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:
 
 
 
 
Ready to sign up? Register online for public programs.
 
Search for programs by location, age, date and more!
 
 
 
 
 
You can register for public programs online at your convenience and
pay for them with a credit/debit card.
 
Learn more under How to Register.
 

 
 
 
 
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. For more information, contact the park at 919-856-6675 or email yatesmill@wakegov.com.
 
 
 
Our staff also offers public programs at Crowder County Park.
Check out the Crowder programs page for details.
 
 
 
 
Do you want to see Wake County's last remaining water-powered gristmill in action?
Guided mill tours and corn-grinding demonstrations with 19th-century costumed guides take place on the third weekend of each month through November. Details are on our Mill Tours page.
  
13th Annual Fall Harvest Celebration: Cancelled due to Hurricane Florence
Saturday, Sept. 15, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
This family-oriented event includes corn-grinding demonstrations and costumed tours of Yates Mill and other event activities including a fun children’s scavenger hunt activity, live music and dance, storytellers, community displays, hand-craft demonstrations and sales, antique vehicles, farm tools, food vendors and more! For all ages; fee: FREE, although there is a $3–$5 fee for mill tours. Registration is not required. Parking will be off site with a free shuttle. EVENT DETAILS
 
Yates Mill Associates’ Holiday Sale
Saturday, Nov. 17, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Yates Mill Associates invites you to their annual holiday sale. Browse an array of gifts including crafts handmade by talented volunteers; Yates Mill souvenir mugs, T-shirts and hats; and cookbooks to inspire your cornmeal cuisine. They’ll have plenty of yellow and white cornmeal ground on Yates Mill’s stones available to purchase for Thanksgiving recipes and Christmas gifts. You’re welcome to order your cornmeal ahead of time by sending an email to cornmeal@yatesmill.org. Just tell them how many bags you’d like of white or yellow cornmeal ($5 per two-pound bag). All proceeds help YMA pay for mill maintenance and operation. November 17–18 will also be the last weekend of corn-grinding tours at Yates Mill before they close down for the winter, so stop by the mill for a peek inside as they prepare the winter’s store of meal. www.yatesmill.org
 
Take a Photo with Santa at the Old Mill
Saturday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m.–noon and 1–3 p.m.

Come have your picture taken with Santa inside Yates Mill. While at the park, play some "reindeer games," try out a variety of old-time toys, enjoy some free seasonal refreshments, and shop for hand-made crafts. Photo Packages: $15 and up, depending on photo sizes. A digital image will be $35. Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. on December 2 (the day of the photo shoots). Proceeds from the event will benefit Yates Mill Associates’ ongoing efforts to keep Yates Mill operating and open to the public.

 
 
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.
 
The Autumnal Equinox
Friday–Sunday, Sept. 21–23, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
The autumnal equinox signals the beginning of fall. It is the point when 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.
 
Bat Appreciation Month  
Thursday–Sunday, Oct. 4–7, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
October is Bat Appreciation Month and we are celebrating with a display table full of batty facts and fun activities! Stop by the visitor center to learn about how important these critters are, play a fun game, and take home a bat craft.
 
Plenty of Buffalo
Saturday–Monday, Nov. 3–5, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
In 1709, English naturalist and explorer John Lawson described North Carolina as having “Plenty of Buffalos,” which are also called bison. But due to overhunting, they disappeared from the state by 1799, almost a century before they were wiped out in the American West, and they were not reintroduced until 1919. On National Bison Day, explore the natural history and ecology of NC’s buffalo and make a fun bison craft to take home.
 
The Shortest Day  
Thursday–Sunday, Dec. 20–23, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice marks the longest night and shortest day of the year. Celebrate this special day by checking out our table display and explore how cultures all over the world celebrate this day with music, food, and festive good cheer.

  

Art in the Park

For all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: FREE. Children must have adult accompaniment.
 
Apple Seeds and Orchard Fun
Sunday, Sept. 23, 1–2 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. Registration is required.
 
Fantastic Halloween
Sunday–Wednesday, Oct. 28–31, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Do you like things that go bump in the night? Then join us in the park visitor center any time during the day for some spooky crafts to celebrate your fantastic Halloween! We’ll be making our very own trick-or-treat bags, paper plate jack-o-lanterns, and paper bag monster puppets! For all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); FREE! Registration is not required.
 
Thankfulness Project  
Monday–Wednesday, Nov. 19–21, 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 what you’re thankful for! Play a game of “Roll a Turkey” and take home your very own pine cone turkey craft. For all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); FREE! Registration is not required.
 
