Summer Nature Camp

Click Here to Register!

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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"

Camp Overview

Get outside and get your hands dirty this summer exploring the plants, animals, and habitats of the North Carolina Botanical Garden! Our unique camps are designed to:

  • connect children to nature,
  • foster respect and appreciation for the environment,
  • cultivate science-learning,
  • promote conservation ethics, and
  • inspire a sense of wonder through direct experiences with the natural world.

Weeklong sessions include nature hikes, animal and plant encounters, games, puppet shows, stories, and arts and crafts. Camps are based in our green Education Center classrooms, but the gardens and nature trails will be our place for hands-on exploration, discovery, and play.

We’ve planned 7 camp sessions for young naturalists that feature small group sizes (camper-to-staff ratio of 4:1) and loads of fun. All sessions are taught by experienced environmental educators and supported by trained teen volunteer Counselors-in-Training (CIT). Camp educators are certified in CPR/First Aid. Register early as space is limited!

Camp Descriptions

ages 4-5
June 15-19, 9am-12pm (waitlist)
June 22-26, 9am-12pm (waitlist)
Aug 10-14, 9am-12pm (waitlist)

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 take to the gardens and trails to watch for frogs, listen for birdsong, smell the flowers, touch slimy worms, and taste from the vegetable garden. A new theme will be introduced each day through nature walks, crafts, stories, puppet shows, and group play. Snack included. Each session has 10 campers, 2 educators, and one teen volunteer. Fee: $135 ($120 NCBG members)

ages 6-7
July 6-10; 9am-3pm (waitlist)
July 13-17; 9am-3pm (waitlist)

Learn about native bats, birds, bugs, and even seeds that fly as we search the gardens, forest, and ponds for nature's winged wonders. Campers will investigate the lives and habitats of our high-flying neighbors and enjoy hikes, games, stories, and crafts. Each session has 16 campers, 2 educators, and at least 2 teen volunteers. Fee: $270 ($240 NCBG members)

ages 8-10
July 27-31; 9am-3pm (waitlist)

Did you know that 1 out of every 3 bites of food we eat depends on bees? Or that dragonflies begin their lives underwater? That a daddy-long-legs isn’t really a spider? Discover the weird and wonderful world of beetles, grasshoppers, butterflies, and slugs, and the important role “bugs” play in nature. Campers will hone their naturalist skills while sweep netting in the meadow, dipping for aquatic insects at the pond and stream, identifying pollinators, making bug traps, and more. Guest naturalists and field trips will enrich our nature study and fun! Each session has 16 campers, 2 educators, and at least 2 teen volunteers. Fee: $270 ($240 NCBG members)

ages 7-12
Aug 3-7; 9am-12pm (waitlist)

Learn how nature illustrators sketch and color the wildflowers, butterflies, and turtles of our North Carolina piedmont forest while exploring the woodland paths of the Garden with illustrator and naturalist Bob Palmatier. Campers will create their own works of art in graphite and watercolor, 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, 1 educator, and one teen volunteer. Fee: $170 ($150 NCBG members), includes take-home art kit.


Click Here to Register!

Online registration begins Monday, February 9 at 12 noon. Registration is exclusively online.


1. Choose your camp: Use the camp descriptions to choose the camp 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 9 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.
  • You will receive an email confirmation after completing the online registration process.

3. Submit Required Forms: To finalize your registration, please complete and return the Release Forms that are included in your registration confirmation email immediately. The North Carolina Botanical Garden reserves the right to cancel your registration if these forms are not submitted by the due date, May 1, 2015. Your child cannot attend camp unless we receive these forms.You may also download the forms here: Click to open Camp Release Forms 2015.

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 Release Forms!

  • Scan and email to:
  • Fax to 919-962-3531
  • Hand-deliver to 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


The NCBG depends on its members. Membership dues help the Garden 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.


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.


  • 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 “Sensing Nature” for ages 4-5 and “Things with Wings” 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 processing fee. Membership status is subject to verification.


The NCBG 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 remove your child from a camp session before it begins, membership fees are non-refundable and the following refund policy applies:

REFUND POLICY BEFORE MAY 1: Your camp fee is fully refundable minus a 20% processing fee per camp.

REFUND POLICY AFTER MAY 1: Cancellations received after this date will not be eligible for a refund.

If you alert us as soon as possible of a child’s illness or family emergency immediately before your camp start date, we will do our best to provide a full refund, minus the 20% processing fee.

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


For questions about registration, contact Paula Cook, Registrar, by 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 for a scholarship, please complete and submit the 2015 Camp Scholarship Application. Applications must be received by March 6. Scholarship recipients will be notified by March 13. 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 during Nature Explorers Summer Camp. 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 complete and submit the 2015 CIT Application by April 15. High school students should complete the application and make any inquiries personally to the Camp Director, not parents! The Camp Director will review applications and interview finalists in April. Please contact Elisha Taylor by email or call 919-537-3770 with questions.

Photo of Nature Explorers

Updated on May 28, 2015 at 02:46:45 pm.

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