Nature Explorers Summer Camp

Registration begins Thursday, February 1, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. and is exclusively online. Register early; space is limited!

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"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"


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

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

Kids discover the wonders of the native plants, animals, and habitats of North Carolina through hands-on outdoor exploration, games, stories, arts/crafts, and more. Camps take place on the grounds of our beautiful campus, featuring native plant gardens, nature trails, ponds and stream, and LEED-certified Education Center. All programs offer a balance of in-classroom learning and outdoor field experiences taught by experienced educators, certified in CPR/First Aid, and supported by teen volunteer Counselors-in-Training (CIT).



June 4-8, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
June 11-15, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
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 meet meat-eating plants, catch and release pond critters, learn about animal defenses, and discover how the sun powers all life in the garden. A new theme will be introduced each day through nature walks, crafts, stories, puppet shows, and group play. Healthy snack included. Each session has 10 campers. *You can only register for one week of this camp theme.
Fee: $145 ($130 Members)


July 9-13; 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
July 16-20; 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
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 and learn how everything is connected in our wonderful "backyard". Each session has 16 campers. *You can only register for one week of this camp theme.
Fee: $280 ($252 Members)


June 25-29; 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Did you know that 1 out of every 3 bites of food we eat depends on bees? That some butterflies are poisonous? Or that a daddy-long-legs isn't really a spider? Discover the weird and wonderful world of "bugs" and the important role they play in nature. Campers will learn fun facts and play buggy games, investigate different insect habitats using real collecting equipment, meet special guest entomologists, and get creative with an arthropod art project! Session has 16 campers.
Fee: $280 ($252 Members)


July 30 -August 3; 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Do you dream of being a scientist? Then this is the camp for you! Curious kids will participate in fun, hands-on citizen science projects, where they will collect real data that help scientists in their research, with a focus on uncovering the mysterious lives of nature's drones—dragonflies! Campers will learn how to make a hypothesis, conduct dragonfly research in the field, and present their findings, as well as explore aquatic ecosystems, animal migrations, and more. Each camper will receive their own toolkit, including an insect net and field guide, to continue their studies! Session has 12 campers.
Fee: $280 ($252 Members)

ART OF NATURE ages 8-12

August 6-10; 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Learn how nature illustrators sketch and color wildflowers, birds, frogs, and more with local artist, naturalist, and environmental educator Bob Palmatier. Campers will create their own works of art from observation of real plant and animal specimens using watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil. 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: $180 ($162 Members), includes take-home art kit


Fee: $50 per week; Time: 3:00-5:00 p.m.
After Care is open to all campers enrolled in full-day (9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.) camps: Habitat Explorers, The Secret Lives of Bugs, and Dragonfly Detectives. After care may include games, quite time for reading, and exploring in the children's garden. Please provide an afternoon snack. You can add After Care during the online registration process. The additional fee will be added to your checkout total.


Registration begins Thursday, February 1 at 12 p.m. 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, 2017 at 9:00 AM.
  • 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 Elisha Taylor via email or call 919-537-3770.

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. Your child cannot attend camp unless we receive these forms.

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 Education Center reception desk during regular business hours
  • Mail to: ATTN: Elisha Taylor, NC Botanical Garden, UNC-CH, CB 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.
  • 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 20, 2018, your camp fee is fully refundable minus a $50 administrative fee per camp.

If you cancel after April 20, 2018 but before May 14, 2018, you will receive a 50% refund of the camp fee.

If you cancel on or after May 14, 2018, 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 Elisha Taylor via email.


The Garden depends on its members. Membership dues directly support the Garden's conservation mission and programs.

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, camp program, or medical issues, please contact Elisha Taylor via email or call 919-537-3770.


The Garden offers limited need-based scholarships to those who could not otherwise participate in camp. 2018 Application coming soon!

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!


The North Carolina Botanical Garden welcomes teen volunteers to serve as assistants to camp educators. 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!

2018 Application coming soon! High school students (not parents!) should complete the application and make any inquiries personally to the Camp Director. We will review applications and interview finalists in April/May. Please contact Elisha Taylor by email or call 919-537-3770 with questions.

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Updated on February 02, 2017 at 08:19:55 am.