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.
 

                               

Yates Mill July–September 2019 Program Bulletin


 
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.
  
14th Annual Fall Harvest Celebration
Saturday, Sept. 21, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.

This family-oriented event includes corn-milling 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; FREE, although there is a $3–$5 fee for mill tours. Registration not required. Parking will be off site with a free shuttle.
 
Thanksgiving Food Drive
November 1–30
We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. We encourage you to get involved in your community and support a good cause like this one. Help us make this year our biggest one yet! Food donations can be dropped at the front desk of the Finley Center (the park visitor center) or in the bin outside the front door after 5 p.m.

Yates Mill Associates’ Holiday Sale
Saturday, Nov. 16, 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 2-pound bag). All proceeds help YMA pay for mill maintenance and operation. November 16-17 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.

 
Take a Photo with Santa at the Old Mill
Saturday, Dec. 7, 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 handmade 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 7 (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); FREE. Registration is not required. Stop by the Finley Center exhibit hall anytime during the program time.
  
The Autumnal Equinox
Monday–Wednesday, Sept. 23–25, 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.

 
The Natural Colors of Fall
Friday–Sunday, Oct. 25–27, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
For years, scientists have worked to understand the changes that occur in trees and other plants during autumn. Although many details remain unclear, we do know enough to explain the basics of nature's multicolored display. Explore the factors that influence the onset, timing, and intensity of autumn colors, and reveal hidden leaf colors in a hands-on science experiment.
 
National Sandwich Day
Saturday–Monday, Nov. 2–4, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
National Sandwich Day is observed annually on November 3. The sandwich is believed to the namesake of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, following the 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 is considered healthier than white bread.
 
The Shortest Day
Thursday–Saturday, Dec. 21–23, 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 solstice 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); FREE
 
Fantastic Halloween
Wednesday–Friday, Oct. 30–Nov. 1, 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 anytime during the day for some spooky crafts to celebrate your fantastic Halloween! We'll be making our very own trick-or-treat bags and paper bag monster puppets!
 
Thankfulness Project
Wednesday, Nov. 27, and Friday–Sunday, Nov. 29–Dec. 1, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Come by the Finley Center any time during the day to participate in a community art project celebrating what you are thankful for! Play a game of "Roll a Turkey" and take home your very own Thanksgiving-themed craft.
 
Super Snowflakes
Thursday–Sunday, Dec. 26–29, 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 some paper snowflakes and help us decorate our Exhibit Hall for the coming winter!
 

Seasons on a Farm

For almost 200 years, farmers brought their wheat and corn to what is now Yates Mill to have their grains ground into flour and meal. Free agricultural table-top 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. Explore what tasks 19th-century farmers and their families would be doing each month as part of their life on a farm. For all ages. Registration is not required.
 
Bringing in the Harvest
Saturday, Sept. 21*, 11 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 22, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
In September, learn how farmers harvested crops like wheat before the invention of mechanized harvesters; try threshing wheat by hand; and make a craft to take home! *This is the day of our 14th Annual Fall Harvest Celebration—the park’s largest event of the year.
 
Going to the State Fair
Saturday, Oct. 19, 1–5 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 20, 8:30 a.m.–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, then make a fair-related craft to take home! For all ages; FREE. Registration is not required.

Corn Shucking
Saturday, Nov. 16, 1–5 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 17, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
During harvest time, farmers often helped their neighbors to get hard work done during communal gatherings such as corn shucking. Learn about this fall tradition and make a corn husk doll to take home! For all ages; FREE. Registration is not required.


 

A Side of History

Feathers, Fashion, and Conservation
Wednesday, Sept. 4, 11 a.m.–noon
The year 2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the death of the last known Carolina Parakeet, as well as the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Migratory Bird Act. Discover the historical reasons for the passage of this law and how the use of feathers to decorate women’s hats was one of the causes of overhunting; learn how the law has allowed certain bird species to recover; and make some fun crafts to take home. For ages 5 & up; FREE. Registration is required for all family members, and children must have adult accompaniment.
 
Great Ghostly Gourds
Wednesday, Oct. 30, 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; FREE. Registration is required for everyone, and adult accompaniment is required for all children.

The Spirit of Giving
Thursday, Nov. 21, 2–4 p.m.
The word philanthropy means love of mankind. From the earliest days, human civilization has depended upon kindness directed toward 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); FREE! Registration required.
 
Totally Toys
Friday, Dec. 20, 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 an old-time toy to take home. Bring your favorite toy to show to the group. For all ages; FREE. Registration is required for everyone, and adult accompaniment is required for all children.
 

For ages 7–14; FREE. Registration is required. This is a drop-off program, but adults are welcome to stay.
 
Birds of a Feather
Monday, Sept. 30, 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.
 
