Day Camps and After School Programs
Give your child a fun, activity-filled week of exploring the garden, learning more about the natural world around them, and their role in the urban ecosystem. Want to keep up-to-date on our programming and registration dates? Sign up for our monthly Education Updates.
Programming is developed and run by the Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association (VBGA)
After School Nature Explorers
For children ages 6 – 9
Fuel your child’s natural curiosity with the VBGA’s NEW After School Nature Explorers program! With an engaging blend of hands-on activities, dissections, crafts, and games, afternoons will be spent both outside and indoors. Kids will explore the Garden, and use tools to further investigate their garden discoveries using the microscopes and our classroom SMARTBoard. Sign up for a single session, or buy a 5 session MultiPass.
Single drop-in: VBGA Members (Family category) $20 / Non-member $22
5 sessions MultiPass, for use anytime between Feb 8 and Jun 7*: VBGA Members (Family category) $85 / Non-member $95
*no programs on March 15, 22 or May 3
**CANCELLATIONS must be made 48 hours before a session in order to receive a refund less a $5 admin fee. Registration closes 30 minutes prior to the session start time, but last minute drop-ins are still welcome, space allowing. **
Bursaries are available for families in financial need. Please contact the Education Department at 604-718-5898 for information.
+-February 8: Science Tools for Nature Explorers
Begin your journey as a naturalist by using tools to magnify and investigate natural treasures you discover in the Garden. We will identify the difference between a cedar and hemlock tree using a dichotomous key.
+-February 15: Winter Survival
Hibernation, migration, or adaptation? Discover the fascinating ways plants and critters cope with the cold, and investigate some of these amazing adaptations in the Garden. Help your neighborhood birds survive the snow by making your own winter feeder to take home!
+-February 22: Flowers in the Winter
Have you ever seen blossoms in the snow? Search for fascinating winter flowers, and uncover why these plants bloom during the coolest season. Then, use your dissecting skills to study flower parts under a microscope.
+-March 1: Nature Forever
Hunt for living fossils and endangered species after we brainstorm ideas about how everyone can help save these treasures for the future. Then, take a piece of the Garden home when you create your own botanical “fossil”!
+-March 8: Nature around the Maze
Let’s discover the critters in our own back yard. Challenge yourself with a fun scavenger hunt in the maze while learning about the wealth of diversity in the local environment. We will also visit the beehives and taste the hive’s delicious final product: honey!
+-And more to come...
Check back for more themes for March through June!
2017 Summer Camp information will be released in February. Sign up for our monthly Education Updates.
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, glasshouse or Bloedel Conservatory.
For an example of our programming, check out the 2016 camp themes below:
+-A Garden of Art
Explore the beautiful Garden, paint, draw, sculpt, and make an earth art installation. Campers will investigate connections between art and nature as they’re introduced to Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Goldsworthy, and other artists inspired by nature.
Investigate different ecosystems within the garden, learning about the plants and animals living together in each one. See what lives in a lake, a flower garden, a forest of trees, under a log, or in the soil. Sample the tools of a professional ecologist, and strengthen your understanding of the complexity of nature.
+-Science in the Garden
For curious kids, budding biologists, and any junior scientist who wants to look a little deeper at nature. This will be a week of science and exploring the garden with a finer focus. We’ll dissect plants, go on a bug safari, learn how to use microscopes, meet a scientist or horticulturist working at VanDusen, and more.
+-Grow and Eat a Garden
Connect with fresh food, soil and gardening as we look at veggies and herbs from the ground up. Campers will explore how good food starts with healthy soil and grows as part of a dynamic ecosystem. We’ll work in VanDusen’s veggie garden, harvest food for the Food Bank, experiment with recipes, release beneficial ladybugs into our veggie garden, and much more!
Junior scientists, take part in WormWatch, PlantWatch and other citizen science initiatives, and explore the idea of contributing to global science. Campers will see how their observations in nature can add to the world’s understanding of ecology and the visible effects of climate change. This camp will approach a serious subject in a fun and empowering way, and still include plenty of games.
+-It’s my Nature!
Get into nature with a less structured camp where campers will help to determine many of the activities, where they go in the Garden and how long to stay there. We’ll find interesting places for nature play, investigation and reflection, enabling kids to strengthen their personal connections to nature while inspiring creativity and collaboration.
+-Bogs to Beaches – VanDusen Camp on the Go!
Join us for an exciting week of science on-the-go, as we explore the beaches, bogs, gardens and forests found in our super, natural city. With home-base at VanDusen Botanical Garden, we’ll visit Stanley Park, Bloedel Conservatory, Queen Elizabeth Park, and Camosun Bog. We’ll practice citizen science, build ‘crabitats’, learn about carnivorous plants and study tropical birds. This camp involves a lot of walking, regardless of the weather.
+-Bugs in the Big Picture
Focus on insects and their relationships with the rest of the world. Junior entomologists will explore ecology from the insects’ perspective: as pollinators, decomposers, predators, and prey. Search the vegetable garden for insects and learn which are harmful to plants, and which are helpful.
Calling all junior ornithologists! During this camp you’ll get to know your backyard birds at VanDusen, and some of their tropical friends at Bloedel Conservatory. We’ll explore how birds eat, fly and build nests, and learn to identify and observe birds using our ears and binoculars.
What parents are saying 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.”
- “She is gaining a greater understanding of the scientific model, learning a lot, and developing an appreciation for the environment”
The VanDusen Botanical Garden Association is pleased to provide bursaries for families in financial need. Please contact the Education Department at 604-718-5898 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!