Join the celebration of Take a Child Outside (TACO) Week Sept. 24-30! This annual event encourages children and families across the country to get outside, explore, and learn more about the local environment.
Join one of our special programs to learn, play, and spend time together in the wonderful world outdoors! Browse the list of programs below. All programs are free unless otherwise listed and registration is online on RecLink.
Want to explore on your own? Enjoy Raleigh’s nature preserves or borrow a self-guided explorer kit! Supplies are limited. Please contact each location for more information. Learn more about the explorer backpack program.
What will you discover about yourself or your backyard?
Take a Child Outside Week Programs
Nature Play Day
Friday, September 24, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Join us to make time for playing in nature. Children of all ages, as well as the young at heart, are welcome to join us for imaginative play in a natural setting. Dig for gemstones, make a fort out of natural materials, fly a kite, make mud pies and more. We'll provide the materials and guidance to get you started on a playful adventure. No registration required. Adults must accompany their children.
Facility: Annie Louise Wilkerson Nature Preserve
Thursday, September 30, 5 to 6 p.m.
Colder weather is coming and many animals are preparing, including praying mantids. Come learn about these wacky insects and their lives. We’ll explore the preserve to search for mantids and their egg cases. Preregistration is required. Children must be accompanied by adults. Children and adults must register and pay the program fee.
Facility: Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve
Age: 6 years and older
Monday September 27, 10 to 11:30 a.m.
This program is for younger children who have never fished before but would like to try. We will practice with some casting games and then spend some time fishing in the lake. Your child will leave with stickers and fishing themed coloring pages. We will teach them that fishing is fun, join us today. Adult(s) must accompany child(ren), but do not need to register. Advanced registration required.
Facility: Lake Johnson Waterfront Center
Ages: 4-6 years
Tuesday, September 28, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
This program is great for youth new to fishing. We will go over casting techniques, setting up your rod and reel, and what fish are found in the lake. Then of course we will spend time fishing in the lake. Come see if you can hook one and reel it in. Parent(s)/guardian(s) are not required to accompany child(ren). This program is designed to give parent(s)/guardian(s) time to enjoy the park while the child(ren) enjoys the program. Advanced registration is required.
Facility: Lake Johnson Waterfront Center
Ages: 7-12 years
Tuesday, September 28, 1 to 3:30 p.m.
Love exploring creeks and ponds? Use dip nets, buckets, and your hands to find out what lives there! We'll get wet as we search for amazing critters in Simpkins Pond, and learn what they can tell us about the health of the water. Please wear rain boots or water shoes if you have them. Preregistration is required. Children must be accompanied by adults.
Facility: Lake Wheeler
Ages: 5 to 12 years
Outdoor Recreation – Navigating the Wilderness
Sunday September 26, 1 to 2 p.m.
How would you get around the wilderness if your phone and GPS lost power or broke altogether? This course will take you on a journey off the trails inside Lake Johnson Park. You will learn how to how to take bearings, read a topographic map, read a compass, understand triangulation, and much more. No prior experience is necessary. Parent(s)/guardian(s) are not required to accompany child(ren). This program is designed to give parent(s)/guardian(s) time to enjoy the park while the child(ren) enjoys the program. Advanced registration required.
Facility: Thomas G Crowder Woodland Center
Ages: 13 to 16 years
Herping in the Wetland
Thursday, September 30, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
What is herping? Herping is looking for 'herps' or reptiles and amphibians. In this TACO (Take a Child Outside) program, kids will learn about and search for some of the reptiles and amphibians that call the wetland home. Come dressed to spend some time outside in clothing that can get wet or muddy. A change of clothes is recommended, and kids are encouraged to bring rain boots or borrow a pair of ours, if conditions merit.
Facility: Walnut Creek Wetland Park
Ages: 7 to 12 years