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.

YMCP Jan-Mar 2015 wide awake FINAL.pdfYates Mill January–March 2015 Program Bulletin
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.
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.  

Looking for Guided Tours of Historic Yates Mill? View the Mill Tours page.

Looking for Organized Group Programs? View the Group Programs page.

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.


Special Events

9th Annual "Mill as Muse" Community Art & Photography Contests
Deadline for entries: Sunday, February 1, before 5 p.m.
Get your paintbrushes and cameras ready and try to capture the best images of Yates Mill and the surrounding park, then plan to enter the park art and/or photography contests. Youth and adult categories include the old mill, nature and people in the park. Winners' entries will be displayed in the park center's exhibit hall. 

Related forms:


Art in the Park: "Mill as Muse" Creative Art Session
Sunday, February 1, 1–3 p.m.
Explore your artistic side by joining a creative art class and craft a work of art to take home or to enter into the “Mill as Muse” kids’ art contest. A variety of inspirational arts and crafts materials will be provided, and a brief slide show will be shown featuring other artistic creations related to Yates Mill. southeast view of millFor ages 6-14; fee: $4/child, with accompanying adult for younger children. Preregistration is required.


9th Annual "Mill as Muse" Award Ceremony and Reception
Sunday, February 15, 2–4 p.m.
Yates Mill has served as a source of artistic inspiration for more than two centuries and continues to be the subject of numerous local works of art. Help us to celebrate the opening of the park’s 9th Annual community art and photography exhibit, applaud the art and photography contest winners, and meet some of the artists. For all ages; fee: FREE. Light refreshments will be served. Preregistration is not required.


Yates by Night: Night Tales
Thursday, February 26, 7–8 p.m.
Gather round a brazier fire on the back deck of the park center on "Tell A Fairy Tale Day" to hear some tall tales and local legends, then share a few stories of your own while roasting s'mores in the great outdoors. For ages 6 & up; fee: $5/family or $3/person. Preregistration is required.

Note that the historic mill building opens for the 2015 tour season on March 1, and the first corn grinding demonstrations will take place March 21–22.


Historic Trades: Millwrights, Millers and their Apprentices
Saturday, March 21, 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 between these historic trades. For all ages; fee: FREE. Preregistration is not required.


Big Sweep volunteersVolunteer Interest Session
Sunday, March 22, 1:30–3:30 p.m.
Want to do more to help out your community park? Consider volunteering at Yates Mill! You could lead mill tours, assist with park programs, help enhance our gardens, fight back invasive plants, maintain our trails and more! Join us to learn about the exciting ways you can lend a hand. Preregistration is not required. Call our volunteer coordinator at 919-856-6675 for details.

Seasonal Programs

A Poppin' Good Time!
Monday, January 19, 3–4 p.m.
Celebrate National Popcorn Day at Yates Mill! Learn about different varieties of corn and what gives popcorn that unique POP! Take part in a creative, popcorn-themed craft and enjoy some fresh-popped popcorn. For all ages (most appropriate for ages 7 & up); fee: $5/family or $3/person. Preregistration is required.

Wizened Woodchucks and Weather Predictors

Monday, February 2, anytime between 1–4 p.m.
How did people predict the weather before The Weather Channel? Can animals really help? Come to the visitor center to check out some at-home weather equipment you can make with recycled and natural materials, and put our colonial "weather proverbs" to the test. For all ages; fee: FREE. Preregistration is not required.

making a leprechaun trapIn Search of Leprechauns
Tuesday, March 17, 3–4 p.m.
The mischievous leprechauns have been playing tricks at Yates Mill. Listen to Irish music, read leprechaun stories and build your own leprechaun trap to help us catch these clever creatures. Be sure to wear green! This popular program fills up fast, so be sure to register early! For ages 6-12; fee: $4/child. Preregistration is required.


The Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual, four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the event and report their sightings online at www.birdcount.org. Anyone can take part in the count, from beginning bird watchers to experts, from anywhere in the world!
GBBC logo
Love Birds
Saturday, February 14, 2–3:30 p.m.
Experience the abundance of bird life that's found in the park by watching a colorful slideshow before heading outdoors to see who's flapping about. Binoculars may be borrowed to get the best "bird's eye view". We'll explore how birds begin courtship displays to attract mates and ward off rivals, and also what they do to set up house. Then see if you can attract a feathered friend by learning a bird mating dance. For all ages; fee: FREE. Preregistration is required.

Breakfast with the Birds Hike
Monday, February 16, 9–10:30 a.m.
Enjoy doughnuts with a cup of shade-grown, bird-friendly coffee, or hot chocolate for the kids, before leisurely walking the trails with a park naturalist to identify and count the birds. Please bring a reusable mug for each member of your family. For all ages; fee: FREE. Preregistration is required.

