A Day in the Life of a Summer Camper

The Botanical Garden offers an array of summer camps, such as Budding Chefs and Artists in the Garden. In every program, summer campers are invited to use the Garden as their classroom as they learn about the world of plants. Read below to follow a summer camper through a day in the life.

Check In

When summer campers arrive at the Garden, their day is filled with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education through art, play, and outdoor time tailored toward first- through fifth-graders. To begin the day, campers grab a nametag and camp T-shirt, then warm up with a coloring activity.

Garden Tour

The instructor takes campers on a tour through the conservatory, pointing out notable plants. Children especially love learning about the 12 types of bananas growing.

Art Activity

Campers gather natural materials and go outside to make sunprints, a printmaking technique using sunlight as the developing agent. Then they paint their favorite garden scene with watercolors. The leopard frogs in the water garden are always a popular subject.


Campers eat their sack lunches together in the outdoor picnic area. Afterward, some play tag while others read books or color.

Planting Time

Campers learn how to make and take care of a terrarium, then plant and decorate their very own to take home.

Outside Educator

A staff member from the Des Moines Public Library brings electronic tablets that campers use to make their own movies. One movie is about a carrot seed that gets planted in a garden, slowly grows into a large plant, and then gets picked and eaten by a giant rabbit.

Pollination Education

Children dissect a flower to learn the different parts of pollination, then look at the parts under a microscope. They then head outside to hand-pollinate flowers and track some bees and butterflies as they travel from bloom to bloom.

Free Time

The group talks about all the fun things they did today, and everyone fills out a reflection card to take home to show their parents.

Interested in Botanical Garden summer camp? View programs and register here