How We Play is an evaluation and engagement initiative consistent with the Play Zebulon: Parks and Recreation Master Plan to study how our community uses our parks and play spaces so we can create the recreational experience our town deserves. This initiative was created following a Board of Commissioners request to evaluate park usage, as well as to continue following the master plan.

The full initiative was presented to the Board of Commissioners at the August Board Meeting on August 7 before being implemented. Utilizing town feedback, community engagement, and data-driven evaluations, we are setting out to learn a fuller story of how our town plays. The How We Play initiative ensures we’re approaching our evaluation from as many angles as possible, so every community is considered, every need is centered, and everyone has the opportunity to make their voice heard.

After the evaluation is finished, How We Play will guide Zebulon Parks and Recreation in making intentional, wanted improvements to our parks consistent with goals of the Play Zebulon: Parks and Recreation Master Plan. You’ll see new equipment you and your kids will love, better facilities for anyone enjoying our parks, and spaces that help create community.

How We Play is an exciting step for our Parks and Recreation Department and we can’t wait to share what we learn with you!

Play Zebulon Parks and Recreation Master Plan

Focus Groups

We are excited to add focus group opportunities soon. Focus groups will allow us to explore deeper into how Zebulon wants to play and engage in discussion with community members in a small group setting. Registration is limited to 10 participants. 

There are 5 focus group opportunities: 

  • Community Members  (FULL)
    • Monday, October 16th at 5:30 PM
  • Athletics (FULL)
    • Monday, October 16th at 7 PM
  • Civic Groups, Churches, and Educators  (Full)
    • Tuesday, October 17th at 4:30 PM
  • Hispanic Community Members Register Here
    • Tuesday, October 17th at 6 PM
  • Community Members (virtual) Full
    • Wednesday, October 18th at Noon

Community Survey

Your feedback is extremely important to help shape our parks and recreation facilities! We want to hear what you enjoy about our parks and play spaces, areas we can work to improve, and how we can better serve our community. 

Click here to participate in the survey. 


Community Engagements

We are actively reaching out to the unique communities that make up Zebulon! 


To ensure we’re hearing from citizens across racial, gender, and socioeconomic lines, we’re taking steps to meet people where they are and listen to their wants and needs for our parks and play spaces. Studies show that different communities engage in public research and participation at different rates so by being active in these communities, we’re seeing a fuller story of how we can improve our parks and recreational activities. 




Join us at the Gill St. Cookout for a day of free fun, food, and community! We’ll have Parks and Recreation staff there to hear from Zebulon citizens and get input on how we play and feedback on our efforts to improve Gill St. Park. 


If you can't make it to the Gill St Cookout, we also plan to hear from our community at the September and October Rock the Block concerts in Downtown Zebulon on West Horton St.


In addition, we would be happy to visit your church, civic group, or neighborhood. Please contact to schedule this opportunity to engage in this effort to learn how Zebulon wants to play.  

Data-Driven Evaluations

Zebulon Parks and Recreation is consulting with Dr. Aaron Hipp, a professor at North Carolina State University’s College of Natural Resources, to see how our parks are currently being used.

With his consultation, we’ve identified three parks, Whitley Park, Zebulon Community Park, and Gill St. Park, to help tell a fuller story of the town’s park usage. To help gather this data, we are planning to install temporary research cameras near amenities at Whitley Park, Zebulon Community Park, and Gill St. Park.

These research cameras will take snapshots at regular intervals to help track equipment and park usage so we can better understand how the community is interacting with our parks. The snapshots are securely stored and are only being used for evaluation purposes.  Additionally, research cameras do not record video or audio clips. The research cameras will be active for the months of August and September so we can see how our parks are being used when kids are both in and out of school.

Transparency and communication are extremely important to us, so we will have signage posted all around the participating parks to inform folks about the research cameras and the ongoing park improvement evaluations.

This evaluation technique is a common method to analyze traffic at a location and has been used in parks across the state to consider how play and recreational spaces are being used. This data, along with other evaluation techniques, allows for a more rounded analysis of park use. We will be able to review the rate of use at different amenities, peak levels of use, and types of play elements that are most engaging to our community.

This is especially important to reach traditionally underserved communities and ensures we’re seeing to the needs of community members that are not able to engage in traditional government participation for a variety of reasons. The Town of Zebulon is a fast-growing and uniquely diverse town. As we continue our efforts to communicate with these different communities across racial, gender, and socioeconomic lines, this initiative will help consider the needs of everyone.

We’re happy to provide more information and listen to feedback if interested. Please contact us at 919-823-1814.

Question title

Leave your feedback for us on the Town of Zebulon's parks and play spaces and look out for a survey from us soon!

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