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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  

Summer Reading Special: Water Power!
Monday, July 28, 4:30–5:30 p.m.
At the Fuquay-Varina Public Library
Milling, or the grinding of grain to produce meal or flour from which bread is made, is an ancient practice going back to the origins of agriculture. Historic Yates Mill in Raleigh is a restored mill that operated for over 200 years, using water that flows from a stream as a valuable energy resource. People learned to use the power of running water to operate the small mills that were important to their families for food, building materials, clothing and more. Glimpse into everyday Early American life through 15-year old Noah Blake's 1805 diary and explore milling and water power through fun history and science activities.  For all ages; fee: FREE!  Preregistration is not required.
Art in the Park: Project Friendship
Sunday, August 3, between 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Come by the Finley Center any time during the day to participate in a collaborative community art project celebrating "Friendship Day" while enjoying the center's cool air conditioning. A variety of artistic materials will be provided to help you to express your vision of friendship and goodwill. For all ages; FREE!  Preregistration is not required.

9th Annual Fall Harvest Celebration

The park's largest free event of the year!
Saturday, September 20, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
This family-oriented event includes costumed corn-grinding tours of Yates Mill, a fun children’s scavenger hunt activity, live music and dance, story-tellers, community displays, hand-craft demonstrations and sales, antique vehicles, farm tool displays, food vendors, and much more! For all ages, FREE! Preregistration is not required. More event details will be provided as event time approaches.

Historic Trades

For all ages, FREE. Preregistration is not required. 

Ice Suppliers and Tradesmen
Saturday, July 19, 1–4 p.m.
Cool summer treats like ice cream, snow cones, and popsicles all have one thing in common. Ice!  Valued around the world for its cooling purposes for thousands of years, it was first harvested as a sale-able commodity in the United States in the early 1800s. Explore the history of this often overlooked essential ingredient and try your hand at ice bowling.
The Candy Maker
Saturday, August 16, 1–4 p.m.
Did you know that candy was originally a form of medicine either used to calm the digestive system or cool a sore throat?  Due to the high cost of sugar and the specialized knowledge needed to make candy, it did not become widely available in the United States until the early 1800s.  Join us to learn about the trade of candy making, taste some penny candy, and take a trip around the globe to explore the world’s favorite sugary treats.
The Historic Trades program is not offered in September BUT a great variety of North Carolina artisans will be demonstrating their work during the 9/20 Fall Harvest Celebration.

Little Sprouts 

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

Helping Our Animal Friends
Wednesday, July 23, 11 a.m.–noon
Our pets need our care every day. But did you know there are ways we can help wild animals, too?  Join us for an educational story on the back porch. Then go for a nature walk to see the ways our park helps our wild animal friends.
Let's Play Outside!
Wednesday, August 20, 2–3 p.m.
Come to the park for some outdoor fun! Try some new games from around the world. Learn how baby animals play and why play is important.

Apple Seeds and Orchard Fun
Friday, September 26, 11 a.m.–noon
Join us for some fruitful fun! Listen to a story about Johnny Appleseed, the legendary character who's based on John Chapman, the American frontier nurseryman who planted apple trees in many states. Play the game of "fruit dash" and try your hand at the "apple bushel toss." Then create a seed work of art to take home.

Little Historians

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

A Teddy Bear Picnic
Thursday, July 10, noon–1 p.m.
A "Teddy Bears' Picnic" is a song with a 1907 melody by American composer John Walter Bratton and lyrics by Irish songwriter Jimmy Kennedy in 1932. It remains popular as a children's song today. Grab your own lunch and teddy bear from home, and join us as we "go down to the woods today" for a fun picnic together in the park.  We'll explore the history of the Teddy Bear and play some sweet bear games.

