Summer Camp

Summer Camp in Des Moines is taking a walk on the wild side!

Botanical Garden summer camps in Des Moines allow youth to explore the natural world through the lens of their favorite activities. Using the gardens as unique classrooms, our summer day camps inspire youth to create and explore with hands-on activities.
All camps run 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and are designed for first- through fifth-graders.
All camps are capped at 12 participants.

Camp Information and Policies

Prices

Five-Day Camps:

Members $230, Nonmembers $270

Members: be sure to sign in at the top of the registration page to apply your member discount!

Member Benefits

Members receive early registration access and a discount on camp fees.

JOIN OR RENEW

2021 Summer Camps

All camps run 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and are designed for first- through fifth-graders.
All camps are capped at 12 participants.

June 28-July 2: Garden Artists (FULL)

The Botanical Garden’s plant collection and unique garden spaces provide inspiration to young artists. Youth will learn to create art from nature in fun new ways, including sun prints, painting, sculpture and flower arranging. Note: An identical week of this camp is offered August 9-13. 

July 12-16: Plants Unleashed! (Only 3 spots left!)

This camp will investigate the most unusual, rare and exotic plant species and discover why they are so unique. From plants that eat insects to those that smell like rotting flesh, we will explore all the mysterious plants that you just have to see to believe.

REGISTER FOR PLANTS UNLEASHED

July 19-23: Magic in the Garden (FULL)

Explore the magic of the garden through science experiments and imagination. Youth will channel their inner wizard to create potions and elixirs, learn about the medicinal qualities of plants, and much more. If you forget your magic wand, don’t worry… we will make one during this exciting week of camp.

JOIN THE WAIT LIST

July 26-30: Habitat Detectives (FULL)

Youth will explore the vast array of plants and animals that inhabit Earth’s many ecosystems. From deserts to tropical rain forests to the prairies of Iowa, discover the biodiversity and the adaptations found within these habitats.

JOIN THE WAIT LIST

August 2-6: Junior Botanists (FULL)

In this camp, youth will become plant scientists. We will dive into a different element of plant anatomy each day, discovering what makes plants so unique. From flower and seed dissections, to planting, to germination experiments, this camp will transform your understanding of the plant kingdom!

JOIN THE WAIT LIST

August 2-6: Garden Guests

Gardens are home to more than just plants! From insects to birds to mammals and more, this camp will investigate the many critters that burrow under, live in and visit gardens.

REGISTER FOR GARDEN GUESTS

August 9-13: Garden Artists (FULL)

The Botanical Garden’s plant collection and unique garden spaces provide inspiration to young artists. Youth will learn to create art from nature in fun new ways, including sun prints, painting, sculpture and flower arranging. Note: An identical week of this camp is offered June 28-July 2. 

JOIN THE WAIT LIST

COVID-19 Policies and Procedures

Curious how we are adapting our camps during the COVID-19 pandemic? Click below to view our protocols. 

updated 7.6..21

COVID-19 POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Camp Logistics

  • All camps are designed for first-through fifth-graders. Enroll your child based on what grade they will enter in fall of 2021.

  • All camps are capped at 12 participants.

  • Prices are listed per child per camp and includes a camp souvenir, supplies for all activities and multiple projects to take home and enjoy.

  • Youth should bring a sack lunch to enjoy.

Camp Information and Policies

Multi-Age Classrooms
Advantages and benefits to cross-grade learning:

  • Encourages youth of all ages to learn together

  • Promotes cooperation and mentoring

  • Children learn at their own pace

  • Younger children look for guidance from the older students

  • Older students organically develop leadership skills

  • Allows older children to revisit and fully understand complex concepts while the younger students are being introduced to the idea

  • Educators have the capability to work with children individually or in a group with similar abilities and understanding regardless of age

Summer Camp Testimonials

Parents Tell us What They Love About our Summer Camp

“I loved how excited my son was about everything he was doing. I think it was a really special week for him. From my perspective the hours were really nice because we live in West Des Moines, so getting him down there took a little time. When I came for drop-off and pick-up I thought the environment seemed really positive and supportive. The staff always seemed excited and pleasant, so I felt good leaving him there.”

“We felt like the kids actually learned something valuable; mixing it up with the plant information, arts and crafts as well as outdoor fun. From what we saw come home and from what the kids told us each day it couldn’t have been more positive.”

“I like that they were busy all day…[my daughter] was proud of what she did and…you create an environment where the child is empowered to make things at home and that’s awesome.”

“My experience of some camps at other institutions is chaotic, exhausting for the campers. Every time I encountered the campers and staff the environment was calm.”

“That my kids loved it! They were excited to go each day, which means a lot!”

“The staff seemed knowledgeable and the size of the camp/counselor ratio was comforting.”

“I liked that the enrollment was small and there weren’t lots of kids in other camps simultaneously. He’s done a couple of other camps…and sometimes there are just too many kids there for us.”

“Excellent small group sizes, activities and topics for learning. Staff was also wonderful. These were the best camps we went to this summer. Well done!!”