Winter and Spring Registration opens 1/4/2024 at 11am

Join us in the new year as we explore the wild and discover animals that live among our woods! With magnifying glasses in hand, we will be able to identify characteristics and habitats of even the smallest woodland creatures!

Due to popular demand, we will be opening two program options for each session (morning and afternoon option).

Each session is $100 for nonmembers and $90 for members.

Children ages two to five will delight in short nature walks, stories, crafts and possibly animal visits from the Arboretum’s classroom critters. The Arboretum’s environmental educators introduce a whole host of nature topics that invite children to explore the natural world as well as their own interests and abilities.

  • Each child must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Younger siblings under two years of age as well as adults attend free of charge. To ensure a quality program, older siblings (above age five) are not permitted to attend.  Up to two adults and one child under 2 may attend each session free of charge with their registered 2-5 year old.
  • All participants should be dressed for an outdoor program and ready to explore!


The Winter Session will occur from January 19 to February 16 on Fridays, totaling 5 sessions.

Spring Session 1 will occur from March 1 to March 29 on Fridays, totaling 5 sessions.

Session 2 will occur from April 12 to May 10 on Fridays, totaling 5 sessions.

Wee Nats programming will include a morning and afternoon class for all sessions!

For the morning program, the classroom opens for exploration at 9:30 a.m., the program begins promptly at 10:00 a.m. and concludes at 11:00 a.m.

For the afternoon program, the classroom opens for exploration at 12:00 p.m., the program begins promptly at 12:30 p.m. and concludes at 1:30 p.m.

Spring Year 2 (Session 1): Grab your binoculars and butterfly nets as we explore the exciting world of wings! We’ll look to the skies and learn about the many flying friends that call the Arboretum home.

Spring Session 1 9:30 – 11 AM 3/1- 3/29: SOLD OUT

Spring Session 1 12 – 1:30 PM  3/1- 3/29:

Register for Spring Session 1 12 – 1:30 PM 3/1 – 3/29

Spring Year 2 (Session 2): Come out and learn about the exciting world of water in Western North Carolina. From rarely seen aquatic macroinvertebrates to the wondrous water cycle, we will explore what life is like in the aquatic world!

Spring Session 2 9:30 – 11 AM 4/12 – 5/10: SOLD OUT

Spring Session 2 12 – 1:30 PM 4/12 – 5/10:

Register for Spring Session 2 12 – 1:30 PM 4/12 – 5/10

Our Wee Nats curriculum is based on a 2-year programmatic cycle. Your child can attend sequential programs for up to 2 years and receive lessons on exciting new nature related topics.  As such, session 1 and session 2 involve different material.

At The North Carolina Arboretum, we appreciate that each child’s journey of growth and learning is uniquely their own. Our Wee Naturalist Program is carefully designed to embrace the distinctive developmental stages of 2 to 5-year-olds, celebrating the curiosity of toddlers and the blossoming imagination of preschoolers. We are dedicated to providing a tailored experience that accommodates the diverse paths of development during these formative years.
While we strive to create activities and themes that resonate with all children on their developmental journeys, we recognize that some activities may be too easy or present a more challenging adventure. We encourage you to join us in cultivating a welcoming learning space for all by practicing patience and understanding.

If, during or after our programming, you have suggestions on how we can enhance the experience for you and your child, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Your insights are invaluable, and we are committed to continuous improvement. We eagerly anticipate the opportunity to embark on a journey of exploration, learning, and joy with you soon!

Wee Nats Cancellation Policy

If you cancel your purchase more than 30 days prior to the program start date, the whole amount paid is refunded. If you cancel your purchase(s) 30-11 days prior to the program start date, half the total fee is refundable. If cancellation occurs 10-0 days prior to the start date, none of the total fee is refundable, with the exception of a COVID-19 related reason (documented positive exposure or contact-traced positive exposure or quarantine order). In this case please contact the Director of Education, Jonathan Marchal, at

Additional details are listed on this webpage as well as in N.C. Arboretum Society membership communications. For additional information please email, or contact OAK Coordinator, Rich Preyer, at


Safety Guidelines for Gathering in Groups: 
The Arboretum’s COVID-19 safety precautions are in line with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services, the Buncombe County Department of Health, and the City of Asheville.
Here are some ways we encourage participants to take precautions:
  • Consider testing yourself and child at home before programming at the Arboretum, regardless of how you feel.
  • Proactively monitor yourself and child and have them stay home if you or anyone in your family are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 or any illness or if you have been notified of possible exposure.
  • Although mask wearing is currently not mandated indoors or outdoors, masks will be available to use according to your preference.

Please email with any questions.  You can also call Rich Preyer at (828) 412-8558 for questions about programming, or Katie Gorman at 828-567-3165 for help with registration.