Spiders Alive!

In Spiders Alive!, visitors can explore spider anatomy and evolutionary history, learn about their signature traits — venom and silk-making — and be surprised by little-known defense mechanisms such as mimicry and noise-making. In addition to live arachnids representing approximately 17 species, the exhibition includes larger-than-life models of spiders, a climbable spider model 50 times life size, and a rare 100-million-year-old fossil of a spider in limestone.

Spiders Alive! was adapted by Peeling Productions from an exhibition produced by The American Museum of Natural History.

critter corner text

Critter Corner

Crickets, and mealworms, and spiders, oh wow! Check out the Critter Corner to see a variety of our crawling, many-legged friends, and to discover the important roles they play in our own backyards.

Critter Corner was produced by Royal Botanical Gardens.


interpretor holding tarantula under camera displayMeet the Critters Show - available weekends

Discovery @ RBG

Daily Activity Schedule

Join us for interactive Discovery Shows, puppet presentations, cool games, and more. Watch our website and social media for special programs offered weekends and holidays (including P.A. Days).

*Weekday programming runs Monday to Friday except on Halton and Hamilton P.A. Days, holidays, and March Break when the weekend schedule will apply.

 All programming is included in your General Admission or Membership

Weekdays (Mon-Fri excluding holidays)

Click the activity name for more details


10:30 to 10:50 a.m.
Toddler Time >>

Participate in interactive songs, rhymes, and stories.
(Younger audiences, 20 minutes, weekdays only)

Find this activity in the McQuesten Theatre at RBG Centre.


11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Mini-Explorers >>

Drop in for some hands-on activities to explore many-legged creatures.
(Younger audiences, weekdays only)

Find this activity in the McQuesten Theatre at RBG Centre.


1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Spider Special >>

Stop by to learn about a spider’s diet. Can you stomach it?!
(All-ages, weekdays only)

Find this activity in the Atrium at RBG Centre.


10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Eight-Legged Race >>

Spiders have many amazing adaptions, from balancing on silk threads to pouncing on their prey. Test your spider skills in eight activity stations!
(All-ages, daily, self-guided)

Find this activity throughout RBG Centre.


Weekends (+ March Break and holidays)

Click the activity name for more details


10:30 to 10:45 a.m.
Puppet Show >>

Watch our animal friends tell their own tales and learn what makes them so special.
(Younger audiences, 15 minutes, weekends only)

Find this activity in the McQuesten Theatre at RBG Centre.


11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Meet the Critters >>

Join us for an intimate encounter with a few of our crawling, many-legged friends. Please note this activity does NOT include a touch experience.
(All-ages, 20 minutes, weekends only)

Find this activity in the McQuesten Theatre at RBG Centre.


12:30 to 12:45 p.m.
Storytime >>

Come hear spider-themed stories and learn more about these amazing animals!
(Younger audiences, 15 minutes, weekends only)

Find this activity in the McQuesten Theatre at RBG Centre.


1 to 1:25 p.m. (Sundays only)
Sunday Special Guest >>

RBG is pleased to welcome special guests to share their expertise and passion about spiders and friends!
(Sundays only)

Location varies. See Special Guests listings for more information.


1:30 to 2 p.m.
Outdoor Walk >>

Follow us for a 30-minute guided walk in Hendrie Park to learn more about how spiders beat the cold.
(Recommended ages 5+, weekends only)

Meet at the tunnel in Hendrie Park.


3:30 to 3:50 p.m.
Discovery Show >>

Discover the wonders of spider adaptations in our engaging demonstration.
(All-ages, 20 minutes, weekends only)

Find this activity in the McQuesten Theatre at RBG Centre.


10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Eight-Legged Race >>

Spiders have many amazing adaptions, from balancing on silk threads to pouncing on their prey. Test your spider skills in eight activity stations!
(All-ages, daily, self-guided)

Find this activity throughout RBG Centre.


Daily schedule is subject to change to accommodate special presentations and visiting guests. Please see our daily Visitor Guide upon arrival when you arrive for an up-to-date schedule.


Dates to Watch For

We're excited to offer some special evenings and events as part of this winter exhibit! Join us on the dates below to visit all your favourite creepy crawlies.

metallic blue ornamental spider

RBG After Dark: Spiders Alive!

February 7, March 7, April 4

Grab a drink, enjoy the music, and experience Spiders Alive after dark! On the first Thursday of each month, RBG's winter exhibit is transformed into a nightlife experience like no other. This is a 19+ event. Tickets required.

