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:
 
Now Available!
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.
 
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. 
 
Yates Mill Associates’ Holiday Sale
Saturday, November 19, 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.
 
Take a Photo with Santa at the Old Mill
Saturday, December 3, 10 a.m.–noon and 1-3 p.m.
Come have your picture made with Santa inside Yates Mill. While you’re there, play some "reindeer games" in the mill yard, try out a variety of old time toys, and enjoy some free seasonal refreshments. Also purchase hand-made crafts. Photo Packages: $15 and up, depending on photo sizes. A digital image will be $35. Tickets go on sale at 9 am on 12/5. Proceeds from the event will benefit Yates Mill Associates’ ongoing efforts to keep Yates Mill operating and open to the public.
The Autumn Equinox
Thursday, September 22, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
The Autumn equinox signals the beginning of Fall. It is the point where there are exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness at the equator. Mark the change of seasons by heading to the park's Finley Center Exhibit Hall to explore fun facts about this special time of year. Find out about how and why the equinox occurs, and also learn about seasonal folklore and related historical traditions. For all ages; fee: FREE. Registration not required.
 
Fossil Finds
Friday, October 14, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Fossils preserve ancient life from all major eras of Earth's history, and from every major group of animal or plant. Celebrate National Fossil Day by checking out our park center wayside display on the scientific and educational value of fossils, and on the natural processes that shape our planet over time. Participate in a fossil find activity and learn about the tools that are used by paleontologists to study the history of life on Earth. For all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: FREE. Registration not required. Stop by the Finley Center exhibit hall anytime during the program time.
 
History Mysteries
Sundays, October 16 and November 20, 1–4 p.m.
The Yates Mill Museum needs your help! Staff found a strange artifact that came from the park site 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. For all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: FREE. Registration not required. Stop by the Finley Center exhibit hall anytime during the program time.
 
National Sandwich Day
Thursday, November 3, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
National Sandwich Day is observed annually on November 3. The sandwich is believed to be the namesake of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, following the claim that he was the inventor of the sandwich. This day honors one of America’s most popular lunch items. Explore how sandwiches are made and what they consist of from diverse cultures around the world and learn why whole grain bread is considered healthier than white bread. For all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: FREE. Registration not required. Stop by the Finley Center exhibit hall anytime during the program time.
 
The Shortest Day
Wednesday, December 21, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Late dawn. Early sunset. Short day. Long night. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, the December solstice marks the longest night and shortest day of the year. Celebrate this special day by checking out our wayside solstice display, and explore how cultures all over the world celebrate this day with music, food, and festive good cheer. For all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: FREE. Registration not required. Stop by the Finley Center exhibit hall anytime during the program time.
  

Art in the Park

 
Sunday, September 25, 3–4 p.m.
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. For ages 5 & up (adult accompaniment needed for all children); fee: FREE. Registration required.
 
Medieval Beasts & Bestiaries
Monday, October 31, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Originating in the Ancient world, bestiaries were made popular in the Middle Ages in illustrated volumes that described various animals. Medieval animal illustrations were usually not realistic and, in many cases, the artists had never seen examples of the beasts they drew. Sometime they even took the features of several animals and made them into a composite creature with special powers drawn from its attributes. Create your own fantastical beast at the park - we'll supply the art materials, you bring your imagination! For all ages (adult accompaniment required for children); fee: FREE. Registration not required. Stop by the Finley Center exhibit hall anytime during the day.

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.

Brewers & Distillers
Saturday, October 15, 1–4 p.m.
Explore the history of brewing and distilling, and discover the ingredients that have used through time to create a variety of alcoholic beverages. Savor the pungent aroma of malted corn, and learn about the brewing and distilling processes that have traditionally been used in North Carolina. Also check out a real copper still that was seized and foiled by revenuers. For all ages, FREE. Registration is not required.
 
Butcher, Baker & Candlestick Maker
Saturday, November 19, 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. Registration not required.
 

A Side of History  

Veterans Day
Friday, November 11, 1–2 p.m.
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 (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: FREE! Registration not required.
 
Totally Toys
Thursday, December 1, 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 historic toy to take home. Bring your favorite toy to share with the group. For all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: $1/Person. Registration is required. 
 

Thursday, September 29, 2–4 p.m.
Hark! Who goes there? Learn to read the tracks and signs animals leave behind. Find out what animals are eating, where they are going and what they’ve been up to! Observe animals in action on an around-the-pond hike. For ages 8–14; fee: $8/child. Registration required. This is a drop-off program – adults are welcome to stay, but seating in the classroom is limited.
 
Adventures at the Family Table
Monday, October 24, 1–2 p.m.
From the Carolinas to the Ivory Coast, families come together around the dinner table. Explore food traditions from around the globe then make a self-portrait inspired by famous Renaissance food artist, Giuseppe Archimboldo. For all ages (this program is most appropriate for ages 7 & up; adult accompaniment is required for all children); $1/Person. Registration is required. Bundle this program with the Historic Food Production Mill Tour from 2-3 p.m. for the ultimate learning experience.
 
