Camps

VanDusen Botanical Garden offers a variety of nature-based camps for children ranging from 4 -10 years old including summer, spring break, and Pro-D programs. All of our camps include learning about the natural world and inspire youth to understand their role in ecosystems. Programming is developed and run by the Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association (VBGA).  Want to keep up-to-date on our programming and registration dates? Sign up for our monthly Education Updates.

Here’s what parents have to say about our camps:

“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.”

Pro-D Camps (Grades 1-4)

Registration is limited to 24 participants in each camp. Like all of our camps, participants will have plenty of fun, hands on activities to keep them busy while learning something new.

Fees: Member $58.50 / Non-member $65 per camp
Members must have Family or Individual plus one child categories in order to qualify for discounts.
Hours: 9:30 am to 4:00 pm. Drop-off available from 9:00 am.

Cancellations must be made one week before scheduled camp date in order to receive a refund less a $15 admin fee.

Upcoming Pro-D Camps:

Winter Wonders (Grades 1-4) – February 15th

Join us at VanDusen Botanical Garden to experience our winter wonderland! Discover what it takes to be an evergreen, help fuel chickadees by building feeders, and collect plant material to build a miniature hibernation den. Enjoy the sweet sap taste test and experiment with sugar maple’s natural antifreeze.

April Showers Bring May Flowers (Grades 1-4) – April 29

Take a journey through the water cycle and explore why flowers bloom after April rains. See for yourself how a plant drinks water in a xylem experiment. Join us for an evapo-race and create your own rain stick to take home.

Darling Decomposers (Grades 1-4) – May 17 

Decomposers – some call them disgusting, we call them darling! This camp is not for the squeamish, as we will seek out all that is stinky, slimy or strange. Explore decomposition in action, create your own slug slime, and dig up worms to identify as you learn about Project WormWatch.


Spring Break Camps (5-12 years old)

Our carefully crafted camps offer a blend of science, exploration, games and crafts. Unique daily themes such as Dirt to Dinner, Blooming Artists, A Taste of the Tropics, and Things with Wings provide the opportunity to learn and play throughout the beauty of the Garden and the Conservatory, while fostering positive stewardship of the environment. Days are spent mostly outdoors, but may also include time in the classroom in the Visitor Centre or Bloedel Conservatory.

Each day offers a unique nature-based theme, so you can register your children for the camps that interest them. Browse our exciting daily themes below. Camp registration opens on December 4 2018 and is limited to 24 participants per day.

Fees: Member $58.50 / Non-member $65 per camp
Members must have Family or Individual plus one child categories in order to qualify for discounts. 

Spring Break Camps for 5-8 year olds

Camps run Monday-Friday from March 18-29 2019. Drop off is available at 9am and camps run from 9:30am-4:00pm.

  • +Natural Rhythm (March 18)

    Are you a stealthy coyote or a speedy hummingbird? Do you stand tall like a tree or float around like a seed in the wind? Find your natural rhythm at the Garden through listening to the sounds of nature, practicing animal movements, and creating your own instrument to take home.

  • +Don’t Eat Me! (March 19)

    How do plants and animals avoid being eaten? Join us for Operation Garden Defense to learn about nature’s defense tactics such as camouflage, poison, smell, and speed.

  • +Dirt to Dinner (March 20)

    Get your hands dirty and discover what it takes to make stone soup from the ground up. Starting from the soil we will explore decomposition, experiment with soil pH, dissect seeds and plant microgreens. Finally, we will prepare and enjoy a simple veggie-based meal together!

  • +Living Fossils (March 21)

    Journey back in time with a tour of VanDusen’s prehistoric plants. Explore fascinating plant defenses against the predators of the era, make living fossil imprints, and marvel at an array of ancient fossils.

  • +Naturally Crafty Kids (March 22)

    Crafty kids will make nature-based arts & crafts, using the Garden as inspiration and a resource for materials. Create your own vegetable-dyed art, make a cone critter, earth art, and a leafy bookmark. Camp will include plenty of time out in the Garden, as well as opportunities to explore and play with natural materials.

  • +Whimsical Woodlands (March 25)

    Flutter in for a whimsical day in the world of fairies and woodland creatures. Create your own fairy garden with enchanting greenery, and hear folklore about which plants are most likely to attract fairies. Make tiny toadstools and other charming miniatures from natural materials for your own fairy garden at home.

  • +Natural Curiosities (March 26)

    Discover nature’s weird, wonderful, and unique treasures! From green giants and ancient species to stinky flowers and carnivorous plants, delve deeper into the wonders of the Garden with microscopes, tools, and activities.

  • +A Taste of the Tropics (March 27)

    Spend the morning in a lush rainforest among the birds and plants of the tropics at Bloedel Conservatory. Get to know where your favorite flavours and scents come from, including vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate, and coconut. Then spend the afternoon at VanDusen Botanical Garden preparing a delicious tropical treat.

    Please note: Drop-off is at Bloedel Conservatory and pick up is at VanDusen Botanical Garden. Campers and camp leaders will be walking from Bloedel Conservatory to VanDusen Botanical Garden at 12:45pm rain or shine.

