Summer Camp

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

Botanical Garden camps allow youth to explore the natural world through the lens of their favorite activities. Using the gardens as unique classrooms, youth are inspired to create and explore with hands-on activities.  Guest speakers from a wide range of expertise will participate.  All camps run 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and are designed for first- through fifth-graders, unless otherwise noted.

Registration opens Dec. 15, 2019!

Prices

Full Week Camps:

Members $210, Nonmembers $250

Three Day Camps:

Members $125, Members with extended care $155

Nonmembers $150, Nonmembers with extended care $180

Extended care:
$30/youth which includes both AM and PM care for all three days of camp.
Available from 8:00-9:00 a.m. and 3:00-4:30 p.m.

2020 Summer Camps

June 17-19: Habitat Detectives (3 day)

Youth will explore the vast array of plants and animals that have adapted to live in Earth’s many ecosystems from deserts to tropical rain forests.

June 22-26: Budding Chefs

Youth will not only have the chance to taste dishes they prepare, but also learn how correctly measure ingredients and follow a recipe. Little chefs will learn to connect the ingredients they use to where they come from during this exciting week of camp that celebrates the tastier side of plants! Note: another identical week of this camp is being offered Aug. 3-7.

June 29-July 1: Garden Guests (3 day)

From tiny insects to flying birds to large mammals, this camp will investigate the many different animals that burrow under, live in and visit gardens.

July 6-10: Garden Artists

The Botanical Garden’s plant collection and unique garden spaces serve as the perfect inspiration for young artists! Youth will learn many fun ways to make art from nature including sun prints, painting, sculpture and flower arranging.

July 13-17: Magic in the Garden

Youth will explore the magic of the garden using basic chemistry skills. Experiments with solids, liquids and gases to create potions and elixirs will make them feel like a real wizard. If you forget your magic wand, don’t worry…we will make one during this exciting week of camp.

July 20-24: Junior Botanists

Youth take a closer look at what makes plants so unique, including performing a flower and seed dissection. From planting to science experiments to exploring ecosystems, this week will open up a whole new side of the garden.

July 27-31: Plants Unleashed!

This camp will focus on investigating the most unusual, rare and exotic plant species while discovering why they have adapted to be so unique. From plants that eat insects to plants that smell like rotting flesh, we will explore all the mysterious plants that you just have to see to believe.

Aug. 3-7: Budding Chefs

Youth will not only have the chance to taste dishes they prepare, but also learn how correctly measure ingredients and follow a recipe. Little chefs will learn to connect the ingredients they use to where they come from during this exciting week of camp that celebrates the tastier side of plants! Note: another identical week of this camp is being offered June 22-26.

NEW! Aug. 10-12: Plant Avengers (3 day, grades 5-8)

Plant avengers assemble! Join this group of Earth’s mightiest heroes as we discover the crucial role that plants play in the planet’s survival and how they have adapted to do this.

Enroll your child based on what grade they will enter in fall of 2020; prices are listed per child per camp. Price includes a camp T-shirt, daily snack, supplies for all activities and multiple projects to take home and enjoy. Youth should bring a sack lunch to enjoy.

Registration closes 10 days prior to the start date.

Camper Information Form

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!!”