I know how hard it is to get young kids out of the house to go somewhere - even quick outings require you to pack enough snacks, diapers, and toys to make you think you’ll be gone for a week. And who wants to wrestle kids in and out of carseats just to find out that your destination isn’t kid-friendly? That’s why I’ve decided to visit Triangle area sites to see if they’re worth your trip. I won’t use a rating system but I’ll try to describe what you’ll see well enough for you to decide if your kids would find it interesting. I’ll also give you the heads up on bathrooms, stroller accessibility and any other SNAFUs I encounter.


Little River Park - Zebulon


     We decided to take advantage of the 60 degree temp yesterday and check out a small attraction that I found by accident. Little River Park is a small park off route 97 in Zebulon. It consists of a breached dam on the river with two major waterfalls and several little waterfalls. According to the Zebulon Parks website, at one time there was a mill and ice house on the site and the dam itself generated electricity for Zebulon.The park has picnic tables, trash cans, a swing set with a baby swing and two standard swings, and the tallest playground slide I've ever seen. Be careful when driving into the park - the driveway is only wide enough for one vehicle so if someone is trying to exit you'll need to wait your turn.

     If you walk up the hill you'll not only enjoy the shade of many large pines, but you'll also get a good view of the river. While we were there I spotted two Canadian geese standing on a rock in the middle of the river. Towards the larger waterfall, there are also some old bridge pylons that are good for a climb.

     Again, the two different dispositions of my children was evident. My preschooler would rather play on the playground equipment, while my toddler prefers to explore and attempt to get in the river. My eco-warrior preschooler noticed a Wal-Mart bag on the ground and said: "Somebody littered. Let's pick it up." And so I found myself picking up a stranger's trash.

     Little River Park is a sweet find even if you don't have kids. The romance of this spot did not go unnoticed, as I saw many parents walking hand-in-hand towards the waterfall while they're children played elsewhere. It would be a great place to sit and read under the pines, with the rushing water as your soundtrack. I would imagine that it's also a great place to get wet and stay cool in the summer. Little River Park is definitely one of my favorite finds in the Triangle.

UPDATE  6/26/2013

     I just recently learned that Wake County and the City of Raleigh have been working with the Army Corps of Engineers to develop plans to dam the Little River in order to create a reservoir that would supply the eastern communities of Raleigh with drinking water. The plans have been in the works for several years and the project is currently in the environmental impact review process which will conclude in 2016. Construction could begin in 2022.

     Based on the very generalized map made available by the City of Raleigh it appears that the scenic beauty (if not the entire existence) of Little River Park could be affected by such a dam. The dam is very controversial and many groups are lobbying to stop it including American Rivers,  Wake Up Wake County and the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation.

     The growth of Knightdale (my current location) and other eastern towns has been identified as the reason for creating a new source of drinking water. Honestly, I would rather observe mandatory water restrictions than see a beautiful habitat disturbed by a dam and its' accompanying water treatment plant. Although the public comment period is over, Monte Matthews with the Army Corps of Engineers is listed as the contact for feedback on the proposed dam. If you've been out to Little River Park and enjoyed the sound of rushing water let Mr. Matthews know before the rush is decreased to a dribble.

1 comment:

  1. Nearly 30yrs ago when I was much younger, on a Christmas Eve afternoon... I was passing by the abandoned Jaycee Park (Little River Parks previous name). It was grown up nearly waist high in weeds and trash was thrown all over the place. But the water was thundering over the dam and it drew me to it. As I stood there listening I was disgusted with all the trash and wondered why nobody would clean it up. Such a waste! A little voice in my head said; "What's wrong with you!" So began a nearly 5yr mission to clean it up. With a 22 inch Sears push mower and machete and axe.. I finally got the town of Zebulon to accept it into the town's Park and Rec. dept. as a town park.. I had it cleared from one end to the other. You could see every stone on the dam. Dates carved (now covered), go back into the 1800's. The foundations are from an old grist mill run last by Dave Privette.. it was washed away in a flood during WW2. I'm not in good health but wish just once more I could restore it back to the beauty it once held. John Middleswarth