  • +Things with Wings (March 28)

    You don’t have to fly high to see what kind of winged-creatures live near lakes, flower gardens, and forests. Using our observational skills we’ll discover where birds, bats, and bugs sleep, what they eat, and what makes them unique.

  • +Blooming Artists (March 29)

    Let the first signs of spring flowers in the Garden inspire your art. Paint your own canvas in the presence of budding blooms, create a mosaic with seeds that fascinate you, and make a group earth art installation for Garden visitors to enjoy. Campers will strengthen their personal connections to nature while inspiring creativity and collaboration.

Spring Break Camps for 9-12 year olds

We are offering two new camp days on Tuesday March 19 & 26 2019. Drop off is available at 9am and camps run from 9:30am-4:00pm.

  • +Navigating Nature (March 19)

    Discover how humans use environmental cues to find their way and practice your navigational skills like a salmon returning to its natal stream using maps and a compass. You will also take part in the world’s largest treasure hunt by geocaching at the Garden.

  • +A Taste of the Tropics (March 26)

    Spend the morning in a lush rainforest among the birds and plants of the tropics at Bloedel Conservatory. Get to know where your favorite flavours and scents come from, including vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate, and coconut. Then spend the afternoon at VanDusen Botanical Garden preparing a delicious tropical treat.

    Please note: Drop-off is at Bloedel Conservatory and pick up is at VanDusen Botanical Garden.  Campers and camp leaders will be walking from Bloedel Conservatory to VanDusen Botanical Garden at 12:45pm rain or shine.

Summer Camps (5-10 years old)

VanDusen’s camps are immensely popular and often sell out very quickly. Our carefully crafted blend of science, exploration, games and crafts give children the opportunity to learn and play throughout the beauty of the Garden and the Conservatory, while fostering positive stewardship of the environment. Days are spent mostly outdoors, but may also include time in the classroom in the Visitor Centre or Bloedel Conservatory.

Check back in early 2019 for new camp information or sign up for emails to stay informed. Examples of past camps can be viewed below.

 

  • +Science in the Garden

     

    Unearth young biologists who want to learn about how the natural world functions. In the Garden, campers will explore trees, bugs, birds, soil, ponds and more. We’ll use microscopes, learn how to be a citizen scientist, and use words like ornithologist and metamorphosis as we have a fun week discovering the garden with a scientific focus.

    This camp includes a field trip to Bloedel Conservatory.

  • +Artists inspired by Nature

    Investigate connections between art and nature through the work of Claude Monet, Andy Goldsworthy, Vincent van Gogh, and other artists that find inspiration in nature. This fine art camp will teach the elements of art using techniques in watercolour, paint, pastels, and mixed media. Gather inspiration from the plants and creatures while exploring the Garden, keep a nature sketchbook, and complete a painting on canvas.

    This camp includes a field trip to Bloedel Conservatory.

  • +Dirt to Dinner

     

    Get your hands dirty and discover what it takes to make your meal from the ground up. Starting from the soil we will explore decomposition, experiment with soil pH, dissect seeds, and plant micro-greens. Every day we will prepare and enjoy some delicious food together. Veggies, fruits, herbs and honey have never tasted so good!

    This camp includes a field trip to Bloedel Conservatory.

  • +Aquatic Adventures

    Dive into the wonderful world of water and get to know the plants and animals that live there. Peer into a pond to find and identify the creatures that lurk below, tour VanDusen’s lakes and streams, and comb the beach for crabs and kelp. Explore freshwater and saltwater ecosystems and splash around at the Stanley Park water park.

    This camp includes a field trip to Stanley Park.

  • +Nature’s Architects

    Find inspiration from nature’s master builders such as ants, plants, and spiders to build your own structures. Observe birds closely to inspire the design of your own kite. Build a parachute that floats like a seed blowing in the wind. Use sonar like a bat or create a new communication system like a bee. Practice using nature inspired technology such as collecting energy from the sun like a leaf or design your own nature inspired invention. For ages 8-10 only.

    This camp includes a field trip to Bloedel Conservatory.

  • +Budding Birders

     

    Calling all junior ornithologists! Get to know birds at VanDusen, such as the barred owl, Anna’s hummingbird, spotted towhee and others. We’ll explore how birds eat, fly and build nests, and learn to identify and observe birds using our ears and binoculars. Campers will explore the new Backyard Bird Garden and over 300 tropical birds living at the Bloedel Conservatory.

    This camp includes a field trip to Bloedel Conservatory.

  • +Bugs and Beyond

    Focus on the weird and wonderful world of insects and other amazing arthropods. Junior entomologists will explore ecology from the bugs-eye view: as pollinators, decomposers, predators, and prey. Search under logs, in the pond, in a flower, or in the air for bugs and learn which are helpful, harmful, or edible to plants or people. For ages 5-7 only.

Program Bursaries

The Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association is pleased to provide bursaries for families in financial need. Apply for a bursary, or contact 604-257-8443 for information. If you are interested in donating to the bursary program, and giving a child the opportunity to go to camp, we would love to hear from you!

Contact Us

Have questions about the programs, or having difficulty registering online? Call 604-257-8443 or email us.