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.

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.

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.
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

April is Raleigh History Month!
IMAG9213.jpgSince the City of Raleigh was established on April 15, 1792, the month of April has become known as “Raleigh History Month.” Raleigh citizens and their neighbors are encouraged to visit, learn from and enjoy the historic sites located around Raleigh. Start your journey to discover Raleigh's past – get your Raleigh Heritage Trail "Passport to History" now! Visit any 6 of the Raleigh Heritage Trail sites (including Yates Mill) to win a prize! Be sure to get your passport stamped along the way! View details here.
First Friday at the City of Raleigh Museum
Friday, April 3, 6–9 p.m.
First Friday Raleigh is a popular early evening outing that focuses on art, music and food. Local art galleries, studios, museums, retailers, businesses and restaurants participate in First Friday to make it a great way to spend a fun evening in downtown. Join us in April at the City of Raleigh Museum to learn about Raleigh's local historic sites. For all ages; fee: FREE. Preregistration is not required.

NC State Farm Animal Days Chick.jpgNC State University's Farm Animal Days

Wednesday–Friday, April 15–17
9 a.m.–2 p.m.
Farm Animal Days gives children a chance to see and touch farm animals and learn about agriculture; tractors will also be on display, and there will be a Yates Mill park exhibit. The event is designed for school field trips (preschool through first grade) but families and individuals are welcome to attend. The event takes place at NC State University's Beef Educational Unit at 4505 Mid Pines Road (2 miles south of I-40). View details here.
Science Festival Simple Machines Field DayScience Festival 2015.jpeg
Sunday, April 19
SESSION 1 – 1:30–2:30 p.m.
SESSION 2 – 2:303:30 p.m.
Get outside, get active and get excited about simple machines at Yates Mill! Join us for a hands-on outdoor field day offered as part of the NC Science Festival. Try out a fun simple machines challenge at each of our self-paced stations. Please dress for a mess! For all ages; fee: FREE. Preregistration is required.
The Ross L. Andrews Nature Poetry Contest
Entries due March 31; Award ceremony April 24 at Yates Mill Park
Ross Andrews was a young environmental educator who found that poetry was the path to express his passion for the beauty, wonder, awe and/or intimacy that one experiences with the natural world.  In honor of his recent death, the Center for Human-Earth Restoration has chosen to remember him with an annual Nature Poetry contest. The contest will have four categories: Grades K–5, 6–8, 9–12 and adult, with monetary awards for each category winner. View details here.
Yates Mill Associates' 3rd Annual Chicken Pickin' Event
Saturday, April 25, 35 p.m.
We're firing up the smoker for YMA's annual fundraising barbecue. We'll have pork and chicken barbecue, delicious sides, dessert, water or tea, and of course, Yates Mill cornbread. Tickets cost $25 and, because most of our food is donated, all proceeds will pay for repairs and maintenance at Yates Mill. Tickets can be purchased at the park information desk, during the corn-grinding weekends on March 21–22 and April 18–19, or in person from a YMA board member or volunteer. You can also send a request to info@yatesmill.org and we'll arrange to get tickets to you. Keep an eye on www.yatesmill.org for more ticket-buying options and news about the Chicken Pickin' and other upcoming events!
A Side of History: They Wore What?!
Monday, May 25, 3:30–4:30 p.m.
Corsets, crinolines and kepis, oh my! Though milling processes haven't changed that much since the mill was built in the 1760s, the way people dressed sure has. Join us to make your own fashion timeline, try on some colonial clothes and explore our historic costume collection, and play a round or two of "They Wore WHAT?!" For all ages (most appropriate for ages 6 & up); fee: $5/family or $3/person. Preregistration is required.
Yates by Night: Save the Night Sky!

Friday, May 1, 7–8 p.m.
The starry night sky inspired poets, scientists and dreamers for thousands of years. Today, however, light pollution not only obscures starlight, it wastes energy, harms the health of humans and wildlife, and disrupts ecosystems. Join park staff on "World Health Day" and learn how you can become a protector of the natural night sky. For ages 6 and up; fee: $5/family or $3/Person. Preregistration is required.


Historic Trades

Free historic trade wayside displays and demonstrations are offered on the third Saturday of each month, March through November, in the mill yard.  

Millwrights, Millers and their Apprentices
Saturday, March 21, 1–4 p.m.

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.

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.

The Farm Family
Saturday, April 18, 1–4 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. For all ages, FREE. Preregistration is not required.
Soldiers and MilitiamenDSC_0074.JPG
Saturday, May 16, 1–4 p.m.
Millers were not often soldiers, but in times of war everyone had to do their part. Discover Yates Mill's revolutionary past and its role in the Civil War. Try on a soldier's uniform and see if you have what it takes to trek the road to freedom! For all ages, FREE. Preregistration is not required.
Saturday, June 20, 1–4 p.m.
Blacksmiths fashion items from iron and steel for fellow tradesmen to use in their work and also make things for household use. Among other tools, blacksmiths typically use a forge, anvil, hammers, tongs, vises and files. Come watch some modern blacksmiths at work, thanks to the members of the North Carolina Chapter of the Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America.  For all ages; fee: FREE! Preregistration is not required.