Light the Way
Thursday, August 7, 11 a.m.–noon
August 7th is National Lighthouse Day! North Carolina is home to nine lighthouses including Cape Hatteras, the tallest in the United States. Join us to hear the true heroic tale of Abbie Burgess, a young woman who was forced to run her family's lighthouse alone in the winter of 1856. Play a lighthouse game and make your own model lighthouse to take home.
Constitution Day
Wednesday, September 17, 11 a.m.–noon
On this day we celebrate the adoption of the United States Constitution. Join us to learn about why the constitution is important and make your own Statue of Liberty hat and torch to take home.
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 

Messing About in Boats
Monday, July 21, 10:30 a.m.–noon
Ratty, Badger and Mr. Toad love spending leisurely summer days boating on the river. Folks coming to Yates Mill did, too! Make your own simple boat and enter it in our Mill Pond Regatta. One never knows what sorts of adventures a simple day on the water can bring. For ages 6 and up (with an accompanying adult); fee: $4/child. Preregistration is required.  This program is available upon request for organized groups during the month of July.

Flights of Fancy
Tuesday, August 19, 10 a.m.–noon
What do Leonardo da Vinci, Otto Lilienthal, Orville and Wilbur Wright and Amelia Earhart all have in common?  They all studied aviation or piloted air planes. In celebration of National Aviation Day, join us to learn the history of flight and the historical figures that made it possible through fun experiments, games, and crafts. For ages 8–12, fee: $4/child. Preregistration is required.
The World of Beatrix Potter
Thursday, September 25, 10 a.m.–noon
Beatrix Potter was a naturalist who used art to tell stories. Learn from her techniques to make stories of your own! Celebrate National Comic Book Day with this outdoor creative experience for "Take A Child Outside" week. For all ages; fee: $4/child. Preregistration is required.

Natural Explorations  

Seniors' Nature Walk
Wednesday, September 10, 8:30–9:30 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.
Take a Child Outside Hike
Monday, September 29, 5:30–6:30 p.m.
Spend some quality time enjoying the great outdoors with your family while getting some fresh air and exercise.  Develop your child’s interest in nature and listen to a park naturalist as they share their knowledge of and experiences with nature and wildlife.  For all ages; fee: FREE!  Preregistration is required.

Yates By Night  


Up, Up and Away Astronomy: Stories in the Sky
Friday, July 18, 7–8 p.m.
Make a sky chart and learn what constellations are in the sky this season. Learn some sky-related myths and then write your own!  For ages 8 and up; fee: $5/family or $3/person. Preregistration is required.  This program may be cancelled in the event of inclement weather.
Night Riddles
Friday, August 8, 8–9 p.m.
Join a park naturalist for a walk in the park after dark.  No flashlights allowed!  Find hidden clues along the way to answer a night time riddle. For ages 8 and up (with an accompanying adult); fee: $5/family or $3/person. Preregistration is required. Please wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes.

Recreational Adventures


Paddle the Pond
Saturdays, July 26, August 23 and September 27
10–11 a.m. and 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!
Clean Water, Clean Fish
Sunday, July 27, 9–10 a.m.
Are fish safe to eat?  How do you know?  Find out why or why not before you fish!  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 an accompanying adult); fee: $5/family or $3/person.  Preregistration is required.
How Smart are Fish?
Sunday, August 24, 9–10 a.m.
Think fish aren't so smart?  Think again!  Learn about fish adaptations and intelligence before fishing in the millpond.  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 an accompanying adult); fee: $5/family or $3/person. Preregistration is required. 
Fishing Footprint
Sunday, September 28, 9–10 a.m.
What is a fishing footprint?  Find out during this hands-on program and learn how to be a responsible fisher.  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 an accompanying adult); fee: $5/family or $3/person.  Preregistration is required.

Track Out Days

Carolina Clues
Tuesday–Thursday, August 26–28, 1–4 p.m.
Track out at Yates Mill! Join us for one, two or all three days of History Detectives! Attention budding detectives, 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, and archaeology we'll learn how real historians solve history mysteries every day. Great for homeschoolers and track outs! This program is great for year-round students on Track 3. For students in grades K–5; fee: $15/day (includes a $4 mill tour) or $40 for all 3 Track Out Days. Preregistration is required.
Our park staff also offers Track Out Days at Crowder District Park.


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 7/10/2014 11:21 AM by Stephen R. Walston