Nature Programs

The City of Wilmington’s Parks & Recreation Department offers a variety of programs that align with North Carolina Science Standards. The educational programs offered by the trained staff of the Halyburton Nature Center focus on basic science concepts and local nature themes. Designed to engage participants in hands-on learning, our nature programs allow for first-hand experiences in outdoor habitats, creating a relationship of respect and stewardship between participants and the environment. Join our staff for a fun and exciting nature program and explore nature in Wilmington!

Halyburton Park

Nature's Backpack

When: Backpacks can be rented Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Must have a form of identification)

WhatEach backpack contains lessons, activities and equipment to learn about birds, mammals, insects, nature journaling and ponds.

Cost: Free same day rental/check out

Contact a staff member who will contact you to arrange pickup: Hope Grubbs (Also available at both the Davis and MLK Community Centers)

Check out these really cool 'How-To' videos! 

Little Explorer's Program

Bring your “Little Explorers” out to the park and discover nature through a hikes in the park, experiments, and activities. Your children will delight in the many nature themes we explore each month. Space is limited and pre-registration is required for these popular programs. Available for those between 2 & 5 years of age. $3.00/participant. 


Hot V. Cold (July 19, 2024) 
Friday 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

 

Creepy Crawly Critters (August 15 - August 16, 2024) 
Thursday: 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Friday 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

 

Outdoor Impressions (August 29 - August 30, 2024) 
Thursday: 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Friday 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

 

Nature's Changes (September 13, 2024) 
Friday 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

 

Forest Investigation (September 27, 2024) 
Friday 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

 

Flight or Goodnight (October 11, 2024) 
Friday 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

 

Spooktacular Nature (October 25, 2024) 
Friday 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

 

Dinnertime Discovery (November 22, 2024) 
Friday 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

 

One Cold Moon (December 13, 2024) 
Friday 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

 

Winter Wonderland (December 20, 2024) 
Friday 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

 

For downloadable fliers, please click here(PDF, 2MB) (July - August) or here(PDF, 916KB) (September - December)

Creature Feature Program

Feed your curiosity at the Creature Feature where each month shines a spotlight on one of the unique species that call Halyburton Park their home! Pizza included. Available for those 6 years of age and older. $5.00/participant. 


Honeybees (July 20, 2024 from 3 to 4 p.m.)

  •  What’s the Buzz? Join us for a program to learn about the fascinating world of bees through games, crafts, and observation of live bees in a safe and educational environment.

     

Yellow Rat-Snake (August 17, 2024 from 3 to 4 p.m.)

  •  Study the reason these snakes are called such a unique name and what makes them special!

 

Canada Goose (September 6, 2024 from 6 to 7:00 p.m.)

  • Take a gander at the Canada Goose and learn more about the lives of these long-distance flyers through games and activities.

     

Bats of North Carolina (October 18, 2024 from 6 to 7:00 p.m.)

  • Explore bats’ nocturnal habits and echolocation abilities through a story, craft, and game.

 

Grey Squirrels (December 6, 2024 from 6 to 7:00 p.m.)

  • Bound on by to learn about the playful antics, clever habits, and importance of grey squirrels through games and outdoor exploration.

     

For a downloadable flyer, please click here(PDF, 5MB).

Walk & Learn Series

Discover a new way to explore the park each month with the Walk and Learn series. Each hike will focus on a different and unique aspect of the park- from natural history to cultural relevance to health and wellness. Available for those 6 years of age and older. FREE Program.


Accessibility in Parks with ARC of Wilmington (July 19, 2024 from 11 a.m. to noon)

  • With the expert guidance of the ARC of Wilmington, discover accessible trails at Halyburton. Learn about how embracing nature not only fosters inclusion, but also empowers individuals, of all abilities, to unlock their full potential.

 

Dog Days of Summer (August 16, 2024 from 11 a.m. to noon) 

  • Welcome to the 'dog days' of summer, where educators dive into the sizzling heat and canine influence that defines this time of year.

 

Sustainability Stroll (September 20, 2024 & September 21, 2024 from 11 a.m. to noon)

  • From waste reduction strategies to Leave No Trace principals, join educators as they highlight the collective efforts of local individuals and organizations, demonstrating that small actions can make a big impact in building a more sustainable world.

 

Creepy Crawly Critters (October 18, 2024 & October 19, 2024 from 11 a.m. to noon)

  • Journey into the world of insects and spiders fascinating habitats and behaviors, challenging perceptions and revealing the vital roles these often-misunderstood beings play in our ecosystems.

 

Decomposition Expedition (November 15, 2024 & November 16, 2024 from 11 a.m. to noon)

  • Break down the mystery of nature’s decomposers and learn how organisms like fungi and snails play an essential part in the cycle of life.

     

Hibernation Celebration (December 20, 2024 & December 21, 2024 from 11 a.m. to noon)

  • Celebrate the cozy wonders of winter slumber, as educators teach participants about the fascinating adaptations of animals who snuggle up for a long nap.

     

For a downloadable flyer, please click here(PDF, 2MB)

Summer Evening Series

Age: 6+

Cost: $5/participant

Upcoming Programs

Camo Critters (July 18, 2024) 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

  • Sharpen your eye for detail with this interactive program on camouflage in nature. You'll get to practice your searching with our Wilderness Where's Waldo before demonstrating your own camouflage skills during a round of Decorate and Disguise.

