Nature Explorers Summer Camp

Registration begins Monday, Feb 1, 2016 at 12 noon and is exclusively online. Register early; space is limited!

Register Now!

Photo of Nature Explorers

"This is my son's hands-down favorite summer experience. The counselors are great and he loves the activities."

"It was just lovely. I've already raved to anyone who would listen about the great time my child had. We'll definitely be back next year!"

"It was an excellent program overall and beautiful way for children to get acquainted or reacquainted with nature"

Camp Overview

Does your child love being outside and exploring nature? Are you looking for a high-quality summer camp that features small group sizes (camper to staff ratio of 4:1), hands-on science learning, experienced educators, and loads of fun? Nature Explorers Summer Camp is for you! Our unique program is designed to:

  • connect children to nature,
  • foster respect and appreciation for the environment,
  • cultivate a love for science-learning, and
  • promote conservation ethics.

Kids will discover the wonders of the native plants, animals, and habitats of North Carolina through outdoor exploration, games, stories, arts and crafts, and more. Camps take place on the grounds of our beautiful campus, featuring 10 acres of native plant display gardens, an extensive network of nature trails, and a state-of-the-art Education Center. All sessions are taught by trained environmental educators, certified in CPR/First Aid, and supported by teen volunteer Counselors-in-Training (CIT).

Camp Descriptions


June 6-10, 9am-12pm Full; Waitlist available
June 13-17, 9am-12pm Full; Waitlist available
June 20-24, 9am-12pm Full; Waitlist available
June 27-July 1; 9am-12pm Full; Waitlist available
Curious preschoolers will love this camp, designed to provide playful, hands-on experiences with the natural world in a small group setting. Young campers will use all of their senses as we explore who lives in the garden through nature walks, arts/crafts, stories, puppet shows, and group play. Snack included. Session has 10 campers. *You can only register your child for one week of this camp theme.
Fee: $135 ($120 members)


July 11-15; 9am-3pm Full; Waitlist available
July 18-22; 9am-3pm Full; Waitlist available
The garden, forest, and ponds are teeming with life in summer! From tadpoles to Venus fly traps, come discover the awesome diversity of plants and animals that call North Carolina home. Campers will investigate the life cycles, adaptations, and habitats of our native neighbors through hands-on explorations, plant and animal encounters, games, stories, and crafts. Learn how everything is connected in our wonderful “backyard”. Each session has 16 campers. *You can only register your child for one week of this camp theme.
Fee: $270 ($240 members)


Aug 1-5; 9am-3pm Full; Waitlist available
Whether your child is interested in plants, bugs, or birds, this is the camp for kids who love nature! Campers spend the week honing their naturalist skills and developing an understanding of ecology by getting their hands dirty exploring the Garden’s woodlands and wetlands. Sweep net for insects, catch crayfish and test water quality at Morgan Creek, bird-watch, learn wild uses of plants, and keep a nature journal. Guest naturalists and field trips to off-site Garden preserves will enrich our nature study and fun! Session has 16 campers.
Fee: $270 ($240 members)

ART OF NATURE ages 8-12

Aug 8-12; 9am-12pm Full; Waitlist available
Learn how nature illustrators sketch and color wildflowers, birds, frogs, and more while exploring the Garden with artist and naturalist Bob Palmatier. Campers will create their own works of art using watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil, and learn the techniques of professional nature illustrators. Each child will have a notebook of sketches, paintings, and a piece of their nature art matted for framing by week's end! Session has 12 campers.
Fee: $170 ($150 members), includes take-home art kit

Registration Instructions

Registration begins Monday, Feb 1 at 12 noon and is exclusively online.

Register Now!


1. Choose your camp: Use the camp descriptions to choose the session that matches your child's age level and your schedule.

2. Register Online:

  • Access the online registration system via the yellow "Register Now" button after February 1, 2016 at 12 noon.
  • Select the camp session from the calendar
  • Create a login and password (if you don't have one already).
  • Add your child as a registrant to your account by clicking on the “ Click Here to Add Another Registrant to Your Account” button. (If you do not do this, you will be registering yourself as an adult for camp!)
  • Follow the prompts to register and pay.
  • Need help? Please contact the Registrar via email or call 919-843-8524.

3. Submit Required Forms: To finalize your registration, please complete and return the Camp Release Forms, also included in your registration confirmation email, immediately. The Garden reserves the right to cancel your registration if these forms are not submitted by the due date, May 2, 2016. Your child cannot attend camp unless we receive these forms.

