Historic Yates Mill Group Programs

children watch mills waterwheel move by waterfall and dam

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

For questions, contact our Group Program Coordinator, Adam Prince, at 919-856-5638 or adam.prince@wake.gov

To schedule a field trip, first download and read over our Educators Guide and look over other resources.

Field Trips and School Programs

Look for Virtual Programs? Find them here!

About Our Field Trips

children sit inside of old wooden mill building during tour

Historic Yates Mill County Park provides a wide variety of programs designed to enrich children's learning and classroom experiences. All of our educational programs are designed to be compatible with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.

Trained docents and education staff lead groups through the historic site and park. All of the programs and tours at Historic Yates Mill County Park feature inquiry-based learning, a variety of interactive group activities and tours, and hands-on experiences that both enchant and educate.

We encourage you to reach out to us about your program requests as early as possible and suggest that you have a few potential programming dates selected when you call to book a park experience.

Schedule a Trip

To schedule a field trip, first download and read over our Educators Guide and look over other resources.

For more detailed instructions and tips download the appropriate visit guide below:

Interested groups of 10 people or more are encouraged to contact our group program coordinator at 919-856-5638 or email at adam.prince@wake.gov.

What could your customized field trip be like?

What could your customized field trip be like? Here's an idea...

Experience History at Wake County’s Last Water Mill
A guided tour of our 18th-century mill provides a unique experience where participants become “History Detectives” while investigating the Mill’s water-powered operations and its business and social roles in the community.

Tours inside the old water mill are available from March through November each year, while other programs are available year-round. Mill tours are not available on the third Thursday and Friday, nor on the fourth Monday, of each month when the mill is being prepped for, and cleaned up from, weekend corn milling demonstrations.

Explore the Outdoors in Our 174-Acre Nature Refuge
Hiking the park trails and exploring the millpond awaken the senses and invigorate the spirit. Trained park staff can serve as guides and provide program participants with enjoyable and immersive natural experiences.

Let Us Help You to Meet Your Curricular Goals
Organized programs and discovery labs are available for groups of all ages. The park’s school-age programs enrich children's learning and classroom experiences, are inquiry-based, and are compatible with the NC Standard Course of Study. Find out what correlates here.

Engage in Fun and Educational Hands-on Activities
A visit to the park center’s exhibit hall with its interactive displays, group scavenger hunt, and historic dress-up area ensures that a good time is had by all, and self-guided activities and discovery packs can add to the fun.

Pre-and Post-Visit Activities

Take a look at our pre-and post- visit activities!

For Elementary Grades:
A collection of fun multi-disciplinary activities to get your group ready to visit the old water mill: download them here.

For Middle School: 5-Day Curriculum
This is a curriculum assembled by a team of students from the Technology, Engineering, and Design Education department at North Carolina State University. Provided are Lesson Plans for four days of classroom activity and one visit to the Historic Yates Mill County Park. Each lesson plan is 75 minutes, tailored to fit a middle school on block scheduling: download them here.

Virtual Field Trip Orientation

Organized Group Mill Tours

About Mill Funding

Yates Mill is an operable grain mill established around 1756. The equipment in the mill is original, left after the Lea family ceased milling operations in the mid-1950s. A visit to this historic treasure provides an opportunity to learn about an integral aspect of rural life in the early days of settlement in Wake County.

Tour fees directly support the nonprofit Yates Mill Associates for maintenance and operations of Historic Yates Mill.

For more information on how to become a member of Yates Mill Associates, please visit www.yatesmill.org

Booking Your Tour

Tour dates are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations should be made, preferably, one month in advance. For groups that may be interested in other programs in addition to a mill tour, please refer to the Group Programs and Field Trips section of our website.

Historic Yates Mill County Park is pleased to offer guided tours to organized groups on weekdays. Requests for group tours are made by contacting the Group Program Coordinator, Adam Prince, at adam.prince@wake.gov or 919-856-5638.

Little Red Hen Tour

Tour guide leads group of children down dirt path to mill.

Get your preschoolers excited about Yates Mill! Relive the beloved story of the Little Red Hen. Then take a trip to the mill to gather ingredients for an imaginary loaf of bread.

History Detective Tour

Group of children stand in front of mill dam and waterfall with mill building off to the side

Earn your history detective badge! Take a guided hike to Yates Mill to discover how the mill operates. Try your hand at corn shelling and bartering as you solve history mysteries.

Mill Heritage Tour

old desk with feather quill and rock that says yates mill inside old mill building

Learn about mill operations and our global mill heritage. Explore local community history and discover how simple hand mills gave rise to complex machines like Yates Mill.

Environmental Experiences

Pond Party

image of reeds and pond

What’s swimming underneath the surface of the pond? Explore tiny animals that call this habitat home in a hands-on pond study. Learn the aquatic food chain through a fun game, the life cycles of pond critters, and how to be a scientist with biological water testing! Then do some nature journaling so you can observe these animals in action. (Journals provided.)


Reptiles Rock

baby turtle basking on rock in pond

Meet some scaly friends and learn about unique reptile adaptations. Learn to tell the difference between amphibians and reptiles, do a fun hands-on reptile discovery lab, and then discover what other reptiles might live at Yates Mill Pond.

Wonderful Wetlands

image of wetlands and pond

Marshes, bogs and swamps have one thing in common – they are all wetlands! Build your own wetland model in a hands-on science experiment, and learn how wetlands are nature’s coffee filter. Explore the important role that wetlands play in an ecosystem and all about the critters who rely on it. We’ll be reading a fun story, exploring the park wetlands, and doing some nature journaling! (Journals provided.)

Butterflies, Bees and Bats, Oh My!

yellow and black striped butterfly perching

Birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles and other animals that pollinate plants are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food. They help plants reproduce and sustain our ecosystems. Learn about the different types of pollinators and what we can do to protect them. Go on a guided field exploration and see some of our park gardens and pollinator hot spots. Do some nature journaling and play a fun game! (Journals provided.)

Animal Adaptations

animal pelts and trays with folders with questions marks

How do animals survive in the wild? Predators adapt to catch prey, and the hunted adapt to avoid being eaten. Study behaviors and body parts that make animals successful, and learn about their physical and behavioral adaptations. We will discuss the flow of the food chain and why this balance is essential to a healthy ecosystem.

Guided Hike

group of visitors stand together using binoculars looking over at wetlands from wooden boardwalk

Take a hike to explore the park’s natural communities and diverse wildlife. Want a specific topic covered, such as habitats, animal tracks or birdwatching? Let our staff know in advance.

Animal Tracks and Signs

animal pelts and skulls on table

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! Use your nature detective skills to figure out what animals live in the park, then observe animals in action throughout the park.

Fascinating Fossils!

Photo of stuffed animal eagle posed in front sample fossils

Fossils rock! Learn about how life and the Earth change over time, how organisms fossilize, how to identify a fossil, what prehistoric creatures called NC home, and the connection of birds to dinosaurs.

Historical Exploration Labs

Artifact Discovery

Go back in time to the 18th century. Compare life then and now. In a guided inquiry, discover the purposes of several unusual objects from yesteryear.

A-Maize-ing Grains

Where does our food come from? Put on your Grain Brain and investigate the grains in your favorite foods. Find out how Yates Mill grinds grain, and then sprout a living necklace to wear home.