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.

“WOW! – a World of Wonder”  Ages 4 – 6     10:00 am – noon daily     Cost $55 per child

The natural world is an amazing place!  Come and have fun as we play nature games, hike through the woods, search for critters, and explore the pond and stream.  Who knows what interesting things we may discover!


“Amazing Animals”  Ages 7 – 10  10:00 am – 2:00 pm daily    Cost $85 per child

How do birds fly?  What is a mammal?  Can a turtle come out of its shell?  Are spiders insects?  Come and find out as we study different animal groups through hands-on activities and field observations.


 “NatureWorks”  Ages 8 – 11   10:00 am – 2:00 pm daily   Cost $85 per child

What lives in the different forest layers?  What do predators do?  What type of tree is that?  What can you find in a pond?  Come and have fun learning about the workings of “mother nature” through interactive play and nature activities.


 “Junior Ecologists”  Ages 11 – 14   10:00 am – 4:00 pm daily   Cost $120 per child

Discover what field biologists do as we conduct real science both at the Biological Station and at off-site locations in the Nantahala National Forest.  Have fun measuring the forest, mapping stream salamander communities, studying pond and river life, collecting insects, performing bird counts, and inventorying small mammal species.


“Mountain Explorers”  Ages 10 – 13     10:00 am – 4:00 pm daily     Cost $120 per child

Travel “off the beaten path” as we go hiking to a variety of mountain habitats off-site within the Nantahala National Forest.  Along the way, the group will observe nature and keep field journals of interesting discoveries, learn to read maps and use a compass, and develop teamwork through fun and adventurous trail activities.  Please note that participants should be in good physical condition for long, all-day hikes.


2015 Session Dates:

Dates                     Camp Session

June 2-5 …………. WOW! – a World of Wonder

June 9-12 ……….. NatureWorks

June 16-19 ……… Junior Ecologists

June 23-26 ……… Amazing Animals


July 7-10 ………… WOW! – a World of Wonder **session is full**

July 14-17 ………. NatureWorks

July 21-24 ………. Mountain Explorers **session is full**

July 28-31 ………. Amazing Animals


August 4-7 ………… WOW! – a World of Wonder


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