Highlands Biological Station is open to visitors. Masks are still required in the Nature Center, but are no longer required on campus, including the Botanical Garden. Highlands Biological Station is offering academic and public programming this summer. For the safety of the HBS summer community, before being permitted to work or study at HBS prospective summer students, teaching faculty, and researchers must provide documentation of (1) having received a Covid-19 vaccine or (2) a negative Covid-19 test taken within 3 days of planned arrival.

Summer camp registration 2020

Important Information 

Over the past few months the situation around the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to evolve. The Highlands Biological Foundation has continued closely monitoring the situation across town, university, and state levels. We regret to inform you that we have cancelled the remaining summer camps for 2020.

This decision has been a difficult one. Our summer camps are the highlight of our season and many families’ summers in Highlands. However, the safety of our campers and our community comes first. We will be offering full refunds for your camp registration fees. If you are in a position to do so, please consider turning part or all of your registration fee into a donation. We would greatly appreciate the support as we care for our animals, maintain the Botanical Garden, and keep our basic operations moving forward.

If you have questions, please call the Nature Center at  828-526-2623

Camp registration opens for members on March 2.  It will open to the public on March 16.

Click on camp date to register for each session.

Members of the Highlands Biological Foundation at the Salamember and Bear Pen Mountain level (and above) receive a $10 discount per camp and early registration for Nature Camps.

If the camp you for which you want to register is full, please call 828-526-2623 or email paige@highlandsbiological.org to be placed on the wait-list. If any slots become available for the desired camp, you will be notified within 15 days of the start of camp.

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

Need-based scholarships are available thanks to a generous grant from Cullasaja Womens Outreach. To inquire about eligibility, please email charlotte@highlandsbiological.org or call 828.526.2221

Special Needs

Our primary goal is providing safety and a positive camp experience for all. Camp staff is unable to provide one-on-one supervision for a special needs situation, but we would be happy to assist the family in making those arrangements with a care facilitator of your choice. Parents/Guardians are asked to discuss this need with Paige prior to registration at (828) 526-2623.


In the case that camps are canceled due to measures to combat COVID-19, we will issue full refunds to the original payment method.  

Available Camps


Crafty Critters

Ages: 4 – 6 (pre-K to rising 1st)
Dates: June 30 – July 3 (Full -> Call for Waitlist)
Time: 9am-11am
Cost: $80 per child

Find out the secrets to survival! Discover through games and art how animals hide in plain sight, forage for food, and live in strange worlds in our marvelous mountains.

Tiny Homes: Nature Edition

Ages: 4 – 6 (pre-K to rising 1st)
Dates: July 21 – 24
Time: 9am-11am
Cost: $80 per child

Jump into where the wild things live! Explore the many kinds of homes in our forests, from the tops of trees to deep underground, and find out what animals live in each place.

Habitat Hikers

Ages: 7 – 9 (rising 2nd to rising 4th)
Dates: July 14 – 17 (Full – call for wait list)
Time: 9am-1pm
Cost: $150 per child

Spot the animals living all around us! Dig into the dirt, trek through streams, and look through your binoculars to uncover hidden habitats and the creatures that live there.

Appalachian Crafting

Ages: 10+ (rising 5th and up)
Dates: July 28 – 31
Time: 9am-2pm
Cost: $180 per child

Create art inspired by and made with nature! Practice weaving, try your hand at pottery, and mix up your own plant-based paper.

Please Note: An exhibition of campers’ works will take place Friday at 1:30 pm in the Nature Center with refreshments provided. All are invited to view the artwork and converse with the young artists.


Who's Hoo?

Ages: 4 – 6 (pre-K to rising 1st)
Dates:  July 14 – 17 (Full – call for wait list)
Time: 9am-11am
Cost: $80 per child

Get to know your nature neighbors! Go searching for salamanders in streams, come across caterpillars creeping through the Botanical Garden, and learn about animal life cycles.

Savvy Survivors

Ages: 7 – 9 (rising 2nd to rising 4th)
Dates: June 30 – July 3
Time: 9am-1pm
Cost: $150 per child

Discover what crafty creatures are all around us! Catch insects, salamanders, and more to study how they survive and learn all about their life cycles.

Animal Actors

Ages: 7 – 9 (rising 2nd to rising 4th)
Dates: July 21 – 24
Time: 9am-1pm
Cost: $150 per child

Step into an animal’s paws for the week! Create camouflaged creatures, study skulls, and get a bird’s eye view on life.



Eco Treckers: Wild Waters

Ages: 10+ (rising 5th and up)
Dates: July 7 – 10 (Camp Full -> Call for Waitlist)
Time: 9am-4pm
Cost: $220 per child

Explore the wonders of the Blue Ridge on all-day hikes! Adventure to waterfalls in the area, take a dip in a mountain lake, and follow our streams as they rush down to rivers.

Please Note: This camp includes an optional campout Thursday night on the Highlands Biological Station property. Campers will cook dinner and breakfast over a fire, play games, and learn basic outdoor skills. This camp also includes an optional kayaking trip down the Little Tennessee River all day Friday.


Highlands Nature Center Junior Counselors

Ages: 13+
Dates: June 30 – July 24
Time: Times Vary
Volunteer Opportunity

Experience Nature Camp from a new perspective! Earn volunteer hours assisting with 4-6 year old and 7-9 year old day camps, participate in the fun activities you loved as a child, and gain valuable experience in environmental education.

The Junior Counselor (JC) Program offers an exciting opportunity for teens to work with Highlands Nature Center’s Education Specialist and Assistant Naturalists to prepare and implement programming for camps. Responsibilities will include: gathering materials; monitoring camper safety and behavior; participating in games, hikes, and crafts; and being a positive role model.

JCs will be required to work at least 3 of the 4 days of each camp week with which they assist. JCs will also be required to attend a brief training session on the Monday preceding their first camp week to go over expectations, tour materials and teaching locations, and get to know the Nature Center staff with whom they will work. At the end of the training session, JCs will sign a Code of Conduct, agreeing to the responsibilities and expectations of the program.

At the conclusion of JCs’ volunteer session(s), they will receive a certificate noting the total hours served and a Highlands Nature Center t-shirt and water bottle.