The Nature Center offers a series of nature day camps each summer for ages 4 to 14.  Younger campers will have fun exploring the outdoors and learning about plants and animals through a variety of activities and games.  Older campers will conduct scientific research, develop team-building skills, and observe nature on adventure field trips into the Nantahala National Forest.

Each camp is generally offered twice each summer and lasts for 4 days. Registration information is at the bottom of this page.

“Animal Architects”  Ages 4 – 6     9:00 am – 11:00 am daily     Cost $60 per child

Animals can be amazing architects, capable of building complex shelters. Campers will examine natural structures, learn more about the animals that built them, and try their hand at building their own habitats out of natural materials.


“Naturally Wild”  Ages 4 – 6  9:00 am – 11:00 am daily    Cost $60 per child

Wiggly worms, slippery slugs, and mushy mushrooms are fun! Campers will conduct hands-on experiments, observe creepy crawlies, and explore nature from flowers to flies.


 “Happenin’ Herps!”  Ages 7 – 8   9:00 am – 1:00 pm daily   Cost $90 per child

Herpetology is the study of reptiles and amphibians. Campers will become junior herpetologists as they investigate these slimy and scaly creatures that are very important in our environment.


 “CSI: Critter Scene Investigation”  Ages 7 – 8   9:00 am – 1:00 pm daily   Cost $90 per child

Who’s been here? Campers will learn common tracking techniques used by scientists to find evidence of which animals have been moving around at Highlands Biological Station.


“Operation Nature”  Ages 9 – 10     9:00 am – 1:00 pm daily     Cost $90 per child

From the different parts of a forest to predator/prey relationships, nature is complex. Campers will learn more about how nature operates through hands-on investigations and interactive games.


“Hogwarts in Highlands”  Ages 9 – 10     9:00 am – 1:00 pm daily     Cost $90 per child

The magic of Hogwarts comes to Highlands Biological Station as campers try their hand at classes including Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures. Suitable even for Muggles, this camp will connect campers to the natural world with a literary twist!


“Eco-Trekkers: Original”  Ages 11 – 14     9:00 am – 3:00 pm daily     Cost $125 per child

Campers will travel off-campus to explore the wonder and beauty of the Blue Ridge through all-day hikes. Adventure awaits as we investigate natural habitats, reflect through journaling, and practice Leave No Trace ethics!


“Eco-Trekkers: Waterfall Adventures”  Ages 11 – 14     9:00 am – 3:00 pm daily     Cost $125 per child

In this edition of Eco-Trekkers we will focus our efforts on finding waterfalls in the area. Campers will have the chance to learn about habitats surrounding these unique water features while hunting for wildlife and wildflowers.


“Wildlife Warriors”  Ages 11 – 14     9:00 am – 3:00 pm daily     Cost $125 per child

Campers will learn about different conservation topics through hands-on activities. They will have the opportunity to design investigations of their own and work through the challenges of data collection. Campers will also learn the importance of leadership and teamwork in the conservation field while experiencing all the fun of camp!

2016 Session Dates:

Dates                     Camp Session

May 31- June 3 …………. Animal Architects

June 7-10 ……….. Happenin’ Herps!

June 14-17 ………. Wildlife Warriors

June 21-24 ……… Operation Nature


July 5-8 ………. Eco-Trekkers: Waterfall Adventures

July 12-15 ………. Eco-Trekkers: Original

July 19-22 ………. Naturally Wild

July 26-29 ………. Critter Scene Investigation


August 2-5 ………… Hogwarts in Highlands


Important Information

Members of the Highlands Biological Foundation at the Salamember and Bear Pen Mountain level receive a discount and early registration for Nature Camps. Registration for members begins in February, and opens to the public in March. To take advantage of these benefits, consider becoming a member today.

If the camp session is full, you may request to be placed on a waiting list, should there be any cancellations.

Please note that each camp lasts four days (Tuesday – Friday).

Due to high demand, Highlands Nature Center reserves the right to cancel any reservations for which payment has not been received within two weeks of the camp session starting date.


How to Apply

Space is limited so we encourage you to register early (see above about early registration benefits for members).

1. Call (828) 526-2623 to reserve a spot in the session your child would like to attend.

2. After confirming that your spot is reserved, download and complete the “camp registration form” in the Links section below. Please return your completed registration form with payment in the form of a check made payable to the Highlands Biological Foundation as soon as possible. Mail the form to 265 North Sixth Street, Highlands, NC 28741.

3. Read the gear list to make sure your child has everything they need to enjoy camp.

4. Let us know if you have any questions – see you this summer!



printable camp schedule

camp registration form

what to bring