Sunflowers

Sunset at the Dix Park sunflower field with the Raleigh Skyline in the background
Sunflower Field at Dix Park

2024 Sunflower Updates

Wednesday, July 17: The Dix Park Sunflowers in the main field are finished blooming and those in the Wildflower Patch are past their peak.

We're grateful for the beautiful blooms and everyone who came out to enjoy them despite the heat. And for their second act, the fields make for some spectacular birdwatching! 

 

Wildflower Patch along the Rocky Branch Greenway July 17, 2024

 

Visit

  • The Sunflower Field is free to visit
  • Dix Park is open 7 days-a-week, from dawn until dusk

Sunflower Soiree

On Saturday, July 13 from 6:00 - 9:00 pm, grab a bite and beverage while enjoying music at the sunflower field. 

  • Trophy Brewing
  • Food Trucks
    • Kookie Krumbs
    • Vane Hot Burgers
    • Pistol Penny's
    • Soda Box
  • Acoustic Music by Taylor King

Directions + Parking

Closest Park Entrances

  • Hunt Drive Entrance from Western Boulevard
  • Blair Drive Entrance from Centennial Parkway

Weekday Public Parking

  • Gravel lot off Hunt Drive (75 Hunt Dr.)
  • Paved lot near the Magnolia Room (1700 Umstead Dr.)

Evening & Weekend Parking

  • Visitors are welcome to use any parking lot

Greenway Access

 

Dix Park Sunflower Visitor Map

Wildflower Patch 

A new patch of sunflowers, zinnias and cosmos has popped-up this year along the Rocky Branch Greenway! 

  • The flowers are between S. Saunders and S. Boylan Ave. along the greenway.
  • There is limited parking at the Greenway Trailhead parking lot.
  • Parking is available up the hill in the lower Chapel lot at 1030 Richardson Drive.

 

Sunflowers at Dix Park

 

    Know Before You Go

    • We recommend outdoor essentials like sunscreen, hats, bug spray and close-toed shoes.
    • Please stay on the paths in the field so as not to trample the flowers.
    • Well behaved, leashed pets are welcome. Keep pets on pathways and picked up after them.
    • Temporary restrooms are located near entrances of the Sunflower Field.
    • Indoor restrooms are available at The Stone Houses seven days a week from 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
    • The Gatekeeper's Cottage Visitor Center is open Saturdays & Sundays, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.
    • NC Department of Health and Human Services employees work on the campus Monday -Friday. Please be respectful of their working environment and avoid buildings and DHHS parking areas during business hours. 

    What is Not Allowed

    • Picking or cutting the flowers
    • Eating the sunflower seeds - the sunflowers are planted on a former landfill
    • Off-leash pets
    • Outside alcoholic beverages
    • Smoking or vaping 
    • Weapons of any kind
    • Littering
    • Drones or other aerial devices. These are welcome on the Big Field only.

     

    Accessible pathway at the sunflower field

    Accessibility

    Accessible pathways at the Sunflower Field will lead from parking located at 1700 Umstead Dr. into the picnic area and sunflower field. Please note, due to the condition and grade of the area, there is some uneven ground under the pathway matting and it is not fully ADA accessible.

    Parking: Recommended ADA/accessible parking area is near the Magnolia Room at 1700 Umstead Dr. All paved parking lots have ADA parking paces. 

    Restrooms: ADA port-a-johns are located at the Sunflower Field and Magnolia Room. Indoor restrooms are available at The Stone Houses seven days a week from 8:00 am - 8:00 pm and at the Gatekeeper's Cottage Visitor Center, which is open Thursdays & Fridays, 9:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturdays & Sundays, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.

    Currently, portions of Dix Park - including around the sunflower field - have uneven paths and surfaces, and are not fully accessible for all mobility needs. Accessibility is a primary focus for park improvements currently in progress and all planning and development initiative. Learn more about Accessibility at Dix Park

    Planning a visit to Dix Park and have questions about accessibility? Contact us at info@dixpark.org or 919-996-3255

     

    Visitors taking photos at the sunflower field

    We love seeing your sunflower photos!

    Tag us on social media using:

    • @dixpark
    • #DixParkSunflowers
    • #DixPark

    Professional Photography at Dix Park

    Professional photographers are welcome to have photo shoots/sessions with clients at the Dix Park Sunflower Field, however, a commercial photography permit is required for City of Raleigh Parks. You can apply for an annual permit directly through the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department. This is a one year permit and covers all City of Raleigh Parks. To apply for the permit, please contact Jennie Saponaro with Raleigh Parks at 919-996-4905 or jennie.saponaro@raleighnc.gov.

       

      Sunflower with yellow swallowtail butterfly

      Dix Park Sunflower Facts

      • The creation of the 5-acre sunflower field at Dix Park is a City of Raleigh partnership between Raleigh Water and Raleigh Parks.
      • Raleigh Water preps the field in spring and plants the sunflower seeds in May.
        • In 2024, 80,000 – 100,000 Black Oil Sunflower Hybrid seeds were planted.
        • In 2023, 280,000 seeds  of the Hunters Select Peredovik variety were planted.
      • Raleigh Parks waters and maintains the field as the flowers grow.
      • Using a hydroseeder, Raleigh Parks also plants wildflowers along the perimeter of the field. 
      • The sunflower field serves as a massive pollinator habitat for bees, butterflies and other wildlife. 
      • During peak bloom, more than 100,000 people from across the City and around the region visit the sunflowers at Dix Park.
      • After the bloom is over, the sunflowers are left for birds and other wildlife to eat the seeds throughout the fall.
      • In the fall, Raleigh Water clears the field and plants a winter cover crop.

      History of Raleigh's Sunflowers

      For years, Raleigh Water planted sunflowers at the Neuse River Resource Recovery Facility fields, which were visible from the Neuse River Greenway.  The sunflowers were harvested to make biofuel for City equipment at the facility. These fields are treated and not open for the public to walk through.

      In 2018, the Dix Park team met with folks from Raleigh Water and the Office of Sustainability to talk about planting a new sunflower field at the park.  This idea was a perfect partnership project because it not only created a stunning new garden feature at Dix Park, but also provided a safe area for people to get up close and personal with the sunflowers the City was planting. 

      The 5-acre location that was chosen was ideal as it sat atop a rarely trafficked hill of the former landfill surrounded by vegetation. Truly a secret garden. When the surprise sunflower field bloomed it attracted people from around the city, county and throughout the state - totaling around 30,000 visitors. 

      For the first few years of the Dix Park sunflowers, Raleigh Water would harvest the seeds to make biofuel during educational programs and demonstrations. Now, the flowers are left for the birds and other wildlife to eat throughout the fall. 

      Questions?

      Contact us at info@dixpark.org or call 919-996-3255

      Raleigh Parks drone photo of the Dix Park Sunflower Field July 2021

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