VanDusen Nature Camps

VanDusen’s camps are immensely popular and sell out quickly. Our carefully crafted blend of science, exploration, games and crafts gives children the opportunity to learn and play throughout the beauty of VanDusen Botanical Garden, while fostering positive stewardship of the environment. Days are spent almost entirely outdoors with access to indoor and covered spaces available in extreme weather.

Our outdoor camps create a unique learning experience tailored for children ages 5-10. Please note that all campers must be at least 5 years old and  have completed or currently be attending kindergarten.

Spring Break Camps 2023

View Camp Themes here.

Registration Dates Open:

Member Priority Registration January 17, 2023* 12pm (noon) PST
General Registration January 19, 2023 12pm (noon) PST
  • *To be eligible for Member Priority Registration on January 17th, you must hold a current ‘Family’ or ‘Individual-Plus-Child’ membership before January 13th 2023 11:59pm PST (NO EXCEPTIONS). Your membership must also still be valid at the time of Spring Break Camps in March.
  • Learn more about membership types and purchase/renew here.

(Single-Day Registration) Program Dates:

March 13th-17th

March 20th-24th

Program Times:

8:40am-3:40pm Red Cohort  Ages 5 – 7
8:50am-3:50pm Blue Cohort  Ages 7 – 10
9:00am-4:00pm Yellow Cohort  Ages 5 – 7
Until 5:00pm After Care  Ages 5 – 10

*Camps will not be separated beyond the above categories. If you would like your child to be with friends/family, please ensure you coordinate registration for the same cohort with the other adults beforehand.

Program Fees:

Camp (Per Day) After Care (Per Day)
VBGA Members $65.70 $12.15
Non-Members $73.00 $13.50

 

  • +Registration Access
    • Eligible members will receive an email with Registration Instructions containing the access link and code, instructions, and member discount code on January 6th (if you hold an eligible membership type on or before that date).
    • If you purchase or renew an eligible membership type between January 7th and 13th you will receive an email with the access links on the morning of January 16th .
    • For General Registration on January 19th click HERE or members can click the registration link in their instructions email from January 17th – you will no longer need to enter the access code.
  • +Disclaimers & Reminders
    • Due to popular demand and limited capacity, having a membership does not guarantee that you will get spots at camp, or all of the spots you would like – we are expected to sell out in a matter of minutes.
    • A set number of spots will be released on Member Priority Registration Day (January 17th); if a camp appears sold out right away, it is typically because people have all of the spots in their carts and are on a time limit as they add/swap/drop – we encourage you to keep refreshing the page for up to 20 minutes in case there is any movement.
    • If you not get a spot or do not get all of the spots you want on January 17th, you are encouraged to try again on General Registration Day (January 19th) when more spots are released. You can use the link in the instructions email or on our website to access the registration platform again, but will not require the access code on the 19th.
    • Waitlists will not be available until after all spots on General Registration Day are sold out; waitlists will be available online through the same registration process (the button simply changes from “register” to “waitlist”) – please do not attempt to join the waitlist via email or phone call.
    • All members can still apply the member discount code for 10% off all camps purchases, (including After Care) on during either registration day – discounts are not limited to Member Priority Registration Day.
  • +How to Prepare
    • Preview themes & more information here to find the best fit for your family here.
    • Ensure your membership is the valid type and up-to-date (if applicable) before the deadlines listed above.
    • Create an account on our booking system, Amilia, or if you already have one, make sure all of your information is current here.
    • If you haven’t already you can sign up to receive our Education Newsletter here.
    • Please reach out to us for assistance and ask questions ahead of time – our capacity to assist via phone or email during high-volume registration periods is limited.

    Contact Membership: membership@vandusen.org or 604-257-8675
    Contact Camp Coordinator: nfriedmann@vandusen.org or 604-257-8443

Weekend Nature Club

Weekend Nature Club Fees:

VBGA Members $37.80 per day
Non-Members $42 per day

Weekend Nature Club programs take place from 10:00 am – 1:30 pm on Saturdays at VanDusen Botanical Garden. Attendees are required to be at least 5 years of age on the date of the program and have completed or currently be attending kindergarten.

  • +December 10: Sensational Snowflakes

    Date: Saturday, December 10th
    Time: 10:00am – 1:30pm

    Winter is on it’s way to VanDusen – whether snow has fallen or not, campers will explore the science behind crystals, ice, and snowflakes, create a winter-themed nature craft, and find out how the Garden’s plants and animals adapt and prepare for the cold months.

    Register now!

  • +April 8: Seed Sleuths

    Date: Saturday, April 8th
    Time: 10:00am – 1:30pm

    From the tallest trees to shallow shrubs, explore how it all starts – seeds! Campers will learn about the basic parts of a plant and the life cycle of a tiny seed that becomes a towering old-growth giant. Play games to mimic how seeds travel and think like a squirrel in a scavenger hunt around the Garden.

    Register now!

  • +May 13: Things With Wings

    Date: Saturday, May 13th
    Time: 10:00am – 1:30pm

    Join us just before Bird Week to celebrate birds, bats, and insects! Grab your binoculars and get ready to hone your observation skills. Discover some of the winged creatures that fly in, around, and above the Garden, including what they eat and where they sleep, before creating a craft that might just take flight.

    Register now!

  • +June 17: Busy Bees

    Date: Saturday, June 17th
    Time: 10:00am – 1:30pm

    This camp promises to be the bees’ knees! Campers will explore our honeybee hives, taste-test some sweet honey, and do a wiggle dance with the rest of our two-legged colony as you learn to communicate like a bee. Revisit pollination, popular pollinators, and take a bee-friendly craft back to your own hive.