A-maize-ing Grains
Monday, Oct. 7, 10–11 a.m.
Put on your "Grain Brain" and investigate the grains in your favorite foods. Use a mortar and pestle to get inside and find out what makes whole grains so healthy to eat. Try your hand at shelling corn and sprout a living necklace to wear home! For ages 7–14; FREE. Registration is required for attending children. This is a drop-off program, but adults are welcome to stay. 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.
 
Pilgrims at Play
Wednesday, Nov. 27, 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 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 7–14; FREE. Registration is required for attending children. This is a drop-off program, but adults are welcome to stay.

The Ingalls’ Long Winter
Friday, Dec. 27, 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 7–14; FREE. Registration is required for attending children. This is a drop-off program, but adults are welcome to stay.


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: 36 (this is how many seats we have in the classroom).
 
Harvest-time for the Ingalls
Wednesday, Sept. 11, 11 a.m.–noon
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!
 
Mouse’s First Halloween
Monday, Oct. 21, 11 a.m.–noon
One dark fall night, Mouse creeps out and hears strange sounds and sees spooky sights. What could it mean? Don't worry, Mouse—it's Halloween! Join us for a fun yet spooky tale by Lauren Thompson as we follow Mouse on his evening explorations. Then decorate your own mini-pumpkin using various craft supplies. For all ages; FREE. Registration is required for everyone, and adult accompaniment is required for all children.
 
Possum’s Harvest Moon
Friday, Nov. 15, 11 a.m.–noon
When Possum sees the full harvest moon, he decides to throw one last party before the long winter. But everyone is too busy preparing for winter and it looks as if nobody will come to Possum's party. Find out how the bright moon helps Possum to bring out his nocturnal friends, and explore the nature of these unique mammals. See how well you can "play possum" during a game and make a craft to take home. For all ages; FREE. Registration is required for everyone, and adult accompaniment is required for all children.
 

Backyard Beetles
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 11 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Have you found yourself wanting to take a closer look in the forest? We will learn about the parts of insects, explore where they live, and go on a ground safari. Join an old park ranger to hear a beetle tale and discover the life under the leaves. We will be outdoors for the whole program. Bring water and wear long pants and socks. Be prepared for all weather. For all ages; FREE. Registration is required for everyone, and adult accompaniment is required for all children. Maximum: 20 people

 

Natural Explorations

For all ages unless otherwise noted; FREE. Registration is required for all family members, and children must have adult accompaniment.
 
Forest Bathing
Friday, Sept. 27, 9–10 a.m.
“Shinrin-yoku” is a Japanese healing technique which means "taking in the forest atmosphere." Developed in the 1980s, it has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing. Join us as we visit a natural area in the park and walk in a relaxed way to receive calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits. For ages 8 & up

 
Forest Bathing
Tuesday, Oct. 22, 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Join a naturalist for a re-energizing walk in the forest. This is a hike to immerse ourselves in nature. We will stop and talk about plants when it is interesting for the group. Note that, as a group, we may go off trail. Please wear long pants, bring bug spray and have plenty of water on hand. For ages 10 and up (adult accompaniment is required for all children); FREE. Registration is required. Maximum participants: 16
 
Fall Foliage Hike
Saturday, Nov. 2, 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 is required for all children); FREE. Registration is required. Maximum participants: 24
 
Winter Wonders Walk
Saturday, Dec. 21, 2–3 p.m.
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); FREE. Registration is required. Maximum participants: 16


Yates by Night

Raccoon Platoon
Friday, Sept. 13, 7–8:30 p.m.
Raccoons are such adaptable creatures and live in a wide range of climates and habitats. You won’t be able to mask your enjoyment of the bushy-tailed bandit’s skills and antics – plus, they eat just about anything! Enjoy a raccoon-themed activity, then head out into the park in search of these ring-tailed night mammals. For ages 5 & up (adult accompaniment required for all children); FREE. Registration is required for all family members.

 
Full Moon Exploration
Thursday, Dec. 12, 4:30–6 p.m.
Come join us to discover the Full Moon in the sky at Historic Yates Mill. Join a naturalist to discover fun things about our celestial body closest to the earth and, if we are lucky, we can look at the moon with a telescope. Feel free to bring a pair of binoculars and a blanket. For all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); FREE. Registration is required.
 

Recreational Adventures

Registration is required for all family members, and children must have adult accompaniment.
 
Paddle the Pond
Saturday, Sept. 28: Session 1: 9–10 a.m.; Session 2: 11 a.m.–noon and
Saturday, Oct. 26: Session 1: 11 a.m.–noon; Session 2: 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); FREE. Each canoe can hold 1–4 people (800-pound total weight limit). Registration PER BOAT is required. All participants must sign a program waiver.