School Program Options

There is no substitute for a direct experience in nature! At RBG the foundation of our programs is inquiry-based and experiential learning.

ECE/KindergartenPrimarySecondary
girls walking along boardwalk

2018–2019 School Program Fees

RBG accepts cash, cheque, debit, VISA, MasterCard, and American Express. Invoicing is available upon request.


young girl touching tortoise shell

ECE and Kindergarten

Combining interactive hikes, sensory activities, and play-based learning, RBG’s ECE and Kindergarten programming provides positive experiences for the youngest students. Walking, hiking, and observing together, students develop a new appreciation for the natural world. Our programs give students the chance to develop as healthy, confident explorers of the outdoors!

  • Two-hour outdoor programs
  • Up to 30 students per group
  • 1 free adult per 4 students
View Program Options

Click on the program name to reveal the description.

bee on yellow flowers

Early Years Exploration

Come outside and learn how to use your eagle-eyes, owl-ears and fox nose! Nature is full of new sights, sounds, smells, and textures, and this program encourages young learners to take it all in. This program emphasizes sensory activities and open explorations.

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All kinds of animals call RBG home, but how do they survive in nature? Through role-playing and guided exploration, students search for animals, their homes, and the signs they leave behind to learn more about their habitats and how animals interact with each other.

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Bright, noisy, and active, birds are a great introduction to nature. Discover more about their body parts, food, habitats, and behaviours as we head outside to spot some of RBG’s feathered inhabitants as they fly, feed, and flock.

Submit a Booking Request

hands with spider

Exhibit and Holiday Programs

All Aboard! Gather your mini-conductors and bring them for a morning full of fun as we explore our traditional train sets and the Mediterranean Garden, hear holiday stories, and take a ride on a train. Program schedule includes time for students’ own snack and bathroom breaks.

*Special Program

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Anyone can take action to save wild animals! Through stories, activity centres, and a tour of the Wildlife Rescue exhibit, students will learn all about the threats that local species face - and what they can do to help. Come prepared for a fun and interactive indoor experience!

*Special Program

Submit a Booking Request

hands with small plant closeup

Self-Guided Exploration

Come explore the gardens or trails with your class. The Arboretum offers trails through the forest down to the shoreline of Cootes Paradise Marsh with great opportunities for bird watching.

Submit a Booking Request

Come explore the gardens or trails with your class. Hendrie Park has beautiful flower beds, a Natural Playground, and a vegetable village for your students to explore.

Submit a Booking Request


group of children looking into fishtank

Grades 1 - 8

Our Elementary programs aim to inspire curiosity, discovery, and connection in a natural setting. Through games, explorations, and discussions, students learn about the importance of healthy natural spaces, and their place within them!

  • Two-hour outdoor programs
  • Up to 30 students per group
  • Grades 1 to 3: 1 free adult per 4 students
  • Grades 4 to 8: 1 free adult per 5 students
View Program Options

Click on the program name to reveal the description.

turtle on log

Primary/Junior/Intermediate Science

The RBG Arboretum has natural surprises around every corner, every week of the year! Whether taking in the fall colours, tracking deer through the snow, or discovering spring flowers, this general nature tour will allow students to connect with the forests, fields, and fauna in RBG’s forests and gardens. This half-day program can be tailored to complement desired curricula upon request.

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The RBG Fishway is a sight to see! Students will see this amazing conservation tool in action with an up-close look at the fish that pass through. Our biologists explain the function of the Fishway, and our interpreters help students understand the history and importance of Cootes Paradise Marsh. This program takes place at our Princess Point location.

Submit a Booking Request

*Special Program

Bright, noisy, and active, birds are a great introduction to nature. Discover more about their body parts, food, habitats, and behaviours as we head outside to spot some of RBG’s feathered inhabitants as they fly, feed, and flock.

Submit a Booking Request

Out on the trails, we are surrounded by living things! Through games and open explorations, students will discover the ways in which organisms survive in nature and how humans fit into the natural world. Students learn what defines a living thing and what all life needs to survive.

Submit a Booking Request

RBG is home to incredible animals of all kinds! Though they may be different, they all share some important things in common. This program explores what defines an animal, and how they grow and survive. Lots of time is spent outside in search of wild creatures and the signs they leave behind!

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RBG’s natural spaces are home to hundreds of plant and animal species, all of which depend on clean air and water to survive. Students will meet pond and forest life face-to-face during an exploration hike, and learn about the importance of air and water to all living things.

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RBG is home to more plant species than any other place in Canada, and the perfect place to explore growth and changes in plants! Learn about plant needs and life cycles, and see how a variety of local plants grow and survive in our northern Carolinian forest.

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Soil is the foundation of nearly all terrestrial ecosystems. Students should be ready to get their hands dirty as they delve into the world beneath their feet! During this outdoor program, they will explore the properties of soil, search for tiny soil-dwellers, and learn about the important role healthy soil plays as part of the natural environment.

