Historic Yates Mill County Park offers public, educational programs for all ages year-round. Visit our Calendar of Events and sign up for our E-Newsletter to stay up to date!


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.

Scroll down or select a program series below to learn more about our offerings:
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Ready to sign up? Register online for public programs.
Search for programs by location, age, date and more!

For a printout of quarterly programs and events, and for a paper copy of the Wake County parks program registration form, refer to the program bulletin below.

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 yatesmill@wakegov.com.
Our staff also offers public programs at Crowder District Park.
Check out the Crowder programs page for details.
Do you want to see Wake County's last remaining water-powered gristmill in action?
Corn grinding demonstrations with 19th century costumed guides takes place on the third weekend of each month through November. Details are on our Mill Tours page. 
Save-the-date for the 2017 Fall Harvest Celebration
Saturday, Sept. 16, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Want to be involved? Contact our program director at 919-856-5635 for details.
For all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: FREE. Registration is not required. Stop by the Finley Center exhibit hall anytime during the program time.
A History Mystery
Sundays, May 21 and June 18, 1–4 p.m.
The Yates Mill Museum needs your help! Staff found a strange artifact that needs to be studied and identified. Use clues and your observational skills to discover for yourself what object of the past is being displayed and what the artifact must have been used for historically.
Eggstraordinary Egg Layers
Saturday, June 3, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
A variety of animals including birds, lizards, turtles, snakes, fish, insects, spiders and even some mammals hatch from eggs, which come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes and are sometimes laid in surprising places. On National Egg Day, explore the variety of eggs that exist in nature and help build an artistic "nest."
The Longest Summer Day
Tuesday–Wednesday, June 20–21, 8:30 a.m.–5 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 special summer day. Make a pretty sun catcher to hang in your window.

Art in the Park

New listings are coming soon!

Free historic trade wayside displays & demonstrations are offered on the third Saturday of each month, March through November, in the mill yard when the mill is open for tours and grinding corn. For all ages. Registration is not required.

Sheep Shearers & Wool Carders
Saturday, May 20, 1–4 p.m.
Jokingly, the question has been asked: “If wool shrinks when you wash it, why don't sheep get smaller when it rains?” But seriously, what’s the connection between sheep and wool? Find out during this month’s Historic Trades display while exploring the traditional work of the sheep shearer and wool carder and how their work relates to the production of clothing and other handmade textiles. Then play a game pretending you are sheep gathered in a heap, trying to spy the "woolly, woolly wolf."
Spinners, Dyers & Weavers
Saturday, June 17, 1–4 p.m.
Explore the traditional craftsmanship of hand spinning, dyeing and weaving, and discover how these trades support the use of unique fibers and the production of beautiful textiles. Delve into some of the raw materials, tools and creative processes that have been used by these tradespeople and try a bit of hand weaving on a small loom.

A Side of History 

Flag Day Fun
Wednesday, June 14, 4–5 p.m.
Celebrate Flag Day by delving into the history and lore of the American flag at Historic Yates Mill, which has been around since before the American Revolution. Explore the more than 30 national flag designs that have been used over time, and learn to cut out a five-pointed star like Betsy Ross. For ages 5 & up; fee: $1/person. Registration is required for all family members, and children must have adult accompaniment.

Peek into the Pond
Monday, June 5, 10:30 a.m.–noon
Many animals and insects live in and by a pond. Take a short walk to learn about Yates Mill Pond's watershed, then dip into the pond to explore the diversity of life that exists there. Examine pond organisms and use a microscope for an even closer view. Gain an understanding of what it takes to survive in the water, and explore how aquatic life helps us to understand water quality and environmental health. Registration is required. For ages 7–14; fee: $6/child. Registration is required. This is a drop-off program, but adults are welcome to stay.

Park Tales

Tiny Thumbelina
Friday, June 9, 4–5 p.m.
Written in 1835 by Hans Christian Andersen, "Thumbelina" is a tale about how life is full of adventures. Soon after being born from a fiery red flower, Thumbelina is kidnapped from home and pursued by many suitors, including a horrible toad, a bumbling beetle, and a grumpy mole. It's not easy being small, but Thumbelina successfully avoids their intentions before falling in love with a flower-fairy prince just her size. Listen to the tale then craft a "girl no bigger than your thumb" out of recycled material to take home. For all ages; fee: FREE. Registration is not required. Children must have adult accompaniment.
A Mid-Summer Day Dream
Wednesday, June 21, 4–5 p.m.
What do Historic Yates Mill County Park and the woodland faeries have in common? They both love nature! Take a short walk near the millpond to search for evidence of faeries (sightings are not guaranteed), explore the astronomical aspects of Midsummer's Day, and hear a few quotes from William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." For all ages; fee: FREE. Registration is required for all family members, and children must have adult accompaniment.

