VanDusen Nature Camps

VanDusen Botanical Garden offers a variety of nature-based camps for children ranging from 5-10 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.”

Summer Camps (5-10 year olds)

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 at Bloedel Conservatory. Find the camp themes and descriptions below.

Registration:

Please note: Children must have completed kindergarten to register and attend VanDusen & Bloedel summer camps. There are no exceptions.

Priority Member Registration:
Opens Tuesday, March 3rd at 9am until Wednesday March 4th at 11:59pm.

A valid Family OR Individual plus Child Membership is required to qualify for priority registration and a 10% discount on all camps. An access code will be sent to all families with the valid membership prior to priority registration.
Find out more about membership here.

General Registration:
Opens Thursday, March 5th at 9am

Camp Fees:

Full Day Camps: (9.00am-4.00pm)

VBGA Members Non-Members
4 day camps $238.50 $265.00
5 day camps $288.00 $320.00

Half Day Camps: 9.00am-12:30pm 

VBGA Members Non-Members
Rates $162.00 $180.00

After Camp Care: 4.00pm – 5:00pm 

VBGA Members Non-Members
Rates $40 (no member discount) $40

 

Camp Themes and Descriptions

Half Day Camps for Ages 5-6

9.00am-12:30pm

  • +Nuts about Nature 

    July 13-17 and Aug 10-14 

    Budding naturalists will explore a variety of themed activities in this half-day camp for younger campers. We will read books, sing songs, create craft projects and play games, all while fostering curiosity, play, and connection to nature and the garden. Location: VanDusen Botanical Garden.

    Please note: After camp care is not available for this camp.

Full Day Camps for ages 5-7

9.00am – 4.00pm

  • +Blooming Artists

    June 29- July 3 (4 day camp, due to Canada day on July 1), July 13-17, and July 20-24 

    Investigate connections between nature and art while gathering inspiration from the plants and animals at the Garden. Keep a nature sketchbook, complete a painting on canvas, and practice using various mediums and techniques such as watercolour, pastels, and mixed media. Campers will strengthen their personal connections to nature while inspiring creativity and collaboration. This camp includes a field trip to Bloedel Conservatory. Location: VanDusen Botanical Garden.

  • +Bogs to Beaches

    August 4-7 (4 day camp due to stat) and August 17-21 

    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. Location: VanDusen Botanical Garden.

  • +Budding Birders

    June 29- July 3 (4 day camp, due to Canada day on July 1) and July 6-10          

    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. Location: VanDusen Botanical Garden.

  • +Bugs and Beyond

    July 27-31 and August 4-7 (4 day camp due to stat)

    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. Location: VanDusen Botanical Garden.

  • +Dirt to Dinner

    July 27-31 and August 4-7 (4 day camp due to stat)

    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. Location: VanDusen Botanical Garden.

  • +Science in the Garden

    June 29- July 3 (4 day camp, due to Canada day on July 1), July 6-10, and July 13-17 

    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. Location: VanDusen Botanical Garden.

  • +Science in the Rainforest

    August 10-14 

    Explore rich tropical and temperate rainforest ecosystems through a scientific lens. Get up close with tropical plant and animal life under the lush Bloedel Conservatory dome and adventure through Queen Elizabeth Park in search of native BC plants, bugs, birds, soil, and more. This camp includes a field trip to VanDusen Botanical Garden. Location: Queen Elizabeth Park and Bloedel Conservatory. 

    Please note: After camp care is not available for this camp.

  • +Sprouting Imagination

    August 10-14 and August 17-21 

    Through imaginative and creative play children will learn about the natural world. Naturally creative kids will explore storytelling and myths, learn about music, dance and natural rhythm, create our own instruments from plant materials, and enjoy expressive performance art through the whimsical world of plants and animals. This camp includes a field trip to Bloedel Conservatory. Location: VanDusen Botanical Garden.

  • +Wild Investigation

    July 20-24 (Ages 5-7)   

    Who do these bones belong to? Where did all the seeds go? Campers will solve the daily nature mystery by exploring the Garden in search of clues. Campers will learn new investigative techniques such as water pH tests and plant dissections, and use tools such as compasses, maps, binoculars, and microscopes. This camp includes a field trip to Bloedel Conservatory. Location: VanDusen Botanical Garden.

Full Day Camps for ages 8-10

9.00am – 4.00pm

  • +Blooming Artists

    July 6-10

    Investigate connections between nature and art while gathering inspiration from the plants and animals at the Garden. Keep a nature sketchbook, complete a painting on canvas, and practice using various mediums and techniques such as watercolour, pastels, and mixed media. Campers will strengthen their personal connections to nature while inspiring creativity and collaboration. This camp includes a field trip to Bloedel Conservatory. Location: VanDusen Botanical Garden.

  • +Bogs to Beaches

    August 10-14 

    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. Location: VanDusen Botanical Garden.

