Nature Center Summer Camps

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.


“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 will be posted in spring 2015


** 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).

Reservations and advanced registration are required due to limited space.  Camps fill quickly, so BEFORE SENDING FORMS, please call 828-526-2623 to first reserve a spot in the session your child would like to attend.

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.



printable camp schedule (available in Feb. 2015)

camp registration form (available in Feb. 2015)

what to bring