    Register now!

Pro-D Camps

Pro-D Camp Fees:

VBGA Members $65.70 per day
Non-Members $73 per day

Pro-D Camps at VanDusen Botanical Garden take place entirely outdoors and require children attending to be at least 5 years of age on the date of the program and have completed or currently be attending kindergarten.

  • +November 25: Dirt Detectives SOLD OUT

    Date: Friday, November 25th
    Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm

    Discover the tiny world under our feet – decomposers, detritivores, and micro-organisms oh my! Campers will learn about the difference between dirt and soil, and how no two handfuls of earth are exactly the same.  End the day by indulging in a tasty “dirt” treat as you dig into how soil is made by earth’s processes.

    SOLD OUT

    Join the waitlist!

  • +January 16: Winter Wonders

    Date: Monday, January 16th
    Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm

    Join us at VanDusen Botanical Garden to experience a winter wonderland! Discover what it takes to be an evergreen, help fuel local birds with a hand-crafted feeder, and learn about which species hibernate, migrate, or tolerate the season. Enjoy a sweet taste test and experiment with the physics of maple syrup.

    Register now!

  • +February 17: Urban Wildlife

    Date: Friday, February 17th
    Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm

    In the middle of a sprawling urban city, VanDusen Botanical Garden’s 55-acres of green space provides home and shelter to many creatures! Spend a day at the Garden searching for urban wildlife and exploring footprints and bird calls. Learn about how we can support the animals we share our neighbourhoods with and understand how we all depend on one another.

    Register now!

  • +April 24: Flower Power

    Date: Monday, April 24th
    Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm

    With spring rains and colourful blooms, the Garden comes to life for this flower-themed camp. Explore seasonal changes at VanDusen, inspect parts of flowers up close, and get to know some common pollinators. Campers will create a spring craft and learn about how different plants flower through time or invite pollinators in for a visit.

    Register now!

  • +June 30th: Bogs to Beaches

    Date: Friday, June 30th
    Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm

    Dive into the wonderful world of wetlands and uncover what hides just under the surface of Cypress Pond. Recreate an aquatic environment to take home, learn more about the water cycle and where our water comes from, and explore the Garden in search of aquatic plants and animals in different water bodies and features!

    Register now!

Covid-19 Adaptations

Our adapted Camp Programs have been running safely since June 2020 with protocols and structures to ensure we follow guidelines and recommendations from the BCCDC, Vancouver Coastal Health, WorkSafeBC, and the BC Ministry of Health. Our camps are informed by an extensive COVID-19 Safety Plan that is updated seasonally.

  • +Adaptations
    • Masks are no longer mandatory in all indoor public spaces in alignment with updates to the public health orders issued by the Provincial government. You are welcome to keep wearing masks, depending on your level of comfort.
    • Masks are mandatory for all staff and volunteers working directly with youth.
    • All VBGA staff are double-vaccinated.
    • Camp planning ensures that games, crafts, and activities can all be done outdoors as Camps take place almost entirely outdoors as it is the safest place to be; this means campers will be asked to carry backpacks for up to 10 minutes at a time.
    • Increased emphasis on hand hygiene and physical distancing; reduction of shared materials.
    • Increased cleaning and sanitation in camp spaces and of camp materials in accordance with the VGBA’s COVID-19 Health, Safety and Sanitation Policy.
    • Campers will have access to outdoor porta-potties and handwashing stations to decrease use of shared indoor washrooms (still available but limited).
    • We are unable to provide 1-on-1 support for participants at this time due to the current program format – please contact us for more information.

    Please consider these changes when determining if our programs are the right fit for your child. 

Cancellation Policy

If you would like to cancel your registration, please provide a written request at least three weeks (21 days) in advance of the start of the program(s) to nfriedmann@vandusen.org. If we receive the request with the required notice and are able to fill the spot, we will provide a refund minus a $15 administrative fee. If we receive the request with the required notice and are unable to fill the spot, we will provide an equivalent credit to be used in future programs, valid for 365 days.

No refunds or credits (either complete or partial) will be issued for the following:

  • Requests made with less than three weeks’ (21 days’) notice.
  • Requests made over the phone, by voicemail, or in person.
  • Expulsion due to disruptive/unsafe behaviour or inappropriate fit for program, or similar.
  • Absence from a program due to illness or COVID-19 symptoms, family matters, injury, travel, or similar.
  • Individual COVID-19 regulations, as mandated by the Federal and Provincial governments

Program cancellation by the VBGA due to Public Health Restrictions will result in education program credit equivalent to the value lost.

Camp Bursaries

The Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association is pleased to provide bursaries for families in financial need.

  • +Applications

    The VBGA’s mission is to connect people with plants and we believe all children should have the opportunity to experience nature-based camps regardless of family circumstance or income.

    Apply for a bursary here or contact nfriedmann@vandusen.org or 604-257-8443 for more information.

Here's what parents have to say about our camps!

“Excellent protocols, best of  any camp of school we attended.”

“This summer it was wonderful for him to have time to socialize  and play with other kids – he has some good social distance games he can now share with friends.”

“This camp has ignited a spark – that it’s cool to be interested in nature, and all that’s in it.”

“My child gained an appreciation for plants, nature, and relationships humans have with nature.”

“The leaders were enthusiastic, professional and caring, and got to know my child really quickly.”


Contact Us

For camp-related inquiries, please contact Natasha Friedmann (Camp Coordinator) at nfriedmann@vandusen.org or call 604-257-8443.