  • +Dirt to Dinner

    July 20-24 

    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. Location: VanDusen Botanical Garden.

  • +Nature’s Architects

    August 17-21 

    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. This camp includes a field trip to Bloedel Conservatory. Location: VanDusen Botanical Garden.

  • +Science in the Rainforest

    July 13-17 

    Explore rich tropical and temperate rainforest ecosystems through a scientific lense. Get up close with tropical plant and animal life under the lush Bloedel Conservatory dome and adventure through Queen Elizabeth Park in search of native BC plants, bugs, birds, soil, and more. This camp includes a field trip to VanDusen Botanical Garden. Location: Queen Elizabeth Park and Bloedel Conservatory. 

    Please note: After camp care is not available for this camp.

  • +Wild Investigation

    July 27-31   

    Who do these bones belong to? Where did all the seeds go? Campers will solve the daily nature mystery by exploring the Garden in search of clues. Campers will learn new investigative techniques such as water pH tests and plant dissections, and use tools such as compasses, maps, binoculars, and microscopes. This camp includes a field trip to Bloedel Conservatory. Location: VanDusen Botanical Garden.

After Camp Care - Ages 5-10 (4pm-5pm)*

*Please note that after camp care is not available for Science in the Rainforest camp or Nuts about Nature half day camp. 

After Camp Care is located in the VanDusen Botanical Garden Classroom. Space is limited to 24 children per day. There will be a fee charged for late pickup.

We will not provide any food including snacks or dinner. Please provide your child/children with extra snacks for after-camp care (No nuts please).

Camp Themes and Dates


Spring Break Camps 2020 SOLD OUT: (5-8 year olds) Spring Break camps are sold out but wait-lists are open.

Our carefully crafted camps offer a blend of science, exploration, games and crafts. Each day offers a unique nature-based theme, so you can register your child for the camps that interest them.

Time: 9:30am-4:00pm (drop-off available from 9:00am)
Cost: Members $58.50 per day / Regular $65 per day

Daily Camp Themes:

  • +Mar 16: Blooming Artists SOLD OUT

    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.

  • +Mar 17+ 26: Don’t Eat Me! SOLD OUT

    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.

  • +Mar 18: Bookworms SOLD OUT

    This storybook camp will explore classic nature tales such as Where the Wild Things Are and new award winning stories like Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt. With a special visit to our onsite library and storytelling in the Garden, children will let their imagination lead them on exciting outdoor adventures.

  • +Mar 19 + 24: Natural Curiosities SOLD OUT

    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.

  • +Mar 20: Junior Naturalists SOLD OUT

    Can you identify the plants and animals in your own backyard? Campers will take a closer look at the characteristics that make local flora and fauna unique and create their own plant identification poster to take home.

  • +Mar 23: Dirt to Dinner SOLD OUT

    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, dissect seeds, and plant microgreens. Finally, we will prepare and enjoy a simple veggie-based meal together!

  • +Mar 25: Whimsical Woodlands SOLD OUT

    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.

  • +Mar 27: Eco Heroes SOLD OUT

    With a focus on respect for nature, campers will be empowered to be stewards of the environment through exciting citizen science initiatives. Through fun games and crafts, natural connections will be created and explored.

Registration

For registration inquiries please contact cmartin@vandusen.org or 604-257-8443. We strongly recommend contacting us with registration inquiries prior to the registration opening day.

*A Family OR Individual plus Child membership is required to qualify for priority registration and a 10% discount. Instructions for priority registration will be emailed to all eligible membership holders prior to the registration date. Contact cmartin@vandusen.org for member registration instructions after the registration date.


Pro-D Camps 2020: (Grades 1-4)

Like all of our camps, participants will have plenty of fun, hands on activities to keep them busy while learning something new.

Time: 9:30am-4:00pm and drop-off is available from 9:00am.

Cost: Members $58.50 per day / Regular $65 per day

  • +Nature’s Valentines February 14, 2020

    Let’s show the Earth a little bit of love and kindness this Valentine’s Day! Spend the day caring for nature by tracking winter bird visitors, find evidence of relationships (symbiosis) in the garden, make heartfelt natural art and plant a seed for someone you love.

  • +In Pursuit of Pollinators May 15, 2020

    Buzz buzz! Are you ready to see the world like a bee? Look for ultraviolet landing pads on flowers, collect pollen, take the honey taste test challenge, visit our beehives, search for hummingbirds, and enjoy a butterfly craft.

Registration

For registration inquiries please contact cmartin@vandusen.org or 604-257-8443.

*A Family OR Individual plus Child membership is required to qualify for priority registration and a 10% discount. Instructions for priority registration will be emailed to all eligible membership holders prior to the registration date. Contact cmartin@vandusen.org for member registration instructions after the registration date.


Camp 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.

To make a donation to the bursary program and give a child the opportunity to go to camp, contact Josh Coward.


Contact Us

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