Get ready for a week filled with fun and adventure in the great outdoors! The North Carolina Arboretum’s Discovery Camp programs are based on the philosophy that young people benefit from experiences in the outdoors. It is the mission of the Arboretum’s dedicated and experienced Discovery Camp educators to cultivate a sense of adventure and wonder in the outdoors, foster an enthusiasm for exploration in the natural world and promote environmental awareness, stewardship and conservation. We’re proud to have been rated one of the top Nature Camps by Mountain Xpress’ “Best of WNC” awards for six years running!

Spring Break Camp, April 6 – 10

Open April 6 – 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m, campers will learn all about the new and exciting things that happen in spring as they meet classroom animals, hike to explore habitats, and make unique crafts to take home.

Register Here

This year, the Arboretum will utilize a deposit payment method for registration. A $25 non-refundable registration fee will be required to signup your child(ren) per camp plus a 50% down payment. Final balances, which will include member discounts, will be due by May 15.

Summer Discovery Camp 2020

  • Curious Critters, PreK

    Camp times: 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

    Our forests, ponds, and fields are home to many amazing animals. Come along to discover these critters as we enjoy short hikes, meet live animals, make crafts and listen to stories. Bring your curiosity along with you; there are lots of animals to encounter at the Arboretum!   

    Total Price: $115 

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $70

    This program is designed to be a quality experience for children ages 3-5. Participants must be potty-trained.

     

    Natural Wonders, K/1 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm

    Explore the world of creative play in the great outdoors! Throughout the week we will make whimsical crafts from found objects, play imaginative games, and design and build fairy houses or gnome huts from natural items. To end the week, we’ll head to the creek for water play and exploration!

    Total Price: $235

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $130

     

    Secret Forest Adventure, 2/3  

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm

    Discover the unique habitats of various forest and garden locations across the Arboretum! With journals and magnifying glasses in hand, this group will explore the Arboretum’s woodlands, streams, gardens and beyond to uncover the plants and animals that make each location unique. Green thumbs, artists, and hikers alike are invited to join the botanical bonanza. Be prepared to touch, smell, or taste plants daily and to leave your very own mark on our garden habitat!

    Total Price: $235

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $130

  • Little Mountaineers, K/1 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm

    Embark on an outdoor adventure every day as a little mountaineer. Meet a new friend as we learn how to get ready for a hike, discover how to read trail maps, and explore the trails and woodlands of the Arboretum on age-appropriate excursions. Don’t miss out on this week of fun in the great outdoors!

    Total Price: $235

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $130

     

    Advanced Nature Rangers, 2/3 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm

    Join our Nature Ranger team! Learn all about the animals that live in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, how to spot them and where they live. Observe salamanders, insects and fish as you explore Bent Creek. Scout for tracks and other wildlife signs as you explore the homes of lizards, birds and mammals. Special wildlife mysteries will put you to the test as you examine evidence left behind by creatures of the forest. You never know what animals we may encounter!

    Total Price: $235

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $130

     

    Outdoor Explorations, 4/5 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm and one overnight

    Come along with us to discover the natural wonders of Western North Carolina! Explore the Davidson River and visit the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education to learn about aquatic wildlife habitats. Spend a day exploring the unique plants and animals that live in high elevations. Take in a day at Great Smoky Mountains National Park helping biologists study wildlife populations. All these great explorations, plus an overnight camping trip at Lake Powhatan on Thursday evening, add up to an amazing week of discovery and adventure!

    Total Price: $310

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $167.50

  • Nature Rangers, K/1

    Camp times: 9 am to 4 pm

    Come with us as we learn how to protect and cherish some of the most amazing things on earth. As a little Nature Ranger you will play outdoor games, go on hikes, make nature themed crafts, and even meet a grown up Park Ranger. If you love exploring for animals in woodlands, meadows and streams- this camp is for you!

    Total Price: $235

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $130

     

    Aquatic Adventures 1, 2/3 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm

    Discover the diversity of aquatic life in our natural environment. Use microscopes to observe the smallest critters in the water, fish for splashing trout, and enjoy a trip to Lake Powhatan. Explore aquatic wonders on creek walks, pond investigations and a special salamander safari. Learn to use kick nets and dip nets to capture and observe a variety of life; and most importantly, learn how to protect our amazing aquatic habitats.

    Total Price: $235

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $130

     

    Eco Trek, 6th-8th 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm and one overnight

    Become a field ecologist for week as we explore the impact and interconnections of the five elements of nature – Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space around you. We’ll learn how these elements shape the land around us, and how humans impact these natural forces. This camp offers a unique experience combining ecological study and adventure with day trips to Linville Caverns, Holmes State Educational Forest, Mount Mitchell, and enjoy swimming and camp out at Lake James on Thursday!

