Red backpack leaned up against tree trunk

Grab an Explorer Backpack at select Raleigh Parks

One of the explorer backpacks and its contents at Annie Louise Wilkerson

Explorer backpack kits are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis whenever the park is open.

Next time you visit one of the Raleigh parks listed below, check out an explorer backpack to enhance your visit! Explorer backpacks are available for free to check out for your day at the park. Each location has different themed backpacks with their own unique materials to experience the outdoors in a new way. 

Browse all the available locations below and be sure to contact the facility ahead of time for questions. Always call the office before arriving, closing times can vary throughout the year. Backpacks are limited in supply and available on a first-come, first-served basis. A RecLink account is required to check out items.

Annie Louise Wilkerson MD Nature Preserve

Large pond bordered by huge green trees

This body of water is one of the many scenic views at the Annie Louise Wilkerson, MD Nature Preserve.

Location: 5229 Awls Haven Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to dusk, and Sundays from 1 p.m. to dusk 
Phone: 919-996-6764

The following types of backpacks are available at the Annie Louise Wilkerson MD Nature Preserve Park Office:

  • Nature Explorer backpack
  • Garden play kit
  • Sandbox play kit
  • Fairy Houses backpack
  • Nature Art backpack
  • EcoEXPLORE backpack

Durant Nature Preserve

View of the lake and dock at Durant Nature Preserve

Location: Temporary Park Office -  Southside of the Park in the Campbell Lodge basement located at 3237 Spottswood Street, Raleigh, NC
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Phone: 919-878-9116

The following types of backpacks are available at the Durant Nature Preserve park office:

  • Pond and stream backpack
  • Insects backpack
  • Birds backpack
  • Nature art backpack
  • Wildlife tracking backpack

Forest Ridge Park

Falls Lake from Forest Ridge Park

Location: 2100 Old NC 98 HWY, Wake Forest, NC 27587
Welcome Center Hours: View Latest Operating Hours
Phone: 919-996-5800

The following types of backpacks are available at Forest Ridge Park Welcome Center:

  • Nature explorer backpack
  • Fort building kit
  • Art backpack
  • Binoculars

Thomas G. Crowder Woodland Center

View of the exterior at the Crowder Woodland Center

Location: 5611 Jaguar Park Dr., Raleigh, NC 27606
Hours: View Latest Operating Hours
Phone: 919-996-3141

The following types of backpacks are available at the Thomas G. Crowder Woodland Center:

  • ecoEXPLORE backpacks 
  • Art Everywhere backpacks 

Walnut Creek Wetland Park

Trails at Walnut Creek Wetland Center

Location: 950 Peterson Street, Raleigh, NC 27610
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to dusk, and Sundays from 1 p.m. to dusk.
Phone: 919-996-2760

The following types of backpacks are available at Walnut Creek Wetland Park:

  • Birds backpack
  • Amphibians backpack
  • Trees backpack
  • Bugs backpack