Historic Yates Mill Public Programs

programmer teaches on wooden pond boardwalk while visitors fish with cane poles

Historic Yates Mill County Park offers programs covering history, nature, agricultural and recreational topics. Public programs are open for registration to the general public.

We are happy to announce the launch of our virtual public programs! Find a few of them below!

Public Programs

Register for a Public Program

IN-PARK PUBLIC PROGRAMS

Click here for the April–June Program Flyer.

PARK TALES: For all ages; FREE. Registration is required for all family members, and children must have adult accompaniment. Meet at the picnic area near the amphitheater at the north end of the parking lot, between the pond boardwalk and open field. Please arrive five minutes early for program check-in.

Park Tales – Otters Love to Play: Tuesday, April 5, 11 a.m.–noon
It is spring, and a litter of baby River Otters emerges from a den to play! Follow the otters through the seasons as they chase one another, slide down mud banks and learn to swim. Join us for “Otters Love to Play,” by Jonathan London, learn some facts about otters, and make a cute otter craft to take home. Register here.

Park Tales – Are You My Mother: Tuesday, May 3, 11 a.m.–noon
Many of our birds have made their nests and their eggs have hatched! Join us for a reading of the classic children’s story, written by P. D. Eastman, about a baby bird that gets lost and has to find its mother. After the story, we will learn about some of our birds, their nests and eggs. Register here.

Park Tales – Monarch and Milkweed: Tuesday, June 7, 11 a.m.–noon
Join us as we follow the journey of Monarch butterflies as they migrate thousands of miles every spring in search of their favorite treat; milkweed plants. Explore how caterpillars become butterflies and how the amazing cycle of the Monarch life continues in this fun book by Helen Frost and Leonid Gord. Learn fun facts about these pollinators and make a fun Monarch-themed craft to take home! Register here.


Backyard Critters:  For all ages (recommended for ages 6 and up); FREE. Registration is required for all family members, and children must have adult accompaniment. Meet at the picnic area near the amphitheater at the north end of the parking lot, between the pond boardwalk and open field. Please arrive five minutes early for program check-in.

Backyard Critters – Bustling Beavers!: Saturday, April 30, 11 a.m.–noon
Did you know that beavers are actually large rodents? Join us at the park and discover the parts of a beaver and what they like to eat. Build a beaver dam, test your knowledge in a round of trivia, and take home a fun beaver craft! Register here.

Backyard Critters – Magical Metamorphosis: Sunday, May 29, 2–3 p.m.
Most people know that a caterpillar becomes a butterfly or moth. But, did you know that dragonflies start as aquatic predators? Or that maggots become flies? This program is all about the crazy life changes that some insects go through in their lifetime. Register here.

Backyard Critters – The Scaly World of Turtles, Snakes and Lizards: Sunday, June 26, 2–3 p.m.
Do you like animals that slither, hang out on logs in the sun, or remove their own tail to distract predators? Join this program to learn all about our local reptiles! We will also hike around and see how many reptiles we can find! Come prepared for a short hike. Register here.


Field School:  For all ages (recommended for ages 6 and up); FREE. Registration is required for all family members, and children must have adult accompaniment. Meet at the picnic area near the amphitheater at the north end of the parking lot, between the pond boardwalk and open field. Please arrive five minutes early for program check-in.

Field School – Animal Tracks and Signs: Wednesday, May 18, 3–4 p.m.
So many animals live in the park, but how do we know that we have coyotes, raccoons or otters in our park if we have never seen them?  We have found their tracks! Footprints, scat and trails are just a few examples of different tracks and signs that animals leave behind. We will walk around and find as many signs as we can. Come prepared to hike around the park. Register here.


A Side of History:  For all ages (best for ages 7 & up); FREE. Registration is required for all family members, and children must have adult accompaniment. Meet at the picnic area near the amphitheater at the north end of the parking lot, between the pond boardwalk and open field. Please arrive five minutes early for program check-in.

A Side of History – Celebrating Arbor Day: Wednesday, April 27, 11 a.m.–noon
Happy almost Arbor Day! Discover the history behind this special day; learn about the importance of trees; explore some of the threats that trees are facing from invasive bugs and diseases; and take a short walk to see some notable trees in the park. Hear the story of the Longleaf Pines that once dominated North Carolina’s Coastal Plain and southern Piedmont, and make a tree-related craft to take home!  Register here.

A Side of History – Traditional Uses of Native Plants: Wednesday, May 25, 11 a.m.–noon
Native Americans, who have lived in what is now North Carolina for thousands of years, traditionally relied on natural materials for many things, such as housing, clothes, food, tools and fun. Many of the plants they used are still found in the area. Join this program and learn about the many uses of these native plants.  Register here.

A Side of History – Dress to Impress: Wednesday, June 22, 11 a.m.–noon
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, explore our costume collection of reproduction clothing and make a craft to take home. Register here.