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The Niagara Escarpment provides a wealth of opportunities to learn about rocks, minerals, and the natural processes that shape our landscape. Indoors, students conduct a series of short experiments to determine the identity of unknown rock samples. Outdoors, they observe the effects of time and weather on the rocks that make up our local environment.

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A habitat is much more than just where an organism lives. In this program, students explore various plant and animal habitats here at RBG, their components, and how the organisms depend on each other. By taking part in a hands-on BioBlitz, students learn first-hand about the components of a healthy habitat, and explore the connections that link living and non-living things together.

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RBG provides critical habitat for many species at risk, and this program examines why they are in danger and what RBG is doing to help. Through active simulations and investigation, students gain an appreciation of these precious organisms and learn how they can help. Students may even encounter some of these rare plants and animals as we explore the trails and wetlands of RBG!

Submit a Booking Request

It’s hard to imagine a better place to explore biodiversity than here at RBG! Through hands-on exploration, students study the biodiversity of a local forest, field, or wetland, and relate it to ecosystem health and examine the impacts that humans can have on the environment.

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Everything in nature is connected, and in this program students take a close look at those connections. By exploring food webs, cycles, mutualism, parasitism and other local examples, students examine interactions in nature and how human interactions can be both negative and positive.

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What better way to learn about animal survival than to become one? With our Arboretum as their playing field, students are challenged to think strategically as they take on the role of an animal seeking the basic necessities for survival. Students will run, hide, and learn first-hand about the natural and human obstacles which animals face every day.

Submit a Booking Request

RBG property includes water bodies from both Halton and Hamilton watersheds. Students learn about the challenges and successes that our local wetlands experience through water testing and exploration on a walk along the shoreline, and they are challenged to consider what steps they can take to help improve the local water systems.

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Nature in winter may seem quiet, but there is more going on than you think! Put on your toque and mitts and head out for an exploration of RBG’s winter world. Explore the trails of the Arboretum to find out how plants and animals adapt and survive during Canada’s coldest months, then come sit by a campfire to end your adventure!

Submit a Booking Request

chickadee on plant identification sign

Cross-Curricular – Arts/Language/Social Studies and Science Programs

Designed in collaboration with Anishnaabe elders, this program takes students on an interpretive hike that highlights the traditional and current uses of a variety of native plants. A cross-curricular and authentic experience that will make you see the forest in a completely new way!

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Using nature as both muse and medium, students unleash their creativity in this visual arts program. Following an inspirational walk on the trails, students will apply the Creative Process to create artwork which represents grade-appropriate connections to the Life Systems strand of Science. A hands-on, collaborative program that encourages students to build personal connections to the natural world.

Submit a Booking Request

From cave paintings to oil on canvas, nature has provided inspiration to artists for millennia. Using the gardens and natural lands of RBG, students receive classroom instruction and use our watercolour kits to create their own works of art. A plein-air painting session (weather-dependant) caps off the program.

*Special Program

Submit a Booking Request

Let nature inspire your creative writing side! By using skills such as listening, observing, imagining, and exploring, students will learn and employ strategies for writing using nature as a muse. Whether it is for poetry, non-fiction, or creative story writing, RBG’s gardens and natural lands can unlock the power of literature from within your students.

Submit a Booking Request

children navigating obstacle course

Physical Education, Team Building, and Leadership

An immersive outdoor experience! On this full-day adventure, students join an RBG guide on a hike through some of the spectacular and diverse landscapes that make this area unique. Students will walk from Rock Chapel on the Niagara Escarpment to the shore of Cootes Paradise Marsh. Topics covered along the way can be tailored to complement desired curricula or simply follow the students’ curiosity.

Please note that this hike goes beside a road and along the edge of the escarpment in some places and requires one road crossing. Contact us for more details.

Submit a Booking Request

Working together, a small group of people can achieve anything they put their minds to. Led by our facilitators, our teambuilding activities are designed to build communication skills and develop trust, all the while being challenged to think as a unit. This is a fun and exciting way to bring your class together at any point in the school year!

Submit a Booking Request

RBG’s Adventure Challenge Course is full of physical obstacles and problem solving challenges created to challenge your students and help build dynamics within your group. The 5 km outdoor course is set in RBG’s Arboretum and aims to provide students with a unique and fun physical activity with an emphasis on completion of the physical and mental tasks, not competition.

*Special Program

Submit a Booking Request

Looking for a way to get your class or group thinking and working as a team? These challenges help students develop leadership, communication, problem-solving skills, and teamwork. Challenges involve simulations and role-playing both on and off the ground. Warm-up activities prepare the group for the challenges and debriefing discussions help students apply the outcomes to everyday life.

*Special Program

Submit a Booking Request

hands with spider

Exhibit and Holiday Programs

Many of the world’s cultures have celebrations to brighten the cold, dark days of early winter. Students will discover the important roles that plants play in our past and present seasonal celebrations on an outdoor guided exploration, then experience Royal Botanical Gardens’ very own holiday tradition: a model train set made entirely of plants.

