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!
Scroll down or select a program series below to learn more about our offerings:
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 email@example.com
Our staff also offers public programs at Crowder District Park.
The Great Backyard Bird Count
Saturday, Feb. 13, 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.
Sunday, Feb. 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 warn 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.
10th Annual "Mill as Muse" Contests
Yates Mill has served as a source of artistic inspiration for more than two centuries and continues to be the subject of local works of art. Share your artistic creations by entering the park’s 10th annual art and/or photography contests. Contest entries are due Feb. 1 before 5 p.m. The contests are free and include youth and adult categories with mill, nature and park subjects. Rules and entry forms: Art Contest and Photo Contest. Here's the Prize List.
Sunday, Jan. 31, 1–4 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 (entries are due Feb. 1). A variety of inspirational arts and crafts materials will be provided, and a brief slideshow will be shown, featuring other artistic creations related to Yates Mill. For ages 5 & up; fee: $3/child or $5/family, with accompanying adult for younger children. Preregistration is required.
Saturday, Feb. 20, 2–4 p.m.
Help us to celebrate the opening of the park’s 10th 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.
Tuesday, Jan. 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; fee: $5/family or $3/person. Preregistration is required.
Tuesday, Feb. 2, 3–4 p.m.
How did people predict the weather before The Weather Channel? Can animals really help? Come to the visitor center and 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: $5/family or $3/person. Preregistration is required.
Friday, Feb. 26, 5:30–6:30 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.
Thursday, 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.
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.
Saturday, March 19, 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 classroom education and on-the-job training. Mill around with us as we explore the similarities and differences of these historic trades. For all ages; fee: FREE. Preregistration is not required.
Monday, Feb. 15, 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. For ages 5–7; fee: $4/child. Preregistration is required.
Farmer Boys & Pioneer Girls
Tuesday, March 15, 11 a.m.–noon
Life on a farm was never dull – just ask Laura and Almanzo. On "National Agriculture Day," try your hand at back-to-basics living, just like the Ingalls and Wilder families. Do your chores, practice your lessons and your handiwork, and make sure to brush up on your best manners. For ages 5–7; fee: $4/child. Preregistration is required.
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.
Thursday, Jan. 21, 10–11:30 a.m.
Hark! Who goes there? Learn 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 and make an animal track cast to take home. For ages 8 & up; fee: $6/child. Preregistration is required.
Tuesday, Feb. 23, 10–11:30 a.m.
Sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks are everywhere! Come explore the rocks of Yates Mill through hands-on science. Test the physical and chemical components to discover the identity of rocks, then play the rock cycle game. Learn how rocks have been used in milling grains and try out a few handmills before taking a hike to the mill dam to discover its geologic foundation. For ages 8–14; $6/child. Preregistration is required.
Simple Machines & Power Trains
Monday, March 7, 10–11 a.m.
Explore the simple machines that are employed in Yates Mill that help to efficiently get work done, including the wheel and axle, gears, pulleys, screws, inclined planes, wedges and levers. Explore each type through fun, self-guided stations. For ages 6 and up; fee: $4/child. Preregistration is required. Note that a kids' 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.
Sunday, Feb. 21, 11 a.m.–noon
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.
Sunday, March 20, 11 a.m.–noon
March 20 is the first day of Spring. Learn about the history, cultural traditions and science associated with the Spring Equinox and celebrate the coming of Spring by going on a sensory hike around the millpond with a park naturalist. For all ages, FREE! Preregistration is encouraged.
Note that Canoeing and Cane Pole Fishing programs are offered April through October each year. Please check back in the Spring for new dates.
July 8, 6–8 p.m.
In the spirit of Independence Day, make history come to life in this full-bodied exploration of the founding and establishment of the 13 original American Colonies and the struggles that were faced by the early colonists, including Yates Mill’s founder Samuel Pearson and his family.
Participate as actors, musicians and stage hands 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!
Ages 6–12, $108/child for 3 full days of camp, plus Friday evening
This adventure camp allows participants to gain a sense of accomplishment by attaining goals in a unique historical setting and diverse natural environment. Daily camp themes include (1) Explorers & Mapping, (2) Pioneer-Farmers & Agriculture, (3) Millers & Mechanics, (4) History Detectives, and (5) Artist-Naturalists & Ecology.
Among other activities, Day 1 includes a hike around the park, orienteering exercises and a canoe float; Day 2 includes a planting activity and visits to a local organic farm and the State Farmers Market; Day 3 includes a mill tour and an inventors workshop with simple machines; Day 4 includes a group mystery to solve and a road trip to the NC Museum of History; and Day 5 includes wildlife studies and sketching, pond dipping with nets and cane pole fishing.
Ages 7–14, $184/child for 5 full days of camp