Guided Programs

Book early – our popular 90 minute guided programs fill quickly!

Throughout the school year, the VBGA offers 90 minute guided programs Tuesday through Friday.  With a variety of themes linked to the BC science curriculum, guided programs immerse students in the outdoors while supporting classroom learning.

Have you heard about social stories? With help from the Canucks Autism Network, we’ve developed visual schedules for our guided programs to help all students prepare for more engaged learning.

Browse through our programs below to find the right fit for your class.

  • +NEW! Tour of the Tropics at Bloedel Conservatory

    Grades: PreK – 4
    Available: Jan-Apr, Oct-Nov

    Under the dome of the Conservatory, students experience the lush tropics and the plants and animals that call the rainforest home. Starting with a scavenger hunt, students journey around the tropics with a guide to learn about adaptations, meet amazing birds, and discover the ways humans use plants from the tropics in their everyday lives. 

  • +A Sense of Nature

    Grades: K-1
    Available: Oct-Nov, Apr-Jun

    Foster the young biologists in your students by encouraging them to explore nature through focused observation, playful learning games, and collaborative outdoor activities. As they explore seasonal highlights in the Garden, students identify key parts and functions of plants, play the maple leaf match-up, make earth art, and more!

    Download: A Sense of Nature Pre-trip Info for Teachers

  • +Ecosystem Explorers

    Grades: 3-6
    Available: Oct-Nov, Apr-Jun

    Within the tranquil beauty of VanDusen exists a complex and intimately-connected ecosystem. Students investigate how native plants interact with other organisms in BC’s environment – exploring interdependence with focused observation and basic tools. Students unearth the vital role decomposers play through a soil search and collaborate to construct a food web.

    Download: Ecosystem Explorers Pre-trip Info for Teachers

  • +Fantastic Flowers

    Grades: K-4
    Available: Apr-Jun

    As students enjoy the beauty and fragrance of flowers throughout VanDusen, they investigate the parts of a flower, its role in pollination, and how pollination fits in the life cycle of flowering plants. Students search for pollinators in action – including a visit to our active beehives – while exploring the connections between pollinators, plants, and food production.

    Download: Fantastic Flowers Pre-trip Info for Teachers

  • +Pond Peering

    Grades: 1-4
    Available: May-Jun

    Hidden beneath the surface of VanDusen’s ponds and streams is a diverse world of beautiful and strange life. Students explore the aquatic environment, use nets to dip below the surface, and identify the creatures they find. Students also seek out the plants and animals that make their homes along the pond’s edge.

    Download: Pond Peering Pre-trip Info for Teachers

  • +Seed Secrets

    Grades: K-4
    Available: Oct-Nov

    Seeds fly, float, hitchhike – even travel through the stomachs of birds – to spread to new places and grow. Students explore the Garden, delighting in the beauty of fall colour while they search for seeds with parachutes, hooks, or fleshy fruit surrounding them. Students dissect seeds and make “seed babies” to take home.

    Download: Seed Secrets Pre-trip Info for Teachers

45 Minute Guided Programs

The VBGA is excited to offer a 45 minute format for guided programs nearly year-round.  This format is popular for groups seeking more self-guided time in the Garden during their visit.  Browse through our programs below.

  • +A Glimpse of the Garden

    Grades: K-7
    Available: Feb-Nov

    Students journey along the water’s edge, between volcanic walls, and among forest groves where they meet iconic native and exotic species. These budding naturalists connect with the environment, use their senses to develop observational skills, understand the role of humans in ecosystems, and participate in storytelling and interactive games – including the important perspectives of First Peoples.

  • +Natural Heritage Walk

    Grades: 8-12
    Available: Feb-Nov

    While exploring the Garden to meet iconic trees and ancient plants, students think about how our interaction with the land changes over time, space, and culture – including the important perspectives of First Peoples. Students make sense of their place in this world through observation, storytelling, and collaborative learning as they gain historical context for the local environment.

  • +NEW! Strategizing Sustainability

    Grades: 8-12
    Available: Feb-Nov 2020

    In a city striving to be the greenest in the world, students analyze and apply sustainability theories through a variety of activities, such as debating, budgeting, or waste auditing. This program presents contemporary environmental issues to students and challenges them to strategize solutions – including how they can become agents of change.