    Total Price: $310

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $167.50

  • Habitat Trekkers, PreK 

    Camp times: 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

    Join us as we explore the many different types of animal homes we have at the Arboretum. Look for lizards in the garden, hunt for butterflies and birds in a field, and even examine insects found in the creek! Come prepared each day for a short hike as we investigate who lives where at the Arboretum.

    Total Price: $115

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $70

    This program is designed to be a quality experience for children ages 3-5. Participants must be potty-trained. 

     

    Fur, Feathers, and Scales, K/1 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm

    Wildlife abounds at the Arboretum! Join us for a wild encounter as we explore streams, woodlands, and gardens in search of lizards, chipmunks and songbirds. Wildlife crafts, games and stories, along with live animal demonstrations, guarantee a wild week for all!

    Total Price: $235

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $130

     

    Walk on the Wild Side, 4/5 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm and one overnight

    Learn outdoor skills, nature crafts and wilderness games. We’ll be spending lots of time outside as we learn wild plants and track animals through the woods! We’ll even make natural face paint, practice natural camouflage as we play hide and seek, build survival shelters, set up tents to sleep in overnight and cook our dinner outdoors. 

    Total Price: $310 

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $167.50

  • Wet and Wild, K/1 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm

    Creeks and ponds and puddles, oh my! Come along as we visit the many aquatic habitats found in our forests and along our trails. We’ll use nets and magnifying lenses in search of fish, salamanders, dragonflies and other animals. There’s no telling what sort of water critters we’ll encounter! Water games and crafts will serve as a great way to cool off this summer!

    Total Price: $235

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $130

     

    Junior Mountaineers, 2/3 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm

    This camp offers all sorts of outdoor skills, games and activities like making shelters out of found materials and learning how to use a map while on a hike. Create nature themed crafts, splash in a creek, and play outdoor games. Gain essential survival skills while learning how to read a map, setting up a tent, and planning a day hike. Get ready for a week of outdoor fun!

    Total Price: $235 

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $130

     

    Girls in Science, 4/5 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm

    In this camp we’ll break away from the idea of lab coats and beakers to get outside for hands-on exploration. The group will take field trips to local research centers and get to participate in field studies in and around the Arboretum. Girls will have a chance to investigate some of the many sciences of western North Carolina and meet female professionals in these different areas.

    Total Price: $270

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $147.50

  • Gone Buggy, PreK

    Camp times: 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

    Come see through the eyes of an insect as we learn how they live, what they eat and how special they are. Go on hikes to discover the smallest and largest bugs you can find. Fun-filled stories will help children explore how bugs get along with the rest of the world.

    Total Price: $115

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $70

    This program is designed to be a quality experience for children ages 3-5. Participants must be potty-trained.

     

    Active Adventurers, 2/3 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm

    Get “unplugged” and have fun outside this summer with a different outdoor, active adventure every day! Spend your days hiking the Arboretum trails, exploring the creeks, and playing outdoor games. Make friends, have fun, and challenge yourself as we explore the trails and woodlands of the Arboretum. We’ll even hunt for treasures using a GPS device. Don’t miss out on this week of fun and adventure in the great outdoors!

    Total Price: $235

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $130

     

    Advanced Mountain Sports, 6th-8th 

    Camp times: 9 am-4 pm and one overnight

    Get out and get active for this fun-filled week of outdoor adventure! Climb one of North Carolina’s most iconic mountains, Max Patch, where we’ll picnic, catch spectacular 360 views, and look for elusive Geocaches. Spend a day doing high-flying activities at Asheville Treetops Adventure, navigating obstacles over 20 feet in the air, crossing swinging bridges, and climbing log ladders among many other exciting challenges. To close the week, bring your swim gear as we tube where the West and North Forks of the French Broad River merge. Afterwards, we’ll pitch our tents, gather around a campfire to share stories from the week, and enjoy the star light that only Pisgah’s peaceful forest could offer. 

    Total Price: $360

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $192.50

  • Nature’s Studio, 2/3 

    Camp times: 9 am-4 pm

    Beautiful mountain views and crystal streams will provide amazing inspiration as you paint, sketch and mold your own creations. Explore the picture perfect details of the world around you while in search of insects, salamanders, birds and more. Get in touch with your inner artist as you create art with materials you find in nature. Make an original masterpiece every day!