Seasonal Programs 

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.


Art in the Park

Earth Bracelets Make-and-Take
Wednesday, April 22, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
In celebration of Earth Day, come to the park's visitor center any time between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. to make your own rainbow-colored earth bracelet to wear home. Each bead of the bracelet represents an important component of the Earth and helps to show how living things are interconnected. For all ages; fee: FREE!  Preregistration is not required.
The Summer SeasonPiedmont Prairie Garden 5-11.jpg
Sunday, June 21, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Get inspired by the park's natural beauty and contribute to a community art project celebrating the spring season of flowers. Head to the Finley Center reception desk to make a few paper flowers and then help to decorate the center with them. Come out anytime between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. over the weekend. For all ages; FREE!  Preregistration is not required.

Little Historians

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

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.
The Great Tomato Mystery – A Farm to Table Adventure
Tuesday, April 7, 11 a.m.–noon
Peggy and Annie love helping get ready for the Farmers Market! But one afternoon, Mamma's prize-winning tomatoes were missing! Were they left in the garden by mistake? Did a bird eat them? Were they stolen?! Come play fun food and farm games, make your own seed mosaic, and help the girls solve the Great Tomato Mystery before supper-time.  
Kites 8-19-14 IV.jpg
Reaching New Heights –
National Kite Month
Tuesday, May 12, 11 a.m.–noon
May is National Kite Month! Learn about the forces that make kites fly and how kites have been used around the world then make your own kite to try out.
Piecing Together the American Flag
Friday, June 12, 11 a.m.–noon
Explore the history and lore of the American flag at Historic Yates Mill (which has been around since before the American Revolution), and learn to sew your own piece of the flag (like Betsy Ross!) to take home.
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  

Energy Stars!
Wednesday, April 22, 1011:30 a.m.
Everyone can help save the planet, even kids! Join us as we explore conservation tips and tricks on how to clean up our community! Learn how to make paper, harness the power of the sun to cook food and participate in other hands-on experiments on reducing, reusing and recycling!  For ages 6 & over; fee: $6/child. Preregistration is required.
The Great Bug Hunt
Monday, May 18, 10–11:30 a.m.
Explore the incredible world of bugs as we hike around the park looking for things to collect in our nets. Discover a variety of bugs and other insects, their habitats and their role in the ecosystem. Make a hotel for the bugs in your yard at home. For ages 7–12; fee: $6/child. Preregistration is required.
The Colonial Schoolhouse
Friday, June 5, 10–11:30 a.m.
Colonial school is now in session! Work on slates and hornbooks, write with quill pens, and enjoy other activities just as boys and girls did in historic times. For ages 7–12; fee: $6/child. Preregistration is required.

Natural ExplorationsMosses 3-13.jpg

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.
Seniors Stay Fit Nature Hike
Monday, March 30, 9–10 a.m.
Mondays, April 6, May 4 and June 1, 10–11 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. 

Nature's April Fools

Wednesday, April 1, 3–4 p.m.
When is a stick not a stick? (When it's a caterpillar that looks like a twig.) Many plants and animals play tricks on each other – they look or act like something other than what they really are. Join this guided hike to see if they can fool you! For all ages; fee: FREE. Preregistration is required.
A May Flower Folly
Saturday, May 2, 11 a.m.–noon
Stroll along the trails around Yates Mill Pond while searching for the many marvelous wildflowers that are in bloom, and listen to a few flowery poems along the way. Explore how flowers function and the types of flowering plants that grow locally. For all ages; fee: FREE.  Preregistration is required.
Creekside Sightings
Sunday, June 28, 3:30–4:30 p.m.
The Creekside Trail is the least traveled trail in the park but it may be considered the most interesting. Join park staff on the wetlands boardwalk as we hike into the woods to discover the environmental factors that make this trail unique. For ages 7 & up; fee: FREE. Preregistration is required.

Recreational Adventures 

Family Fishing Fun
Saturdays, April 25, May 23 and June 27
9–10 a.m.
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, with accompanying adult; fee: $5/family or $3/person. Preregistration is required.

Paddle the Pond
Saturdays, April 25, May 23 and June 27, 11 a.m.–noon
Come out to Yates Mill Pond for a morning canoe float. After basic instruction, explore the pond’s many features as seen only from the water. Canoes, paddles and life jackets will be provided. This program is subject to suitable weather conditions. For ages 6+ (with accompanying adult); fee: $10/boat. Preregistration is required. Space is limited so register early!

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.