Birds of Prey (July 25) 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

  • The animals we call birds extend far beyond the songbirds we usually see on birdfeeders! Cape Fear Raptor Center will be visiting our park with some of their beautiful birds to talk about a raptor’s typical day- from breakfast to bedtime.

Animal Signs (August 1, 2024) 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

  • How do we know what animals make their home at the park if we can't always see them? Learn how to find all the hidden signs that our park is full of flora and fauna!

Night Hike & S'mores (August 8, 2024) 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

  • Explore the park through new eyes during a sunset stroll of the park, learning about how nature changes at night and how animals adapt to the lack of light. We'll finish the night around the bonfire to roast marshmallows and snack on some smores!

 

For a downloadable flyer, please click here(PDF, 4MB)

Free Bird Hikes

Join park staff for a leisurely bird-watching stroll around Halyburton Park the first Friday of each month. We’ll search for migrants, residents, and point out year-round species too. These walks are for beginner birders and all are welcome. Participants meet at Halyburton Park (4099 S. 17th St).

This program is free and can be enjoyed by those 6 years of age and older. 


  • Friday, September 6, 2024 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, October 4, 2024 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Friday, November 8, 2024 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Friday, December 6, 2024 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

     

For a downloadable flyer, please click here.  

Fee-Based Bird Hikes

Explore local birding hotspots discovering the diversity of resident and migratory bird species. Participants must provide their own transportation unless otherwise specified. This program can be enjoyed by those 16 years of age and older. Register here


  • Trip to Howell Woods on September 19, 2024 from 8:00 - 5:00 p.m. (Transportation provided. Meet at Halyburton Park) $20/Person
  • Trip to Sunset Beach on October 17, 2024 from 9:00 - 12:00 p.m. ($10/Person)
  • Trip to Fort Fisher on November 15, 2024 from 9:00 - 12:00 p.m. ($10/Person)
  • Trip to Topsail Island on December 19, 2024 from 9:00 - 12:00 p.m. ($10/Person)

 

For a downloadable flyer, please click here.  

 

School & Group Programs

Halyburton Park staff offers a variety of programs for schools, homeschool groups, afterschool programs, and summer camps. Our programs are geared toward children in grades pre-k through 5th.

To submit an inquiry, complete the booking form(PDF, 7MB) and submit to Hope Grubbs.

Halyburton Park School & Group Program Guide(PDF, 88MB)

Nature's Classroom: An Outdoor Education Pop-Up Series

Halyburton Park is going on tour! Check our our park pop-up schedule to see when we'll be teaching at a playground near you.

Ages: All
Cost: Free (no registration required)
Dates, Times, & Locations: 

  • August 9, 2024 at Portia Mills Hines Park from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

 

For a downloadable flyer, click here(PDF, 388KB).

Animal Ambassador Feedings

Come meet some of the ambassador animals and learn how they live both in the wild and at the center while they enjoy a reptile-ready meal! Each program will feature a snake and a box turtle. Participants meet at Halyburton Park (4099 S. 17th St).

This program is free and can be enjoyed by those 3 years of age and older. 


  • Wednesday, September 4, 2024 from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 2, 2024 from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 6, 2024 from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 4, 2024 from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For a downloadable flyer, please click here.  

 

 

Honey Harvest at the Apiary!

Come fly by the park to learn all about what it takes to make a jar of honey - from hive to home! Please bring a 4 oz. jar to fill with Halyburton Honey.


Date: TBA
Timeslots:
TBA
Cost: Free  

Davis Center at Maides Park

Nature's Backpack

When: Backpacks can be rented Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Must have a form of identification)

What: Each backpack contains lessons, activities and equipment to learn about birds, mammals, insects, nature journaling and ponds. How-to videos with Halyburton Park’s education staff are available online as well as ideas on how and where to explore.

Cost: Freesame day rental/check out

Contact a staff member who will contact you to arrange pickup: Yosha Martinez (Also available at both the MLK and Halyburton Park centers)

FREE Seed Library

A seed library is just how it sounds: it loans seeds to gardeners.  A seed library takes some time and effort to put together, but the way the library works is very simple:

1.  Fill out a Seed Library Membership Form(PDF, 115KB)

2. “Borrow” seeds by filling out Seed Request Form from the library at planting time. Each ‘library cardholder’ may check out up to three packets of seeds per visit.

3.  At the end of the growing season, harvest the seeds from the plants and return a portion of the seeds to the library. Staff will put them into circulation so that everyone can try their hand at growing them.

Location: Davis Center at Maides Park, 1101 Manly Ave.
Seed Library Brochure(PDF, 2MB)

Mushroom Workshop

Join the Davis Center, alongside Wilmington's Mushroom Club, for a six-session Mushroom Workshop.

Ages: 13+

Times and Dates: TBD

MLK Center at Robert Strange Park

Nature's Backpack

When: Backpacks can be rented Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Must have a form of identification)

What: Each backpack contains lessons, activities and equipment to learn about birds, mammals, insects, nature journaling and ponds. How-to videos with Halyburton Park’s education staff are availableonlineas well as ideas on how and where to explore.

Cost: Free same day rental/check out

Contact a staff member who will contact you to arrange pickup: Mary Jones. (Also available at both the Davis and Halyburton Park centers)