Super Snowflakes 
Thursday–Sunday, Dec. 27–30, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
What a lovely sight it is to see snow falling from the sky, so come help us to celebrate the beauty of the winter season by making some pretend snowflakes! Join us in the Finley Center where you can make paper snowflakes and help us decorate our Exhibit Hall for the coming winter! For all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); FREE! Registration is not required.

 
 
 
 
 

Free historic trade displays 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.

 
The Farm Family: Cancelled due to Hurricane Florence
Saturday, Sept. 15*, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
While large plantations have come to represent life in the American South, in reality the majority of the population was made up of middle- to lower-class farm families. These families depended on the labor of the husband, wife and children for survival. Bring your family and learn what your role on a 19th-century farm would have been through fun activities and crafts. *This is the day of our Fall Harvest Celebration.
 
The Candy Maker
Saturday, Oct. 20, 1–4 p.m.
Candy was originally a form of medicine used to calm the digestive system or cool a sore throat. Due to the high cost of sugar and the special knowledge needed to make candy, it did not become widely available in the United States until the early 1800s. Join us at this table display 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.
 
Butcher, Baker & Candlestick Maker
Saturday, Nov. 17, 1–4 p.m.

Winter is 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.

 
 
 

Seasons on a Farm

Free agricultural displays are offered on the third Sunday 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.
 
Bringing in the Harvest: Cancelled due to Hurricane Florence
Sunday, Sept. 16, 1–5 p.m.
Learn how farmers harvested crops such as wheat before the invention of mechanized harvesters, try threshing wheat by hand and make a craft to take home!

Going to the State Fair
Sunday, Oct. 21, 1–5 p.m.
Since the 1850s, North Carolina farmers have been going to the State Fair to learn about ways to improve their farming practices. Discover the origins of the State Fair and the history behind some of its tasty treats, and make a fair-related craft to take home!
 
Corn Shucking
Sunday, Nov. 18, 1–5 p.m.
During harvest time, farmers often helped their neighbors during communal gatherings such as corn shucking. Learn about this fall tradition and make a corn husk doll to take home!
 
 
 

A Side of History

Harvest-time for the Ingalls
Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2–3:30 p.m.
The harvest season was a busy time for Laura Ingalls Wilder's pioneer family. Put on your straw hat or sun bonnet and head to the park to try out the types of farm chores the family had to tackle and what they did to get ready for winter. Explore how the family tended to their farm animals, collected and stored fall fruits, and prepared for the county fair! For ages 5 & up (adult accompaniment required for all children); fee: $6/person. Registration is required.
 
Great Ghostly Gourds
Friday, Oct. 26, 2–3 p.m.
There is something about a pumpkin that is absolutely magical! Come discover the story of our favorite autumn gourds and their important role in Halloween. Discover what lies beneath the rind and make a fun pumpkin-themed craft to take home. Then go on a pumpkin hunt! (Please bring comfortable shoes for walking.) For all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: $1/Person. Registration required.
 
Veterans Day
Friday, Nov. 9, 10–11 a.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 thank-you cards to send to some of our veterans. For all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: FREE! Registration required.
 
The Spirit of Giving
Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2–4 p.m.
The word philanthropy means love of mankind. From the earliest days, human civilization has depended upon kindness directed towards strangers. Explore the history of giving, then help to cut out and assemble warm fleece blankets for children in need (fleece donations of at least 2 square yards are appreciated). Sewing skills are not required! The blankets will be donated to Project Linus. By helping out, you'll become a "blanketeer!” For ages 6 & up (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: FREE! Registration required.

 
 
 
   
 

Invent It! Inventors and the Patent System
Wednesday, Sept. 19, 10–11 a.m.**
All great inventions start out as merely ideas, and some even happen by accident. Hear invention stories, including the story of Oliver Evans, who invented the automated milling system used at Yates Mill; learn about the U.S. Patent System; and do some inventing of your own. Be sure to bring your creativity and wear your thinking caps. For ages 7–14, $4/child. This is a drop-off program, but adults are welcome to stay—however, seating is limited.
**Note that a History Detective Mill Tour is offered from 11 a.m. to noon—we encourage you to sign up for that, as well, for the ultimate program experience.

Birds of a Feather
Monday, Oct. 22, 10:30 a.m.–noon
Birds come in many shapes, sizes and colors, and have many neat behaviors. Explore the birds found around the millpond and their diverse habitats through several fun activities. Discover how to effectively use binoculars to spot birds in the landscape and to identify them by their seasonal calls. For ages 7–14; fee: $6/child. Registration is required. This is a drop-off program, but adults are welcome to stay.
 
