Annie Louise Wilkerson, MD Nature Preserve Park
Last updated Jun. 07, 2016 - 3:18 pm
- Year 2006 | Acres 157.6
- In February 2006, the City of Raleigh received an amazing gift of 157 acres of land along Falls Lake to create its first designated nature preserve. Dr. Annie Louise Wilkerson, a renowned Raleigh doctor with many pioneering achievements in her 53-year career in medicine, stipulated in her will that the park be maintained as a "nature preserve park" used for the primary purpose of nature and wildlife education.
- New Education Center Now Open
- Hands-on displays designed especially for children
- Free nature craft activity changed monthly
- Free loaner equipment: Explorer backpacks for children, Eagle Optics binoculars for adults, kites and other nature play items
- Staff available whenever park is open to answer your nature questions
- Park Manager Marti Kane
- Assistant Park Manager Bryan England
- Stay on the trails. Bicycles are not allowed on trails.
- Leave No Trace – take your litter home.
- Respect and protect all plants and animals. No fishing in pond.
- Keep pets on a leash under your control at all times. Pets can cause harm to rare plants, ground-nesting birds, juvenile box turtles, baby rabbits, fledglings and other wildlife. Pets off trails can pick up ticks or be bitten by copperheads.
- Pick up after your pet. We provide dog waste bags in dispensers in both parking lots.
- Protect yourself from ticks, fire ants and chiggers. Watch for copperheads on the trails. Always wear closed-toe shoes while here.
- Leave by park closing hours.
- Enjoy nature’s peace and beauty!
- In her will, Dr. Annie Louise Wilkerson stipulated that her 157-acre farm be set aside as a nature preserve for the primary purpose of nature study, wildlife education and research into methods of conservation. This guides our development of educational programming at the preserve and compels us to follow a Leave No Trace ethic in our programs and activities. We are all about helping groups and individuals foster a connection with the natural world through public, group and self-guided programs.
School and Group Programs
- Environmental Education programs for schools or other groups
- We can design a nature program for your school or group that meets your needs and fits our park mission.
- Contact Bryan England, Assistant Park Manager, for possibilities.
Public Programs for Individuals and Families
- Wilkerson Nature Preserve offers public programs for a variety of ages throughout the year.
- Call the park for the latest information.
- View our public programs on RecLink
- View Current Programs Brochure
- Explorer Backpack Program
Self-guided Nature Programs
- Scouts, homeschool and other groups are welcome to use the preserve for self-guided studies.
- Call the park before you bring your group here to find out if the facilities are being used by park staff or another group.
- Stay on park trails and follow park rules.
- Leave no trace of your visit.
- Let park staff know ahead of time if you are planning to check out any of our free nature study equipment.
Electric Car Charging Stations
- A free electric car-charging station is conveniently located next to the park office.
- First come, first served basis.
- Second station is available near the preserve’s maintenance barn and is available on request when the first station is being used.
Exhibits and Displays
- The park office has hands-on natural history displays and a craft for children.
- The education center has indoor and outdoor exhibits designed for older students and adults.
Loaner Equipment – free of charge
- Explorer Backpacks for children with binoculars, compass, bug viewing box and more
- Eagle Optics binoculars for adults
- Kites and other nature play equipment
Nature Play Areas
- Several nature play areas allow children and the young at heart to play in a natural setting. In these designated areas, you can build a fort, make a fairy house, hide in a native grass maze, dig for rocks in a sand pit, play in a teepee and more.
- We also host several Nature Play Days each year when staff set up play stations with extra materials to enhance imagination.
Hiking and Wildlife watching
- Three interpretive trails provide ample opportunities for nature study and wildlife watching.
- The preserve is connected to a large expanse of gamelands and parklands that form an impressive wildlife corridor around Falls Lake.
- The fields and meadows in the preserve provide habitat for grassland birds and mammals.
- A checklist of birds seen in the park is provided in the park office. The list is revised as we see more.
Native Plant Gardens
- Several native plant gardens are located around the park office, comfort station and education center.
- Restrooms with water fountains available year-round.
- Innovative water reuse system where wastewater is reclaimed and used for flushing toilets.
- The former home of Dr. Wilkerson has been fully renovated for conversion into a nature park research center
- Includes a multi-purpose room, a science/wet lab, an exhibit space, a reception area and a catering kitchen
- Pedestrian walkways and outdoor teaching space.
- Dr. Annie’s will specifies that the park property be used only for nature study, wildlife education and/or conservation research.
- After the new education center is open, policies will be developed for groups with a similar mission and purpose to rent classroom space for educational purposes.
- We do not host parties, weddings or similar events.
- Contact the assistant park manager for more information.
- Three loop trails have been created on the 157-acre property.
- The Epps Forest Loop (0.66 mi) winds through an oak-hickory forest. A tree identification brochure is keyed to common trees along the trail.
- The Hidden Rocks Trail (0.93 mi) features rock outcrops; a geologic guide describes the rocks and their history.
- The Pond Loop (0.57 mi) meanders through meadows and around a one-acre farm pond. Visitors can use our turtle brochure to identify turtles in and around the pond.
- In addition, the Mountains-to-Sea Connector links the preserve’s trails with the Mountain-to-Sea Trail that follows the south shore of Falls Lake.
- Download Trail Map
To rent a shelter please contact the Park Office View other shelter locations
- Dr. Annie’s will specifies that the property be used only for nature study, wildlife education and/or conservation research.
- Groups with the mission or purpose of nature study, wildlife education or conservation research may rent the shelter for educational programs when the park staff is not using it.
- The shelter is not rented for parties, weddings, and similar events.
- Capacity: 60
- $9/hr (2hr minimum)
- Access to electricity