School Programs

School programs are conducted by the Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association (VBGA). Our programs support the BC Ministry of Education’s Science Curriculum and aim to enhance environmental stewardship and a love for the natural world.

Guided 90-minute programs

Bookings for guided programs are now available for the 2017-18 school year. Book early – spots fill up quickly. Create an online booking account. It’s free, easy and secure. If you need assistance, call 604-257-8423

Our programs support the BC provincial curriculum. Please note, a visit to VanDusen’s popular Elizabethan Maze is not incorporated into your 90 minute guided program. If you plan to go to the maze, please do so either before or after your program.

Fees: $8/student, one adult admitted free for every 4 students (including teachers) extra adults pay $10 (Fee INCLUDES entry to the Garden and any self-guided time you may wish to have before or after your guided trip.) A $60 deposit per program is due within 14 days of booking.

Group size and choosing a booking time: We can accept a maximum of 30 students per time-slot (i.e.: 30 students at 10 AM or 30 students at 12:30 PM) If you are bringing two classes on the same day for guided programs, you should book on a Wednesday or Thursday where there are both AM and PM bookings available. For single classes, please try to book a guided program on a Tuesday or Friday.

Download a printable PDF of our programs>>

  • +A Sense of Nature: K - Grade 2 (Oct - Nov & Mar - June)

    Rough, smooth, stinky, dark green, pointy… As they explore the garden, students describe and compare similarities and differences among plants using as many of their senses as possible. Through fun, hands–on activities, students identify key parts of plants, play a Maple Leaf Match–up, make earth art, and more!

    Students will:

    • Describe and compare plants using different resources, including their senses
    • Identify similarities and differences among plants.
    • Identify key parts of a plant (roots, stem, leaves, flowers and fruit)

    Download the curriculum connections>>

  • +NEW! Ecosystem Explorers, Grades 3-4 (Oct - Nov & Mar to June)

    Within the tranquil beauty of VanDusen exists a complex and intimately connected ecosystem.  By analyzing three native plant species, students will discover the intricate ways plants, big and small, interact with organisms in their environment. After discovering the vital role decomposers play in ecosystems, the group will display their understanding of energy and connections by constructing a collaborative food web.


    Students will:

    • Recognize how different components of an ecosystem are interconnected
    • Document observations and data on ecosystem interactions
    • Observe the biodiversity and complexity found within VanDusen Garden’s local environment

    Download the curriculum connections>>

  • +Fantastic Flowers: Grades 1 - 4 (April - June)

    As students enjoy the beauty and fragrance of flowers throughout VanDusen, they investigate the parts of a flower, their role in pollination, and how pollination fits in the life cycle of flowering plants. Students will search for pollinators in action, explore the interdependence between pollinators and plants, and their role in food production. A visit to the beehives is included.

    Students will:

    • Explore the garden searching for a variety of flowers and pollinators and observe
      them in action
    • Learn about the parts of a flower and how each part is involved in the pollination
    • Link pollination to the life cycle of flowering plants
    • Begin to understand the interdependence between pollinators and plants and how
      they are linked to the everyday needs of human beings

    Download the curriculum connections>>

  • +Pond Peering: Grades 1-4 (May & June)

    Hidden beneath the surface of VanDusen’s ponds, lakes and streams is a diverse world of beautiful and strange life. Students explore and learn about the pond environment, use nets to dip into a pond and identify the creatures they find.

    Students will:

    • Observe the various water bodies at VanDusen, looking for signs of plants and animals that live in the area
    • Observe the wildlife in action
    • Investigate the different pond regions (edges, bottom, water column, water surface) searching for living things
    • Collect aquatic invertebrates, observe and identify

    Download the curriculum connections>>

  • +Seed Secrets: K - Grade 4 (Oct - Nov)

    Seeds fly, float, hitchhike – and even travel though the stomachs of birds – all in order to spread to new places and grow. Students explore the Garden in search of seeds with parachutes, hooks or fleshy fruit surrounding them. Students will dissect seeds and make “seed babies” to take home.

    Download the curriculum connections>>

  • +Cancellation Policy

    For guided field trips, a minimum of 30 days notice prior to your field trip date is required if you wish to cancel your booking otherwise the full deposit of $60.00 will be retained. All cancellations are subject to a $10 administration fee.

Self-guided Field Trips

Many schools choose to plan and conduct their own day of activities. The Garden is a wonderful tool to reinforce your classroom teaching – be it science, math, social studies or art. Below you will find links to download complete self-guided programs with curriculum connections, and a variety of activity sheets enhance your visit.

Book online if you’d like to book a self guided group visit for children and youth ages 3-18. This will reserve a time slot for your arrival. Payment is due when you arrive.

For ADULT ( ages 19+) group visits please contact the VanDusen Information Desk at 604-257-8162.

Fees are due on arrival (cash, credit or debit): $5/child. One adult is admitted free for every 10 children. Additional adults pay $5. Fee INCLUDES entry to the Garden. If you are already paying for a guided program, you do not need to pay an additional self-guided fee.

Self-guided Programs and Resources

Browse through our selection of self-guided tours, worksheets and scavenger hunts.

All groups are required to read and sign our Code of Conduct

Subsidized Bus Funding

If you are coming from a school with inner city designation, you may be eligible for our Nature Express Bursary Funding which offers up to $300 towards a charter bus to bring you to and from VanDusen Botanical Garden. Call 604-257-8423 for more information.

Nature Express Bursary funds are sponsored in part by RBC Foundation, the McGrane-Pearson Endowment Fund and The Rotary Club of Vancouver Arbutus (through financial assistance by the Province of British Columbia.)