Hours of Operation:

Highlands Nature Center is open for summer hours: Monday – Saturday, 10 AM – 5 PM. Stay tuned to our Upcoming Events page for educational program opportunities!

Calling all nature lovers! Plan your visit to the Highlands Nature Center to meet live animals, explore our natural history exhibits, and stroll through the adjacent Highlands Botanical Garden. There’s something for all ages and interests.


2024 Nature Camps:

See our Nature Camp lineup for children ages 5 to 13 years HERE.


930 Horse Cove Road
Highlands, NC 28741




Free! Your admission is supported by the Highlands Biological Foundation,  the State of North Carolina, & Western Carolina University.  Donations are accepted.


Learn about our summer camp offerings HERE.

See upcoming events HERE.

Check back later for more program info!


Please note, only service animals may accompany individuals into the Nature Center. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times while on campus (in the Botanical Garden, etc.).



Highlands Nature Center was founded as the museum of the Highlands Biological Station in 1927, and was originally housed as an annex to the Hudson Library. Its present home, the Clark Foreman Museum building, was constructed between 1939 and 1941 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) using native granite from the local quarry and wormy chestnut salvaged from the Nantahala National Forest. Following a renovation in 2001, the Nature Center now offers exhibits and year-round educational programming focusing on the biodiversity of the southern Appalachian region.


Explore our featured exhibits, special events and year-round school education programming that focuses on the spectacular biodiversity of the southern Appalachian region. If you have questions about hours, events, or other topics, please contact the Nature Center at 828.526.2623.

If you would like to schedule a school or group program, please contact Outreach at 828.526.4123.

Summer Camps

We also offer summer nature camps for ages 4 to 12. Younger campers explore the outdoors and learn about plants and animals through a variety of activities and games. Older campers conduct scientific research, develop team-building skills, and observe nature on adventure field trips into the Nantahala National Forest.

K-12 School Outreach

Highlands Nature Center provides more than 50 different day programs for public, private, or homeschool groups in grades K-12.  Classes are designed to meet the curriculum requirements of the North Carolina science Essential Standards for each grade level, and supplement existing lessons by bringing additional resources to the classroom.