Journeys to the Past:  FREE; for all ages. (The program is designed for kids and adults; content is best suited for ages 7 and up). Registration is required for all participants. Meet on the back porch of the Visitor Center. Please arrive five minutes early for program check-in.

Journeys to the Past – History Hikes: Sundays, April 24, May 22 and June 19, 2–2:45 p.m.
Join park staff for a hike to the gristmill and to the site of the miller’s residence (which is no longer standing) to learn about the history of some of the people who have lived and worked on the land that is now a park. Learn about the old water mill and look for clues to buildings that used to be here. Staff will use artifacts to talk about some of the people who lived, worked or visited here. This program will be completely outdoors, so please dress appropriately for the weather.

April registration    May registration    June registration  


Yates by  Night:  For all ages (recommended for ages 6 and up); FREE. Registration is required for all family members, and children must have adult accompaniment. Meet at the picnic area near the amphitheater at the north end of the parking lot, between the pond boardwalk and open field. Please arrive five minutes early for program check-in.

Yates by Night – Hopping Frogs: Thursday, April 21, 6–7 p.m.
As things warm up, the frogs come out! Come hike with a naturalist and learn how to identify different frogs and their calls. We will walk by the pond and our wetlands in search of our amphibian friends. Come prepared to walk in wet environments.  Register here.

Yates by Night – Mysteries of the Moon: Thursday, May 26, 6–7 p.m.
Join us as we learn all about the Moon and its role in our solar system! We will talk about how moons are formed and how other planets got their moon(s), too. Go on a moon hike, read a fun story, look through a telescope and see if you can remember all the different phases of the moon!  Register here.

Yates by Night – Fireflies; Nature’s Nightlight: Thursday, June 16, 6–7 p.m.
Fireflies are many people’s favorite summertime insect. Discover how different species use different light colors and patterns, and find out which species are found in North Carolina. We will also see how many fireflies we can find and learn how they make their light! Register here.


Self-Guided Exploration Stations:  For all ages (adult accompaniment is required for all children); fee: FREE. Registration not required. Stop by anytime during the program time.

Exploration Station – Batty Bats: Thursday, April 14–Tuesday, April 19
Did you know that bats are the world’s only flying mammal and some eat fish, pollen or even blood?!? Check out this station in the visitor center to learn all kinds of cool facts and take home a craft!

Exploration Station – Turtley Awesome Turtles: Thursday, May 19–Tuesday, May 24
There is a lot you can learn about our most introverted reptile. Which turtles sleep underwater? Which turtles have hinges that allow them to seal their shells closed from predators? Learn the answer to these questions and more by checking out this table in the visitor center!

Exploration Station – Sharing is Caring: Pollinators: Thursday, June 23–Tuesday, June 28
Pollinators are not just bees and butterflies. Bats, birds and flies are also very important pollinators! Visit this table in the visitor center to learn all about our pollinators and take home a fun craft! 


Self-Guided StoryWalks®:  Join us for this fun self-guided activity, which will start at the parking lot kiosk near the Visitor Center and end near the mill. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont, and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. This wonderful program combines the joy of reading a story while also getting out and enjoying nature. New to StoryWalk® concept? Laminated pages from a children's book are attached to signs, which are installed along an outdoor path. As you stroll down the trail, you're directed to the next page in the story. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont, and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. StoryWalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson.

StoryWalk®: “On The Farm” – Monday, April 4–Saturday, April 30

StoryWalk®: “The Busy Tree" – Tuesday, May 3–Tuesday, May 31

StoryWalk®: “Over and Under the Pond” – Thursday, June 2–Thursday, June 30


Self-Guided Craft Kits:  After reading our monthly StoryWalk®, make sure to swing by the Visitor Center to pick up a craft kit to take home! Craft kits are made for easy at-home assembly and relate to the fun story you can read here at the park; just come inside the Visitor Center anytime between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. to ask for a kit (while supplies last) to take home! Please be mindful that supplies are limited – staff work hard to keep supplies stocked as much as possible.

Self-Guided: Craft Kits – April, May & June kits will be available.

Upcoming Virtual Programs

Virtual Programs:  Registration through NCMNS. 

ecoEXPLORE: Truths and Myths About Reptiles and Amphibians – Tuesday, May 17, 4–5 p.m.
Herpetology is the study of reptiles and amphibians. There is a lot of information about reptiles and amphibians in the world, and not all of it is accurate. Explore some of the many herpetology myths and learn the truth in this interactive, virtual program! Register here.  Please note that registration is handled through the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.

ecoEXPLORE: Build-a-Reptile – Friday, June 10, 4–5 p.m.
How creative can you be? Can you design a brand-new reptile? This will be a creative, virtual program to make up a new reptile! Come with any artistic materials you want (crayons, markers, paint, clay, recycled materials, natural materials, etc.), and let’s get building! This program is geared toward children in grades K–8 and their families, but all are welcome! You will learn about the ecoEXPLORE project during the program. Register here. Please note that registration is handled through the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.