The North Carolina Arboretum provides children with the opportunity to enjoy a variety of unique experiences while they discover the wonders of nature in a safe, high-quality and enriching environment. Whether it’s hiking along Bent Creek or geocaching through the woods, the Arboretum offers an array of fun, educational and kid-friendly activities.

Discovery Backpacks

Discovery Backpacks are available for loan for free at the information desk at the Baker Exhibit Center. These packs offer are themed to aid in exploration and include Trees, Insects, Reptiles and Amphibians, and Birds. Each pack includes tools and data sheets designed for children to observe, record and report their sightings in nature to real scientists. NEW for 2016: Borrow an iPod touch along with your pack and become an EcoEXPLORER to earn patches and other prizes for making observations. The Baker Exhibit Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

TRACK Trail

Families can pick up a TRACK Trail guide at the kiosk behind the Baker Exhibit Center and write down their encounters as they walk along the Arboretum’s Natural Garden Tail. Children will explore the Arboretum through the eyes of Shelly, the Arboretum’s resident eastern box turtle, and learn how turtles find food, water and shelter to survive. Families can log their sightings online to earn free prizes.

Geocaching

Explore the Arboretum’s trails and find hidden treasures through geocaching. Visitors may pick up a geocaching packet at the information desk at the Baker Exhibit Center and kid-friendly geocaching GPS units are also available for loan for free at the information desk. Participants register and log their caches by creating a personal account on www.geocaching.com. The Arboretum is currently home to 12 total geocaches under special permit by the U.S. Forest Service. The Baker Exhibit Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

EcoLab

Visit the Arboretum’s EcoLab on the ground floor of the Education Center and observe live animals in realistic habitats. Test your powers of observation in the forest diorama and learn how to contribute your observations to real scientists. The EcoLab is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Youth & Family Programs

Looking for more activities and programs for your child? The Arboretum offers nature and science programs suited for all ages.