Pilgrims at Play
Wednesday, Nov. 21, 10:30 a.m.–noon

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. Also explore what the First Thanksgiving was really like in 1621 for the Pilgrims and Wampanoag in New England. For ages 7 and up; $6/child. Registration is required. This is a drop-off program, but adults are welcome to stay – however, seating is limited.
 
The Ingalls’ Long Winter
Thursday, Dec. 20, 10:30 a.m.–noon
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 homemade holiday craft. If you want to, come dressed in your best pioneer outfit! For ages 7 and up; $6/child. Registration is required. This is a drop-off program, but adults are welcome to stay – however, seating is limited.
 

Park Tales

For all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: FREE.
Registration is required for all participants – adults and children. Maximum number of participants: 40.
 
Sneetches on the Beaches
Friday, Sept. 7, 11 a.m.–noon
Join us for a Dr. Seuss Classic about the Sneetches, which are odd, yellow birds living on a beach that learn a lesson about the importance of individuality. Star-bellied Sneetches are part of the in-crowd, while Plain-bellied Sneetches are shunned. Later the birds realize that being a Star-bellied Sneetch didn’t make them any better than other sneetches. Hear the fun tale, then make some sneetch-themed crafts to take home!
 
If You’re a Monster and You Know It
Friday, Oct. 19, 11 a.m.–noon

Come practice your spooky scary monster moves as we read "If You’re a Monster and You Know It" by Rebecca Emberley. We will be growling and singing as we read this cute story for Halloween. Join us and use your imagination to build your own monster out of recyclable materials.
 
Sarah Gives Thanks
Tuesday, Nov. 20, 11 a.m.–noon

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 make fun Thanksgiving-themed crafts.
 
Over and Under the Snow
Monday, Dec. 17, 11 a.m.–noon
Over the snow, the world is hushed and white but under the snow is a secret world of animals! Join us for "Over and Under the Snow" by Kate Messner, who takes readers on a cross-country ski trip through the winter woods to discover the secret world of animals living under the snow. Learn about animals in winter, make a fun craft, and go on a short hike to search for winter animals.
 
Kids Go Outdoors (part of "Take a Child Outside")
Sunday, Sept. 30, 4:30–6 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 by learning to move and make sounds like different animals, then go on a nature scavenger hunt to search for park wildlife. For all ages (adult accompaniment required for all children); fee: FREE! Registration is required.
 
The Fruits of Fall
Thursday, Oct. 11, 2–3 p.m.

Forest fruits grow in a variety of forms, such as nuts, pods, capsules and achenes that entice the wild animals that disperse them. Experience the colors and scents of autumn on this naturalist-guided hike, where we’ll examine fruits found in the park and explore how seeds are naturally distributed. For all ages (adult accompaniment required for all children); fee: FREE. Registration required.
 
Fall Foliage Hike
Saturday, Nov. 3, 11 a.m.–noon

Ever wonder why Mother Nature puts on such a display of colors in the fall – from bright yellow and orange, to rusty red and purple? Explore this amazing annual event during a guided hike and discover what these natural colors tell us about the environment. For all ages (adult accompaniment required for all children); fee: FREE. Registration required.
 
Winter Wonders Walk
Saturday, Dec. 22, 11 a.m.–noon

Winter is coming! Take a walk with a naturalist to explore the seasonal changes that can be observed in nature, discover how various kinds of wildlife prepare for the cold, and look for animal tracks and other wildlife signs. Make sure to dress in layers! For all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: FREE. Registration required.
  

Yates by Night

Whoo’s Out There?  
Friday, Nov. 16, 5–6 p.m.
Winter is a great time to hear owls! Go on an Owl Prowl and discover the kinds of owls and other night-time birds that are found in the Piedmont. Learn about what they eat, where they live, and what they sound like, then practice your owl calls. Bundle up – it is cold outside! For all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: $1/person. Registration is required.
 
 

Recreational Adventures

 
 
Country Dancing in the Mill Yard
Saturday, Sept. 15* , noon–12:45 p.m. & 4–4:45 p.m.(CANCELED due to Hurrican Florence),
 
Saturdays, Oct. 20 and Nov. 17, noon–12:45 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 do not 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. *This is the day of our Fall Harvest Celebration.
 
Paddle the Pond
Saturday, Sept. 22, 9–10 a.m. & 11 a.m.–noon
Saturday, Oct. 27, 10–11 a.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.