Harris Lake Group Programs

Group of kids gathered around plastic tub on ground

Group programs are programs requested and scheduled for particular school or user groups. You can learn more below about the types of group programs and field trips offered by this park.

Group Program Scheduling

Group and outreach (offsite) programs are free. All programs are 45–60 minutes in length unless otherwise noted. Groups should consist of a minimum of 10 participants and a maximum of 25–30 participants (typical class size).

Please allow at least one month in advance to schedule a program for your group. Begin the group program reservation process by choosing a topic from our Group Program List below and completing a Group Program Request Form. Please call 919-387-4344 or email harris.lake@wake.gov to speak with our Assistant Manager of Education for more information about one of our program offerings or if you have a specific need or request. If you have questions about a program topic that is not listed, please ask our staff – we will do our best to accommodate your group!

The NC DPI curriculum correlations for K–5 for all of our group programs may be found here.

Harris Lake County Park also offers engaging virtual field trip programs for groups. Get an interactive, educational experience from the safety and comfort of your own home or organization. Visit our Virtual Group Programs page for current offerings and scheduling. 

Birthday Parties: Does your child love science and nature? Many of our nature programs can be adapted for birthday parties. Please call 919-387-4344 or email harris.lake@wake.gov to find a program that’s just right for your child’s birthday celebration. Limited to ages 5 and up.

Group Program List

The following list of programs is designed to accommodate a variety of age groups and curricula. All programs are 45-60 minutes in length unless otherwise noted.

The NC DPI curriculum correlations for K–5 for all of our group programs may be found here.

Aquatic Adventures: (K–Adult)
Learn about an aquatic food chain, the life cycle of dragonflies and frogs, and what the type of organisms living in a pond or stream tells us about water quality. We’ll go dip-netting in our pond to further investigate the animals living beneath the water’s surface.

Bird Buddies: (K–Adult)
Learn what makes a bird different from other animals. Through a fun bird call matching activity, we’ll identify some of our common birds by the sounds they make. Participants will learn about bird habitats and adaptations as we take a hike in search of our feathered friends. This program is usually 60-90 minutes in length.

Busy Beavers: (K–5th grade)
Students will be introduced to the life history of the beaver, plus how beavers alter the landscape to provide important habitat for other wildlife. A volunteer will dress up like a beaver to demonstrate how beavers are perfectly adapted to life in an aquatic environment! We’ll take a hike to look for signs of beaver activity here in the park.

Composting & Recycling: (3rd–6th grade)
Adding your share to the landfill? There are many benefits to composting and recycling! Discover better ways to dispose of “trash.” Participants will take a closer, hands-on look at some of nature’s little decomposers (earthworms) as they learn what vermicomposting is.

Ecosystems: (5th grade)
This hands-on comparison study of field, forest, and pond environments focuses on the biotic factors, diversity, and interconnectivity of species within each ecosystem. Students will classify their plant and animal findings for further classroom study.  

Evening Exploration: (K–Adult)
A new world opens up as the sun goes down! Join one of our educators for a night hike in the woods to look and listen for the nocturnal animals that inhabit the park. We’ll explore the special adaptations that help these animals survive and flourish in a world of darkness. This program can be 60-90 minutes in length.

Insect Investigations: (K–5th grade)
Discover the unique characteristics of insects, the different types of metamorphosis, insect adaptations, and the important role insects play in the ecosystem as pollinators and in the food chain. Insect movements and identification of insects using sweep nets will also be included in this 90-minute hands-on program. 

Outdoor Survival: (4th grade +)
Would you know what to do if you were stranded or lost in the woods? Learn to be prepared for and what to do if you find yourself in a survival situation. This program offers optional additional skill lessons for constructing debris shelters and fire building that will add approximately 30-60 minutes onto the program time. Let us know when booking if you want to add these skills. You may choose both or one or the other as optional add-ons.

Reptile Roundup: (K–Adult)
Learn about some common reptile inhabitants of the Piedmont, why reptiles are an important part of the environment, plus some unique characteristics our reptile friends have. Participants will get a chance to meet some live reptiles.

What About Watersheds: (3rd–6th grade)
Learn what a watershed is and how it plays an important role in water quality. Students will be able to predict and follow the flow of water as it travels through a watershed and empties into a lake or other water source. At Harris Lake, students will determine the flow of water on its watershed by discovering the pattern, shape or other forms of direction that divert or allow the free flow of water into its lake. Activities will show the different land uses on a watershed that affect what goes into a lake and ultimately the lake’s water quality. Erosion factors and river basins will also play a part in this program.

Wheels Through Time Wagon Tour: (K-Adult)
Join our staff on a special ride along the back roads of the park from the comfort of our wagon! Stops include our 60-acre Longleaf Pine Restoration Area and the Womble family homesite. Journey back in time as you explore the fascinating history of the iconic Longleaf Pine and its importance to North Carolina, and the lives of families that lived on the property before it became a park. 

Group Program Evaluation

We would love your feedback!

Did you attend one of our group programs? Let us know how we did! Complete our brief group program evaluation.