Little Historians

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

Great SealNational Birds
Monday, February 16, 11 a.m.–noon
Did you know that Turkey and Eagle once faced off to see who would be our national bird? Celebrate Presidents Day and the Great Backyard Bird Count in one fell swoop! Discover the natural characteristics that made each such a contender, learn about the use of birds in national symbols and make your own bird-themed Great Seal to take home.

Going to Market

Wednesday, March 25, 10–11 a.m.
In North Carolina we can purchase all sorts of fresh vegetables, fruits, meats and prepared foods at the State Farmers Market as well as from roadside stands. Join us for a whirlwind tour of the world’s markets and marvel at the range of goods that are available for sale in Morocco, Ecuador, Uganda, New York City and right here in Raleigh. Play a fun game and take home your own veggie printed place mat.

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 

Animal Tracks and Signs
Monday, January 12, 10 a.m.–noon
Tracks can tell us so much about an animal's behavior. Learn to read the land - who has been here, where they were going and how fast! Observe nature around us on a habitat hike and search for tracks, scat, food remains, animal-built structures and other wildlife signs. Then make and take home a cast animal track. For ages 7-12; fee: $8/child. Preregistration is required. 

Wetlands and Watersheds

Monday, February 9, 1–3 p.m.
Everyone lives in a watershed, and everything flows downstream. Watersheds are areas that drain to a common waterway, such as a stream, lake or wetland, and eventually to the ocean. Explore Yates Mill Pond's watershed and the importance of wetlands to wildlife and humans while on a short hike, and discover how your own actions can affect the health of the environment. For ages 7-12; fee: $8/child. Preregistration is required.
Crown Gear 5-7-03.jpg
Simple Machines and Waterwheels
Monday, March 9, 10 a.m.–noon
The historical roots of water-powered mills span cultures, civilizations and millennia. Test your mettle on mill-related vocabulary and your knowledge of simple machines and waterwheels. Then take a tour of our historic water mill. For ages 7-12; fee: $8/child (includes a $4 mill tour). Preregistration is required.

Natural Explorations

frosted winterberries
Winter Wonders
Saturday, January 17, 11 a.m.–noon
Ever wonder how plants and animals survive the winter months? Take a short hike to discover where some of the millpond’s wildlife takes cover when it’s cold outdoors. Come prepared for winter weather, including proper footwear. For all ages; fee: FREE! Preregistration is encouraged.

Seniors Stay Fit Nature Hike
Tuesday, January 27, 2–3 p.m.
Thursday, February 19, 2015, 3–4 p.m.
Monday, March 30, 9–10 a.m.
Join us as we enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and the beautiful park. This short nature walk is being offered every month, so make it a healthy habit to come out and view the changing seasons. Make sure to bring water and wear sturdy hiking shoes! For ages 55 and older; fee: FREE! Preregistration is encouraged. 

maple tree buds
Bark and Buds
Sunday, February 22, 2–3 p.m.
The leaves have fallen from the trees, but you can still learn to identify them by recognizing their bark and buds. We'll hike out into the woods and practice keying out trees by their winter characteristics. For ages 7 & up; fee: FREE. Preregistration is required.

Going Green Hike
Friday, March 20, 9–10 a.m.
Celebrate the coming of spring by taking a naturalist-guided hike around the verdant (green!) millpond and go on a treasure hunt for “gold coins” that contain earth-friendly helpful hints. For all ages, FREE. Preregistration is not required.

Summer Camps

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!  To check for space availability, contact Historic Yates Mill County Park by phone at 919-856-6675 or by email. To register, you will need to include a completed registration form and payment by mail or in person.
Tuesday–Thursday, June 16–18; 1–4 p.m.
Important: Students enrolled in this camp must attend all three days of camp and be available to perform the evening of Friday, June 19, at 7 p.m.
Drop off program for ages 5–12; fee: $40/child. 
What do you think a ride to the Old Mill felt like and what might be seen along the way? Make history come to life in this full-bodied transportation exploration. Participate as actors and musicians 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 an original mill theater production. No experience required – just bring your high energy and enthusiasm! There will be two adult staff with the kids at all times. Camp size is limited (maximum of 20 participants), so sign up early! Preregistration is required.

Monday–Friday, July 27–31;
8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Drop off program for ages 7–12; fee: $180/child.
This adventure camp allows participants to gain a sense of accomplishment by attaining goals in a unique natural environment. Daily themes include (1) Pioneers & Millers, (2) Farmers & Marketers, (3) History Detectives, (4) Cooks & Bakers, and (5) Artist-Naturalists. Among other activities, Day 1 includes a mill tour, a hike and a canoe float; Day 2 includes visits to a local organic farm and the State Farmers Market; Day 3 includes a group mystery to solve and a road trip to the NC Museum of History; Day 4 includes hands-on baking, culinary crafts and a road trip to a local bakery, and Day 5 includes field studies and sketching, a pond study and cane pole fishing. There will be two adult staff with the kids at all times. Kids bring their own lunch. Camp size is limited (maximum of 12 participants), so sign up early! Preregistration is required.