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.

Download a PDF brochure of all our programs for teachers and school groups>>

Download a one-sheet summary of our field trip programs to print and share with your colleagues>>

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. Cancellations are subject to a $15 administration fee. Any cancellations made less than 30 days in advance will not receive a refund.

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 PDF brochure of all our programs for teachers and school groups>>

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

    Foster the young biologists in your students, encouraging them to explore nature through focused observation, playful learning games, and collaborative outdoor education activities. As they walk through seasonal highlights in the Garden, students identify key parts of plants and how these parts help plants to meet their needs for growth, play the 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 $15 administration fee.

Self-guided Field Trip Programs

Use VanDusen’s menu of new self-guided tours, lesson plans, guides and scavenger hunts to design the perfect day for your students at the Garden. A diversity of learning resources are available below, spanning the Elementary grades and subject areas, and offering variety in complexity and depth of programming.

Visiting for a self-guided tour allows teachers to customize the experience to meet their needs and schedule, while allowing time for a visit to VanDusen’s Elizabethan Maze. Teachers can also choose to add on our 45 minute guided program, Connecting to Nature, to kick-start their visit.

To ensure a successful day, VanDusen Education staff will work with teachers in advance of their visit to identify the best resources for their class. We will greet the group upon arrival for a short orientation and review of the Code of Conduct with students.

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. 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.

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

Self-Guided Curriculum 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

Connecting to Nature: Guided program add-on

Available as an add-on to your self guided program through the school year (Sept-June) and the summer (July-Aug)!

Jumpstart your field trip experience with a 45 minute guided tour designed to prepare students for a successful day of learning and adventure in the Garden. A VanDusen Educator will lead students along a lake, between volcanic rocks walls, and amongst conifer trees where they will discover cool, weird, and wacky plants and animals. Students will make connections with the natural world and identify two iconic native trees through interactive games, stories and an introduction to the Tree of Life.

Cost per 45 minute mini guided tour: $50 per class (up to 30 students)


Pollinator Days

Wednesday, June 13th – Thursday, June 14th

Spring flowers throughout VanDusen Botanical Garden provide the perfect setting to explore pollinators and the habitats that support them. Pollinator Days gives students opportunities to identify the pollinators in their backyards, explore pollen up close, make connections between pollinators and food, practice citizen science and become empowered to make a difference. Plan your day around visiting various educational activity stations, where VanDusen educators will lead activities. School groups will be given maps of the Garden and the freedom to explore the Garden on their own schedule.

Facilitated learning stations include:
• Microscopes and pollinator specimens presented by the Environmental
Youth Alliance
• Pollen Collection and bee life cycles
• ‘See Like a Bee’ – students use special paint and black light to learn
about nectar guides and the visible light spectrum of bees
• Citizen science training and monitoring, including pollinator
identification training
• Visit a real beehive and sample different types of honey
• Photo booth with lots of fun and wacky pollinator props

Who: Elementary aged students. Pre-registration is required.
When: Wed. June 13 and Thu. June 14, 2018. 10 am – 2 pm
Where: VanDusen Botanical Garden
Cost: $10/ student. One adult is admitted free for every 10 children. Additional adults pay $10.

How to register for Pollinator Days:
Call 604-257-8443 or email to confirm availability

Subsidized Bus Funding

Underserved schools may be eligible for our Nature Express Bursary Funding which offers up to $300 towards the cost of bus transportation to and from VanDusen Botanical Garden. Call 604-257-8423 for more information.

Nature Express Bursary funds are sponsored in part by the McGrane-Pearson Endowment Fund.

Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation: Go Grants – This grant may cover transportation, project materials, and/or program fees.