Historic Food Production Mill Tour
Monday, October 24, 2–3 p.m.
The Yates Mill building contains milling equipment that has been used to grind corn into meal and wheat into flour since the mid-1700s. This machinery is run off the power of the water that’s stored in the millpond, through the use of simple machines such as wheels, axles, gears and more. Take a walking tour to discover how the mill works and see the waterwheel in action. For all ages; fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+) and $4/Child (ages 16 & under). Registration is required. Bundle this tour with the Homeschool Day "Adventures at the Family Table" program taking place from 1-2 p.m. for the ultimate learning experience.
 
Artifact Discovery
Monday, November 14, 10–11 a.m.
Go back in time to the 18th century. Compare life then and now using pictures, artifacts and modern objects as well as historic reproductions. In a guided inquiry, discover the purposes of several unusual objects from yesteryear. For all ages (this program is most appropriate for ages 7 & up; adult accompaniment is required for all children); $1/Person. Registration is required. Bundle this program with the History Detective Mill Tour from 11 a.m.-Noon for the ultimate learning experience.
 
History Detective Mill Tour
Monday, November 14, 11 a.m.–noon
Do you have what it takes to be a History Detective? Come to Yates Mill and find out! Hunt for clues and investigate the mystery of milling with real historical artifacts inside Wake County's only remaining water-powered gristmill. For all ages; fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+) and $4/Child (ages 16 & under). Registration is required. Bundle this tour with the Homeschool Day "Artifact Discovery" program taking place from 10-11 a.m. for the ultimate learning experience.
 
The Spirit of Giving
Tuesday, December 13, 10 a.m.–noon
Get into the spirit of giving by helping to cut out and assemble warm fleece blankets for children in need (fleece donations are also appreciated). No sewing skills are required! All of the blankets made during this program will be donated to the Project Linus non-profit group (www.projectlinus.org/). By helping out, you'll become a "blanketeer"! For ages 6 & up (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: FREE! Registration required.
 
The Ingalls Long Winter
Monday, December 19
Session 1: 10 a.m.–noon
Session 2: 1–3 p.m.
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. Taste an old-fashioned peppermint candy stick and bring home a home-made holiday craft. If you want to, come dressed in your best pioneer outfit! For all ages (this program is most appropriate for ages 7 & up; adult accompaniment is required for all children); $2/Person. Registration required.
 

Park Tales  

The Headless Horseman
Sunday, October 30, 3:30–4:30 p.m.
The Headless Horseman is a fictional character from the short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by American author Washington Irving. As Halloween approaches, come on out to the park to hear this spooky tale told with creative props and sound effects. Then make a paper headless horseman puppet to take home. For all ages (adult accompaniment required for all children); fee: FREE. Registration is not required.
 
The First Thanksgiving
Wednesday, November 23, 4:30–5:30 p.m.
Most of us are familiar with the story of the first Thanksgiving. But did you know that it took one woman four decades to earn Turkey Day a spot as a national holiday (during which time the Civil War took place and the U.S. went through five presidents)? Learn Sarah Hale's story and find out how the turkey almost became our national symbol. For all ages (adult accompaniment required for all children); fee: FREE. Registration is not required.
 
An Orange for Frankie
Friday, December 9, 4:30–5:30 p.m.
The Stowell family is abuzz with excitement, and Frankie, the youngest boy, is the most excited of all. But Pa hasn't returned from his trip and he'd promised to bring back oranges - a holiday treat. Heavy snows might mean no oranges, and, worse, no Pa! Through all this, Frankie learns an important lesson about giving. Come share this heart-warming story written by Patricia Polacco and hear how other people celebrate the winter holiday season. For all ages (adult accompaniment required for all children); fee: FREE. Registration is not required. 
Saturday, September 24, 3–4 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. Learn to move like different animals and sing nature songs. For all ages (adult accompaniment required for all children); fee: FREE! Registration required.
 
Migratory Bird Hike
Saturday, October 29, 8:30–9:30 a.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 look for the birds that take refuge at Yates Mill Pond. Bring binoculars if you have them, but we will also have a few available to lend. For ages 6 & up; fee: FREE. Registration required.
 
Fall Foliage Hike
Saturday, November 5, 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. Registration required.
 
Winter Wildlife Survival Skills
Sunday, December 4, 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 all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: FREE! Preregistration required.
 

Yates by Night

Night Critters
Friday, October 28, 6:30–7:30 p.m.
Come out to the park for a family adventure after dark. Use your ears and your night-adapted eyes to spy on the creatures of the night. Learn how nocturnal animals get ready for winter. Wear sturdy shoes and bundle up, since it gets chilly once the sun goes down!  For ages 6 & up (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee:$1/Person. Registration is required. 
 

Recreational Adventures

Paddle the Pond
Saturdays, September 24 and October 22
First Session: 9–10 a.m.
Second Session: 1–2 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 3–4 people (800-pound total weight limit). Registration required. All participants must sign a program waiver.