Field Trips

With 55-acres of beautiful green space in the middle of Vancouver, VanDusen Botanical Garden represents a safe and interactive learning experience for school and community groups looking for local field trip opportunities!

We offer Guided and Self-Guided Programs

Our 90 minute and 45 minute guided programs are designed with curriculum connections in mind for grades from K through Grade 12.

Teachers will be provided information prior to the visit to help them and their students prepare for the visit. Upon arrival, groups will be greeted by a member of the VBGA Education Team, who will review a quick code of conduct before beginning the scheduled program.

90 Minute Guided Programs

Browse our 90 Minute Guided Programs

  • +A Sense of Nature (K- Gr. 2)

    Rough, smooth, stinky, dark green, pointy. As they explore the garden, students describe and compare similarities and differences among plants using as many of their senses as they can. Foster the young biologists in your students, 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!

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Describe and compare plants using different resources, including their senses
    2. Identify similarities and differences among plants.
    3. Identify key parts of a plant (roots, stem, leaves, flowers and fruit)
    4. List the basic factors necessary for plants to grow (water, nutrients, air, and sunlight)

    Register now!

  • +Ecosystem Explorers (Gr. 3-6)

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

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Recognize how different components of an ecosystem are interconnected
    2. Document observations and data on ecosystem interactions
    3. Observe the biodiversity and complexity found within the VanDusen Garden ecosystem

    Register now!

  • +Fantastic Flowers (Gr. 1-4)

    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 -including a visit to our active beehives -while explor-ing the connections between pollinators, plants, and food production.

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Search for a variety of flowers and pollinators and observe them in action
    2. Learn about the parts of a flower and how each part is involved in the pollination process
    3. Link pollination to the life cycle of flowering plants
    4. Begin to understand the interdependence between pollinators and plants and how they are linked to the everyday needs of human beings

    Register now!

  • +Pond Peering (Gr. 1-4) May and June only

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

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Investigate various water bodies looking for plants and wildlife
    2. Understand the pond as a layered ecosystem (edges, bottom, water column, surface)
    3. Collect, observe, and identify aquatic invertebrates
    4. Learn that life cycles and survival are features of animal life

    Register now!

  • +Seed Secrets (Gr. K-4) October and November only

    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.

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Consider how fall differs from other seasons
    2. Begin to recognize the variety of seeds found in the natural environment
    3. Discover the ingenious ways that seeds disperse themselves, and why
    4. Relate seed dispersal to the life cycle of a flowering plant

    Register now!

45 Minute Guided Programs

Browse our 45 Minute Guided Programs

  • +Glimpse of the Garden (K- Gr. 7)

    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 will connect with their environment, use their senses to develop observational skills, understand the role of humans -including First Peoples -in ecosystems, and participate in storytelling and interactive games.

    Program instruction is presented in alignment with the BC curriculum communication, creative and critical thinking, and social responsibility

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Describe and compare plants using different resources, including their senses
    2. Identify similarities and differences among plants
    3. Recognize how different components of an ecosystem are interconnected
    4. Understand the role of humans in ecosystems, including the traditional uses of plants among local First Peoples

    Register now!

  • +Natural Heritage Walk (Gr. 8-10)

    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.

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Explore the history of the Garden and think about how people interact with the land and how that relationship changes over time and space
    2. Understand how storytelling can pass on lessons, impart knowledge, and be a window into how people relate to nature and each other in a particular time, culture, or area. Kids will create their own story that communicates personal knowledge and values
    3. Identify a selection of iconic trees – including catalpa, Douglas-fir, and maples – and ancient plants – such as horsetail, gunnera, or ferns.

    Register now!

  • +Strategizing Sustainability (Gr. 8-12)

    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.

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Consider and think critically about the intersection of commerce and environmental sustainability.
    2. Make connections between their actions, the actions of companies, and how those actions impact the environment.
    3. Learn what systems and resources they and companies can use to increase environmental sustainability

    Register now!

Self-guided Programs

Browse our selection of self-guided tours, lesson plans, guides and scavenger hunts to design the perfect day for your students at the Garden. A self-guided program allows for customized tours with ample time for a visit to VanDusen’s Elizabethan Maze.

VBGA Education staff will work with teachers before their visit to identify the best resources for their classes. We will greet the group upon arrival for a short orientation and review of the Code of Conduct before you explore the Garden.

Register now!

  • +Program Fees
    Programs Fees
    Self-Guided Programs $150 for 30 participants
    $5 for each  additional participant over 30
    Guided Programs $250 for a 90 minute program for 30 participants
    $200 for a 45 minute program for 30 participants

     

  • +Cancellation Policy

    Payment due within 4 weeks of booking. Cancellations prior to 4 weeks of program receive 50% refund. No refund for cancellations within 4 weeks of program date.

    Please reach out to learn@vandusen.org with any questions about Field Trips.

  • +F.A.Q.

    Q. How long can we stay in the Garden? Can we stay after our tour is over?
    Classes attending either Guided or Self-guided Field Trip Programs can remain in the garden until closing time.

    Q. Can we eat lunch or snacks in the Garden?
    Yes! There are picnic tables, benches, and some seating spread throughout the Garden. Feel free to ask your VBGA staff representative for lunch location suggestions upon arrival.  Please ensure that your class packs out their garbage.

    Q. Are there washrooms in the Garden?
    There are washrooms available in the Visitor Centre, as well as portable toilets and hand sanitizer in the Garden.

    Q. Are masks required in the Garden?
    Masks are not required while out in the Garden or inside the Visitor Centre. You are welcome to wear a masks depending on your level of comfort.

  • +Pre-trip Information

    Download the VanDusen Pre-trip Info Packet or Bloedel Pre-trip Information Packet  to prepare for a successful day in the Garden or Conservatory with your class. The packet includes:

    • Field Trip Policies & Guidelines
    • Code of Conduct
    • Directions

    Be sure to carefully review the information and share it with your students, chaperones, and colleagues as appropriate.

  • +Library Teacher Resources

    Have you been to the Yosef Wosk Library & Resource Centre at VanDusen?  You’ll find it’s an excellent resource for learning and teaching about plants, people, and the places that support them.  Download our Books by Theme Teacher Catalogue to explore titles to help you prepare lessons before or after your trip to the Garden Catalogue or borrow our Strong Stories Indigenous book bundles including Coast Salish, Métis, Kanyen’keha:ka, Kwakwaka’wakw, Tlingit, and Dakelh series.

Teacher Testimonies

“Our instructors were amazing! Very knowledgeable and great with the children!  They learned a lot and I will be back next year.” 

“My students learned a lot through hands on, real life experience. They have only learned about some plants and birds, but this was the first time they actually got a chance to see the real thing.”

“This is the best field trip I’ve been on in 15 years.”