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:
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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.
Do you 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. 
Special Program: The Great American Eclipse
Monday, August 21, 1–4 p.m.
On August 21, something is going to happen in the United States that has not happened since 1918. On that date, a total solar eclipse will be visible all the way from the east coast to the west coast. Day will turn into night as the moon passes directly between the earth and the sun, casting a shadow on the United States that will track from Oregon to South Carolina. Join us to discover solar eclipse fun facts and head out to the park's open field to view the eclipse directly. For all ages; fee: FREE. Registration is not required.
The word has been spreading that we have eclipse glasses to hand out on Monday. While we did buy 100 pairs of glasses to give away and they seem to have the right ISO number on them to show they were certified, we unfortunately received a recall notice from Amazon.com, through which they were purchased, and we've also done further research which casts doubt on the validity of these glasses. Thus, we sadly and apologetically report that we will not be able to use these glasses. As an alternative, we are pulling together supplies to make pinhole viewers and we'll have some of them available for eclipse viewing.
12th Annual Fall Harvest Celebration
Saturday, Sept. 16, 10 a.m.– 4 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, story-tellers, 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.
Want to be involved? Contact our program director at 919-856-5635 for details.
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.
History Mysteries
Sundays, July 16, August 20, and Sept. 17, 1–4 p.m.
In July and August, see a selection of artifacts loaned from the N.C. Office of State Archaeology. In September, learn about and see pictures of an archaeological discovery, and use your detective skills to figure out what that discovery might mean.
The Autumnal Equinox
Friday–Sunday, Sept. 22–24, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
The autumnal 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.

Art in the Park

For all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: FREE.
Apple Seeds and Orchard Fun 
Sunday, Sept. 24, 3–4:30 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 all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: FREE. Registration is required.

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. For all ages. Registration is not required.

Apiarists & Bee Business
Saturday, August 19, 1–4 p.m.
Perfect your pollinator perception this summer as we explore how these beneficial insects pollinate flowers and help our gardens grow. Celebrate National Honey Bee Day by discovering how bee hives works, and by exploring the ways that bee-keepers have historically housed and cared for their hives. See what a bee sees through a fun field exploration. For all ages, FREE. Registration not required. Head to the mill yard anytime during the program time.
The Farm Family
Saturday, Sept. 16, 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. For all ages, FREE. Registration not required. Head to the mill yard anytime during the program time.

A Side of History 

Harvest-time for the Ingalls
Saturday, Sept. 30, 3–4:30 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.

Hand Mills and Millstones
Tuesday, August 22, 10–11 a.m.
Your teeth can’t crack grain! Find out how people made flour from wheat and meal from corn long ago, and try out a variety of ancient-style hand mills. Survey milling history and learn about equipment that has been used around the world to grind grains. For ages 7–14; fee: $4/Child. Registration is required. This is a drop off program but adults are welcome to stay – however, seating is limited. Bundle this program with the Kids' History Detective Mill Tour from 11 a.m. to Noon for the ultimate learning experience.
Animal Tracks and Signs
Tuesday, Sept. 5, 10 a.m.–noon
Hark! Who goes there? Let’s celebrate wildlife by learning 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 7–14; fee: $8/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 not required.
Night Animals
Friday, Sept. 29, 11 a.m.–noon
Have you ever been afraid of what critters lurk in the night? Well, sometimes possums, skunks, and even wolves get scared, too! Join us for a funny tale by Gianna Marino about nocturnal animals that are afraid of the dark, only to find out that they are night animals themselves! Learn some fun facts about the nocturnal animals in the park and make a paper bag owl craft!
Kids Go Outdoors
Wednesday, Sept. 27, 10:30 a.m.–noon
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.

Yates by Night

FALL-ing for Nature
Friday, Sept. 22, 6:30–7:30 p.m.
Join a park naturalist for an evening hike to enjoy the sights and sounds of late summer. Learn tips for observing wildlife and find out ways to identify the sounds made by birds, amphibians, and insects as the sun goes down. Also explore fun facts related to the autumnal equinox. For ages 7 & up (adult accompaniment required for all children); fee: $1/Person. Proper footwear and registration required.

Recreational Adventures

Country Dancing in the Mill Yard
Saturdays, Aug. 19, and Sept. 16, noon–12:45 p.m. & 4–4:45 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 don’t 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.
Paddle the Pond
Saturdays, Aug. 26, and Sept. 23, 9–10 a.m. and 11 a.m.noon
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.
Water Balloon Games
Sunday, August 27, 3–4 p.m.
August tends to be the hottest month of the year, but there are ways to stay cool and still be outdoors. Join us for some water balloon popping fun in the open field above the park's amphitheater. We will provide the equipment needed to play some fun water games. To participate, please bring safe water-filled balloons with you and we suggest a towel and a change of clothes. Prepare to get wet! For all ages (adult accompaniment required for all children); fee: FREE. Registration not required. Participants will be asked to help clean up the balloon carnage.