    Total Price: $235

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $130

     

    Wilderness Explorers, 4/5 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm and one overnight

    Sign up for Wilderness Explorers to learn essential outdoor skills such as, Leave No Trace principles, backcountry navigation, and back country camping! Purify water, cook outdoors, make a shelter, and learn to read maps. You’ll experience heightened senses during awareness games that will help you master the art of observation. At the end of the week, your skills will be put to the test in an overnight camping trip in the beautiful forest at the Arboretum.

    Total Price: $270

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $147.50

  • Eco Artists, K/1 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm

    Join us as we explore the natural beauty of the great outdoors and become friends of the environment! We’ll learn more about the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and ways we can be more “green”! We’ll turn trash into treasure as we make crafts from recyclable materials. Celebrate Earth Day everyday as you make cool art, new friends and a difference while hiking, splashing in the creek and playing fun games!

    Total Price: $235

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $130

     

    Woodland Ways, 2/3 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm

    The rich environment of our forest and valleys provide a natural classroom for examining the heritage of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Games, music and local history are a fascinating and playful part of a guided discovery in this culturally diverse area. Learn to identify wildflowers as well as medicinal and edible plants used by settlers. Practice scouting skills, candle making, and other techniques used by settlers and natives to live off the land.

    Total Price: $235

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $130

     

    Mountain Sports Camp, 4/5

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm

    Get out and get active for this fun-filled week of outdoor adventure! Head to Dupont State Forest for fishing and swimming and spend the day tubing down the French Broad River. Learn a bit about bike safety and tune-up basics with staff from Motion Makers before we embark on a mountain bike trek along the Arboretum’s forested trails.*Participants are required to bring a bike and helmet in good working order and be able to confidently ride on gravel roads in order to participate in biking activities.  

    Total Price: $280

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $152.50

  • Forest Friends, PreK

    Camp times: 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

    Our forests are home to a world of whimsy and creative play! Each day we will learn a new story about a forest friend, make fun crafts from natural items, and explore the wonders of nature. We’ll end the week building our own fairy houses and gnome homes in the forest!

    Total Price: $115

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $70

    This program is designed to be a quality experience for children ages 3-5. Participants must be potty-trained.

     

    Aquatic Adventures 2, 2/3  

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm

    **This is the same camp as previously scheduled in the summer.**Discover the diversity of aquatic life in our natural environment. Use microscopes to observe the smallest critters in the water, fish for splashing trout, and enjoy a trip to Lake Powhatan. Explore aquatic wonders on creek walks, pond investigations and a special salamander safari. Learn to use kick nets and dip nets to capture and observe a variety of life; and most importantly, learn how to protect our amazing aquatic habitats.

    Total Price: $235

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $130

     

    Asheville Artist Adventure, 6th-8th 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm

    Learn why many artists call Western North Carolina home by visiting points of inspiration along the Blue Ridge Parkway and along the trails and streams at the Arboretum.  See how working artists create their art by visiting their studios and observing their processes.  Campers will then be provided the art supplies and studio time to create their own unique works of art as well as a group installation that will be shown to friends and parents at the end of the week.

    Total Price: $285

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $155

  • Arboretum Adventure, K/1 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm

    Join us as we explore all the amazing classic camp adventures waiting for you at the Arboretum. Bring your friends and meet new ones as we hike in search of critters, splash in creeks, harvest vegetables from the children’s garden, and play games outside. You’ll even make a special souvenir to remember the fun!

    Total Price: $235

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $130

     

    Nature Detectives, 2/3 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm

    Animals are everywhere at the Arboretum, but seldom seen. Learn how to spot the many critters that live in the mountains and learn to identify what they are. Games and hikes will help you understand how important these animals are to their habitats. We’ll look for tracks and other wildlife signs as we explore the homes of lizards, birds, and mammals that inhabit our ecosystem.

    Total Price: $235 

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $130

     

    A Natural Artist, 4/5 

    Camp times: 9 am – 4 pm

    Many artists have found inspiration in nature, and through journaling, sketching, and painting, you’ll have a chance to commune with a multitude of animals and plants in the national forest. Take a hike on a trail to sketch wildflowers and observe live animals to inspire the artist within you. Get in touch with your creative side as you paint and draw from nature, make art with materials you find in the woods, pattern a t-shirt, and even work with clay. Make an original masterpiece every day!

    Total Price: $255

    Deposit ($25 registration fee and 50% of camp): $140

Summer Camp Registration Opens January 21

Mark your calendars! Summer Discovery Camp registration will open on Tuesday, January 21, at 9 a.m. Click the button below a calendar view of this year's camp schedule.

For more information about the Discovery Camp program, contact Michelle Pearce, School and Public Programs Coordinator, at 828-665-2492 ext. 624.