Please note: THESE ARE NOT REGISTRATION FORMS. Do not submit these forms until AFTER you have received a registration confirmation e-mail.

It’s easy to submit Camp Release Forms!

  • Scan and email to:
  • Fax to ATTN: Elisha Taylor to 919-962-3531
  • Hand-deliver to ATTN: Elisha Taylor to the reception desk in Education Center during regular business hours
  • Mail to: ATTN: Elisha Taylor, NC Botanical Garden, UNC-CH, Campus Box 3357, Chapel Hill, NC 27599


  • Registration is exclusively online. Phone or paper registrations are NOT accepted.
  • Full payment is due at the time of registration.
  • You must register your child for a camp planned for the age s/he will be by the first day of the camp session. There are NO EXCEPTIONS. Our programs are carefully designed to be age-appropriate.
  • Children may not repeat any camp program of the same name in the same summer. This applies to “Garden Safari” for ages 4-5 and “Habitat Explorers” for ages 6-7.
  • No pro-rated daily rates are available.
  • No refunds for missed days of camp.
  • Membership fees and scholarship donations are non-refundable.
  • Members at the “Household” level (not “Individual”) are eligible for discounted camp fees. If you register for camp as a member but do not have current membership, your registration is subject to cancellation and your fees refunded, minus a 20 percent administrative fee. Membership status is subject to verification.


If the camp you have selected is full, you may choose to join the waitlist during the online registration process. Please do not call or email. If a spot should open up for your child, you will receive a phone call and email immediately, offering you the position. We will wait 48 hours to hear a response from the first person on the waitlist before we contact subsequent families. Once the open spot is accepted, payment and registration for the summer camp will be due.


The Garden reserves the right to cancel a camp session if there is insufficient enrollment. If a session is cancelled, all fees, minus non-refundable membership fees, will be fully refunded.

If you cancel on or before April 18, 2016, your camp fee is fully refundable minus a $50 administrative fee per camp.

If you cancel after April 18, 2016, but before May 16, 2016, you will receive a 50% refund of the camp fee.

If you cancel on or after May 16, 2016, you are not eligible for any refund.

To cancel your registration, click the cancellation link found in your original registration confirmation email, or submit your cancellation request in writing to the, Registrar, via email.


The Garden depends on its members. Membership dues help us maintain current programs, pursue its mission as a conservation garden, and look toward future growth.

Members at the “Household” level (not “Individual”) are eligible for discounted camp fees. You must complete the membership process before you begin the camp registration process. There is no opportunity to become a member or renew your membership during the online camp registration process.

Download the Membership Form [PDF] to join or renew your membership. Print, complete, and either mail to the NCBG or hand-deliver to the Education Center. If you have questions about your membership status, please contact Allison Essen by email or call 919-962-0642.


For questions about registration, please contact the Registrar via email or call 919-843-8524.

For questions about the camp program or medical issues, contact Elisha Taylor, Camp Director, by email or call 919-537-3770.


The Garden offers limited need-based scholarships to those who could not otherwise participate in camp. To apply, please complete and submit the 2016 Camp Scholarship Application. Applications must be received by March 4. Scholarship recipients will be notified by March 11. Please contact Elisha Taylor, Camp Director, by email or call 919-537-3770 with questions.

Donate to the CAMP SCHOLARSHIP FUND! Please help give all children the opportunity to experience summer camp and the wonders of nature! Donate online now!

Teen Counselors-in-Training (CIT)

The North Carolina Botanical Garden welcomes teen volunteers to serve as assistants to camp counselors. CITs help with set-up and clean-up; preparing crafts and projects; and engaging children during nature hikes, games, crafts, and activities. Applicants must be rising 9 - 12 graders (or 15 years of age) and be able to assist with at least 2 weeks of camp. CITs participate in a mandatory orientation/training in early June. Being a CIT is a great opportunity to fulfill high school service-learning hour requirements and gain experience in environmental education!

To apply, please submit the 2016 CIT Application by April 1. High school students, not parents, should complete the application and make any inquiries personally to the Camp Director! Camp Director will review applications and interview finalists in April/May. Please contact Elisha Taylor by email or call 919-537-3770 with questions.

Photo of Nature Explorers

Updated on April 12, 2016 at 02:24:43 pm.