The Houston Botanic Garden is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The ZimSculpt exhibit -- on display through June 2 -- is included in general admission.
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BotaniCamp Returns for 2024

Don't Settle for the Same Old, Same Old This Summer

Since the inaugural summer of 2021, BotaniCamp — Houston Botanic Garden’s plant-centric nature camp — has evolved, yet the focus remains on connecting children with their natural surroundings. 

“We always want the kids to have as much outdoor exposure as possible,” said Erin Mills, the Garden’s education manager. “We want them to be inspired, we want them to play, and we want them to have fun.”

With summer just around the corner, Mills is preparing to welcome the latest energetic group of kids, ranging in age from 5 to 12. She is making the final plans for an inquiry-driven curriculum and creative hands-on activities that grow the campers’ interest in the local flora and fauna.  

“Conservation really starts in your backyard,” explained Mills. “Getting to know the plants, creatures, and other wonderful things that are in your own community is what gets people hooked on nature and makes them care about what’s around them.”

This year’s campers will have six week-long sessions to choose from, designed around the following themes: farming and crops, discovering the healing power of plants, exploring the utility of flowers, diving into an aquatic experience, investigating the importance of insects, and learning what it takes for plants and animals to survive in diverse ecosystems. 

Lots of Outdoor Options

“Obviously, we really care about nature and the environment here, and you can’t just teach that in a classroom,” said Mills. “The best way is to get the kids outside and have them experience it.”

To combat Houston’s notoriously hot summers, BotaniCamp primarily takes place early in the day, running from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mills and her team also rely on the Garden’s shaded green spaces, and mix in indoor crafts and activities to keep the fun going without sacrificing the uniqueness of BotaniCamp. 

“It’s definitely different from a lot of other camps that can be mostly based indoors,” she said. “While they might include screen time to keep the kids entertained, we don’t do anything like that. We are outside as long as we can possibly stand it at BotaniCamp. 

In fact, it’s sometimes hard to convince the young campers to take a break from the heat.

“For one of the activities, we give them little butterfly nets and have them actively try to collect bugs, and sometimes that’s all they want to do,” said Mills. “They want to do it all day and don’t care how hot it is.”

Of course, the BotaniCamp team stays mindful of any extreme temperatures to make sure all campers stay hydrated and safe, despite their new found excitement to explore.

Summer BotaniCamp Starts Soon After School Ends

With the first session of BotaniCamp set to begin June 17, and a limited number of spots available, parents looking to avoid summer boredom are encouraged to sign up soon. In addition to touting the mental and physical benefits of getting kids outside, Mills, a mother of three, recognizes the challenge of keeping kids engaged. This year, she plans to divide the campers by age and offer unique activities for each group to create a more tailored experience. 

“We want to have something that engages kids of all learning styles, attention spans, and energy levels, so we work hard to design a fun and unique camp,” she said. “Fortunately, we always get positive feedback from the campers, and the parents tell us that their kids can’t wait to come back and do it again.” 

Learn more about the 2024 summer sessions and register now. The cost is $290 per week, per child, for non-members. After-camp care is available until 5 p.m. for an additional weekly fee. Houston Botanic Garden members can save $40 off the non-member pricing. 

Our Mission

Enriching life through discovery, education, and the conservation of plants and the natural environment.

Hours

DAILY
9:00 am — 5:00 pm

Garden Entrance
One Botanic Lane
Houston, TX 77017
Mailing Address

8205 N. Bayou Drive
Houston, TX 77017

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