Yates by Night

The Starry Sky
Friday, May 19, 8–9 p.m.
Learn how to identify planets, stars, constellations and more! Enjoy a presentation in the park center auditorium, then head outdoors to view the night sky through our telescope (weather dependent). Hear stories about the stars and check out a variety of sky maps. For ages 6 & up (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: $1/person. Registration required.

Recreational Adventures

Country Dancing in the Mill Yard
Saturdays, May 20 and June 17, noon–12:45 p.m. & 4:00–4:45 p.m.
Put your dancing shoes on! Come to the mill yard to join our costumed interpreters Jon and Karena Potter in learning and dancing 19th-century country dances. You don’t need to have a partner to dance—just a willing heart and a desire to learn. No registration is required for this free, drop-in program, which will take place during our first corn grinding weekend of the year.
Paddle the Pond
Saturdays, May 27 and June 24, 3–4 p.m.
Learn basic canoeing skills and a bit about the millpond's history, then head out to explore the pond's many features as seen only from the water. Canoes, paddles and life jackets are provided, along with launch assistance. This program is dependent on suitable weather conditions. For ages 5 and up (with an accompanying adult), fee: $10/boat. Each canoe can hold 1–4 people (800-pound total weight limit). Registration required. All participants must sign a program waiver.
Messing About with Boats
Saturday, May 27, 10:30 a.m.–noon
Ratty, Badger and Mr. Toad love spending leisurely summer days going boating. Folks coming to Yates Mill did, too! One never knows what sorts of adventures a simple day on the water can bring. Hear some of "The Wind in the Willows" story while making your own crafty model boat, then test it out on the actual pond! We'll pose for pictures with our "Mill Pond Regatta." For ages 6 & up; fee: $2/person. Registration is required for all family members, and children must have adult accompaniment.
Family Fishing Fun
Sunday, June 18, 11 a.m.–noon
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 (adult accompaniment required for all children); fee: $1/person. Registration required.
This camp is FULL, but there is a waitlist.
Monday–Friday, July 17–21, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
This is a drop-off program for ages 7–14; fee: $170/child
Join us for an adventure camp filled with natural and historical experiences! In addition to park exploration, camp will include local field trips and expert guest speakers. Daily camp themes include (1) Radical Recyclers, (2) Soil Scientists, (3) History Detectives, (4) Field Ecologists and (5) Water Wizards.
Among other activities, Day 1 includes sustainability investigations and upcycled art projects; Day 2 includes a geology lab and fossil find; Day 3 includes a mill tour and archaeological adventures; Day 4 includes a hike in the park and owl pellet dissection; and Day 5 includes canoeing, cane pole fishing and water balloon games. Camp size is limited to 12 participants.
This camp is FULL, but there is a waitlist.
Monday–Friday, July 31–August 4, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Friday, August 4, 6–8 p.m.
Important: Students enrolled in this camp must attend all five days of camp and be available to perform the camp play at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences on the evening of Friday, August 4.
This is a drop-off program for ages 7–14; fee: $180/child
Explore the deep time story of our continent, from its beginning up to now, through Thomas Berry's play entitled "North America, Our Home" (view details here). Explore regional geography and maps while learning about the events that helped to shape the Earth and affected the plants and animals living on it. Also explore animal adaptations and our own place in the magnificent flow of time and creation. Note that this play includes a focus on evolution and the geologic time scale.
Participate as actors, musicians and stage hands in an interactive children’s play and explore a wide variety of performing and visual arts in an environment of encouragement and support. Learn and develop skills in acting, improvisation, movement, stage production and adaptation while performing a theater production. Camp size is limited to 12 participants.

Camps by Others that are Based at the Park

June 19–23, July 10–14 and July 24–28
June 26–30 and July 17–21
June 26–30 and July 10–14