's natural beauty and contribute to a community art project celebrating the spring season of flowers. Head to the Finley Center reception desk to find out where this project will take place or call the park ahead of time. For all ages; fee: FREE! Preregistration is not required.

Little Sprouts 

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

Wednesday, April 23, 1–2 p.m.
Do you know what oviparous means? This big word is used to describe animals that lay eggs. We know animals like chickens lay eggs. Can you think of others? Join us to explore the world of egg-laying animals through stories and fun crafts.
Silly Squirrels
Wednesday, May 21, 1–2 p.m.
Squirrels are so silly! Come learn about these friendly mammals, gather nuts in a fun game and make a squirrelly craft to take home. Then spy on the squirrels at Yates as they jump from tree to tree searching for the perfect nut.
The Longest Summer Day
Wednesday, June 18, 1–2 p.m.
Every year, on June 21, we enjoy the most hours of sunlight during the whole year. Discover the science and cultural celebrations behind this day. Make a pretty sun catcher to hang in your window.

Little Historians

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

Legend of the Indian Corn
Thursday, May 1, 1–2 p.m.
Arvis Boughman's and Delora Cumming's beautifully illustrated book "Chicora and the Little People: The Legend of the Indian Corn, a Lumbee Tale" tells the story of a courageous girl who makes an amazing discovery. Join us for a story and a take home craft. 
Kids Can Do It!
Thursday, June 5, 1–2 p.m.
Balance work and play to experience 19th-century life through the eyes of a Piedmont NC child. Join us for stories, antebellum games and fun hands-on farm activities!
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

Mill Math
Tuesday, April 22, 10 a.m.–noon
Everywhere you look in Yates Mill, you can find math! Calculate gear ratios and work out grainy puzzlers. Make your own abacus to help multiply the fun. For ages 8 and up; fee: $8/child. Preregistration is required.

Milling Around
Monday, May 5, 10 a.m.–noon
Yates Mill is a grist mill that ground grains like corn and wheat into meal and flour for over 200 years. But grist mills are just one of many types of mills including textile, saw, and wind mills for generating electricity. Together we will explore these mills through fun history and science activities. A mill tour is included. For ages 811; fee: $8/child. Preregistration is required.
Animal Tails
Monday, June 16, 10–11:30 a.m.
Animal tails come in many shapes and are used in a variety of ways, for locomotion, balance, communication, defense and more. Some animals can even lose their tails and grow new ones! Join us for a program packed full of tall animal tales then play a tail matching game and pin the tail on the raccoon!  For ages 710; fee: $6/child. Preregistration is required.

Natural Explorations

For all ages; fee: FREE. Preregistration is required.
A May Flower Folly
Saturday, May 3, 10–11 a.m.
Stroll along the trails around Yates Mill Pond while searching for the many marvelous wildflowers that are in bloom, and listen to a few flowery poems along the way. Explore how flowers function and the types of flowering plants that grow locally.
Summer Sightings
Saturday, June 21, 8:30–9:30 a.m.
Head out with the whole family for a wild expedition into the wet and wooded lands surrounding Yates Mill Pond. Explore the park using binoculars and other field guides, and search for summertime wildlife with a naturalist.

Up, Up and Away Astronomy

Mars, the Red Planet
Friday, April 11, 7:30–8:30 p.m.
The red planet visits our skies this month. Come learn about our fascinating neighbor in space and find out what scientists are learning about it. Play games, make a craft and take a look, weather permitting. For ages 6 and up; fee: $5/family or $3/person. Preregistration is required.
Massive Saturn, Speedy Mercury
Friday, May 2, 7:45–8:45 p.m.
Believe it or not, if you have a pair of binoculars you can see the rings of Saturn. This month, Saturn and Mercury are visible right after sunset. Come learn about these planets and go outside to check them out, weather permitting. For ages 6 and up; fee: $5/family or $3/person. Preregistration is required.

Yates By Night 

Early Summer Hike
Friday, June 6, 7:30–8:30 p.m.
Join a park naturalist for an evening hike to enjoy the sights and sounds of early summer at Historic Yates Mill County Park. Learn tips for observing wildlife. Find out ways to identify the sounds made by birds, amphibians and insects as the sun goes down. For ages 8 and up; fee: $5/family or $3/person. Proper footwear and preregistration required.

Recreational Adventures

Please note that these programs may have to be cancelled if the repairs to the historic mill's forebay are not completed by the program dates, as the repairs require a draw down of the pond's water level.  Lack of water would prevent fishing and canoeing from being able to take place.

Family Fishing Fun
Saturdays, May 24 and
June 28, 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
Saturdays, May 24 and June 28, 10:30–11:30 a.m.
Sundays, May 25 and June 29, 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!

Track Out Days for Kids

Join us for one, two or all three days. 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 and for homeschool students who want to learn science in a hands-on setting. Preregistration is required.
Young Explorers
Tuesday–Thursday, April 15–17, 1–4 p.m.
New worlds await discovery near and far. Learn the tricks of the explorer's trade: study maps, compasses, telescopes and microscopes. Uncover the stories of some explorers you may never have heard of, including the first North Carolinians. Plan your own expedition and share your discoveries in journals, tables and works of art. This program is great for year-round students on Track 4 and for homeschool students who want to learn science in a hands-on setting.
Please check out the Track Out programs that are offered at Crowder District Park.

Summer Camps for Kids

Yates Mill's camps offer your child hands-on history and nature activities including tours of the old mill, visits with live animals, hikes, crafts, games, and more. Each day offers a different theme. There will be 2 adult staff with the kids at all times. Kids bring their own lunch and snacks. Preregistration is required. Camp size is limited, so sign up early!
Dirt-Digging Discoverers
May 27–30; 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Ages 6–9; Fee: $154/child (Track 2, traditional and homeschool)
Dinosaurs, rocks and history, oh my! All are hiding right under our feet. Join us to discover the massive animals who once roamed this area. Investigate the park's geologic foundations and learn about the first peoples who used the land. Wear the hats of a paleontologist, geologist and archeologist as we explore the history and science here in the NC Piedmont.
June 9–12; 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Ages 7–10; Fee: $154/child (Track 1, traditional and homeschool)
A "pioneer" travels and settles in a new place; do you have what it takes?!  Experience life on the Great Wagon Road before trying your hand at homesteading. Explore aspects of farming, from animals to vegetables to bugs in the soil, as well as the connections between farms and the natural environment.
Time Detectives
July 7–10; 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Ages 8–12; Fee: $154/child (Track 4, traditional and homeschool)
Attention Gumshoes, there's been a burglary at Yates Mill and we need your help. Collect clues, solve puzzles and bring the thieves to justice! Using science, art, archaeology and interviews with historical people, we'll learn how real historians solve history mysteries every day.

Adult Workshops

Advanced Milling Workshop
Friday, May 16, 5:30–7 p.m.
The historical roots of water-powered mills span cultures, civilizations and millennia. Test your mettle on mill-related vocabulary and your knowledge of waterwheels and ancient milling history at this evening workshop designed for the park's volunteer mill interpreters and the interested public. For ages 16 and up; fee: FREE. Preregistration is required.


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 4/9/2014 11:29 AM by Stephen R. Walston