Learn More
spider plushie in front of exhibit

Pyjama Party

January 25, February 22, March 29, and April 12

Put on your P.J.s and bring along your favourite critter plushie! Spiders Alive! will be open late, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., on the final Friday evening of each month and the last Friday of this special exhibit. Join us for activities, games, and everyone's favourite many-legged creatures, all included in your general admission or RBG membership.

je parle francais

Journées bilingues / Bilingual Days

2 février, 2 mars, 8 mars, 6 avril
February 2, March 2, March 8, April 6

Les Jardins botaniques royaux vous offre des programmes éducatifs bilingues pendant les premiers samedis de février, mars, et avril et aussi vendredi, le 8 mars.

RBG will be offering French/English bilingual educational programs on the first Saturday of February, March, and April as well as Friday, March 8.


Special Guests

RBG is pleased to welcome special guests to share their expertise and passion about spiders and friends! Join us every Sunday at 1 p.m. for a new guest speaker each week, in person or via videoconference. We will also have bonus special guests for special occasions. Check back often as we will be regularly updating our list!

View Past Guests >>

woman holding a tarantula in a lab

January 20, 1 p.m.

A Web of Lies: Spider Myths and Misconceptions

Haley Yorke MSc. Candidate, Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario.

Some of us base our knowledge of spiders on myths, urban legends or misconceptions. Come learn what spiders are REALLY all about, and why they aren’t our enemies at all but rather our beneficial neighbours.

woman holding a tarantula in a lab

January 27, 1 p.m.

Spectacular Spiders: Hunters, Fishers and Trappers

Dan Schneider University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario.

Join arachnophile Dan the Nature Man for a fascinating close-up look at our eight-legged neighbours; found outside and in our homes! Meet special guest Charlotte, a friendly Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula.

heashot of Karin Davidson-taylor

February 3, 1 p.m.

Spiders in Human Cultures: Test your knowledge!

Karin Davidson-Taylor Education Officer, Royal Botanical Gardens

Spiders have been part of human culture for thousands of years in traditional stories, children’s rhymes, and modern films. Test your knowledge by joining us for a fun Jeopardy-style game! All ages welcome.

woman holding a tarantula in a lab

February 10, 1 p.m.

Spiders: Myths and Facts

Dr. Jonathan Pruitt McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario.

Spiders represent some of the most maligned organisms on Earth. Yet, they able to instill a sense of wonder in even timid observers. We’ll explore some of the most shocking facts and broadly distributed myths about spider biology.

woman in green shirt leaning against a wall with butterfly drawn on it

February 17, 1 p.m.

Spiders on the Move

Monica Mowery University of Toronto

Learn how spiders move around, whether building their webs, ballooning in the wind, or colonizing new environments aided by humans. How do spiders live and adapt to such a diverse array of habitats, and what can their distinctive ways of moving teach us?

Littlle Ray's Reptile Zoo

February 18, 12 to 2 p.m.

Animal Encounters

Little Ray's Reptile Zoo

Drop by and meet some interesting animals that might eat insects or spiders or live in the same environment. Come with your curiosity!

heashot of Karin Davidson-taylor

February 24, 1 p.m.

Spiders in Your Flowers

Karin Davidson-Taylor Education Officer, Royal Botanical Gardens

Look carefully in your flowers because you might see a well camouflaged crab spider taking advantage of unwary insects. Join Karin to discover more about spiders in your garden.


Educational Programs

Do you love spiders and arthropods as much as we do? RBG has lots of opportunities to expand your knowledge and experience the exhibit outside of general admission!


Courses and Programs

Let your mind grow at the Gardens! We offer courses and workshops for families, kids and adults in the areas of gardening, nature, botanical arts and wellness, including two upcoming arachnid-focused programs! Pre-registration is required for these programs.

Arachnophobia / Spider Phobia

Wednesday, February 27; 7 to 9 p.m. - Into the Wild. Click here to learn more

Junior Araneology Club

Saturdays, March 16, 23, 30; 10 to noon - Kids and Families. Click here to learn more.

Learn More

School Programs

Our programs use hands-on exploration and activities to engage students and to immerse them in the natural world. School Programs in the Exhibit are booking now, and will sell out quickly – don’t miss out on this limited time opportunity!

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March Break Camps

Discovery Camps are about fun, education and respect set in one of the most biologically diverse natural areas in Canada. March Break camps take place from March 11 to 15, with outdoor and environmental education day camps for children aged 4 to 13 years old. Come for a day or for the whole week!

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children smelling Bird of Paradise Flowers

Hours and Admission

We dedicate our expertise in horticulture, conservation, science and education to connect people, plants and place for the purpose of nurturing and preserving healthy growing life on our planet.

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Pink Garden Roses in full bloom

Membership

Get access to the gardens all year long (including our winter exhibit) with an RBG membership!

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Iris beds in Laking Garden

Directions and Parking

RBG cosists of four formal gardens contained within 1,100 hectares of nature reserve, on the border of Hamilton and Burlington Ontario.

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