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From Sarah Harmer to Douglas Coupland to Edward Burtynsky, Canadian artists have long taken action through their work to call attention to environmental issues. Students participating in this program will take an inspiration tour of the Wildlife Rescue exhibit before creating works of art that reflect the challenges that wild animals face as they survive in a changing world.

Thank you to Waste Management Inc. for supporting this program

Submit a Booking Request

We all play a role in keeping our environment healthy. Through activities and exploration of the Wildlife Rescue exhibit, students will learn about how professionals help animals meet their survival needs, and how they can take action to become Eco-Heroes themselves!

Submit a Booking Request

Why are species disappearing from their habitats? Students will discover what makes up a healthy habitat and the important roles that plants and animals play within them. Join us for hands-on learning activities and a tour of the Wildlife Rescue exhibit as we learn to protect and restore the natural world.

Submit a Booking Request

Discover how biodiversity plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Through simulations, activities, and an exploration of the Wildlife Rescue exhibit, students will learn first-hand about the importance of biodiversity and be empowered to make a difference!

Thank you to Waste Management Inc. for supporting this program

Submit a Booking Request

outdoor garden

Self-Guided Exploration

Come explore the gardens or trails with your class. The Arboretum offers trails through the forest down to the shoreline of Coote’s Paradise Marsh with great opportunities for bird watching.

Submit a Booking Request

Come explore the gardens with your class. Hendrie Park has beautiful flower beds, a Natural Playground, and a vegetable village for your students to explore.

Submit a Booking Request


teenages watching RBG staff holding a snapping turtle at the fishway

Grades 9 - 12

Our Secondary programs combine an inquiry-based approach with authentic learning opportunities situated in RBG’s gardens and natural spaces. RBG is an active research site, and students are challenged to learn through hands-on investigation and observation, analyze relevant data, and discuss environmental concerns that have a real impact on their lives. They have the opportunity to build scientific literacy skills while deepening their connection to the natural world.

  • Two-hour outdoor programs
  • Up to 30 students per group
  • 1 free adult per 5 students
View Program Options

Click on the program name to reveal the description.

Course Codes listed have been identified as having direct curriculum links to the program. Other courses may be applicable.

male mallard in river

Science, Environment, Geography, and Technology

What better way to learn about animal survival than to become one? With our Arboretum as their playing field, students are challenged to think strategically as they take on the role of an animal seeking the basic necessities for survival. Students will run, hide, and learn first-hand about the natural and human obstacles which animals face every day. This program is a perfect pairing with any other program.

Submit a Booking Request

Ecosystems function thanks to a fine balance of living and non-living factors. Using identification keys and other field tools, students gather data and compare sites to assess the impact of human activities on local diversity. Take this learning back to the classroom by accessing our online classroom resources after your visit!

Submit a Booking Request

Help us control our forests from alien invaders! Students learn about alien invaders, their effects on the ecosystems around RBG, and our efforts to restore diversity to the marsh and forests. During the autumn months there may be opportunity to participate in invasive species removal efforts – please indicate your interest in the Comments section of the Registration form.

Submit a Booking Request

The RBG Fishway is a sight to see! Students will see this sophisticated conservation tool in action with an up-close look at the fish that pass through. Our biologists explain the function of the Fishway, and our interpreters take the students through the complex history and current restoration of Cootes Paradise marsh. This program takes place at our Princess Point location.

*Special Program

Submit a Booking Request

This guided hike takes students along the shores of some of Royal Botanical Gardens’ most important protected waterways. Students learn about the history of human impact on the wetlands and streams and how Project Paradise is working to restore them to their original condition. Be prepared to take advantage of the ample wildlife viewing opportunities.

Submit a Booking Request

RBG provides critical habitat for many species at risk, and this program examines how they are designated, what factors put them in danger, and how humans can help. Through inquiry and active simulations, students investigate the survival or demise of species and populations. We may even encounter some of these rare plants and animals around the trails and wetlands of RBG!

Submit a Booking Request

The themes of this Grade 11 program follow Plants: Anatomy, Growth, and Function curriculum. Students will learn basic tree identification using appropriate plant terminology, make connections in agriculture and food consumption, discuss how plants are used medicinally, and learn about the important roles of wetland plants. As we walk through the forest, we’ll also look at specific plants and their special adaptations that allow them to survive.

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Today, more than ever before, nature needs our help. This module introduces the concept of Citizen Science, a way that individuals can participate in conservation and stewardship while enjoying nature anywhere in the world – even their own backyard. With an understanding of conservation, stewardship, and citizen science, and armed with some basic tools and identification skills, students spread out in the Arboretum for a great birding experience!

Submit a Booking Request

fallen maple leaf

Cross-Curricular – Arts/Language/Social Studies and Science Programs

Using nature as both muse and medium, students unleash their creativity in this visual arts program. After a short nature hike, students will create their own works of art using the elements of design. Interpreters help the class build a connection to the natural world through observation and imagination. What messages will your students make through their creations?

Submit a Booking Request

Let nature inspire your creative side! By using skills such as listening, observing, imaging, and exploring, students will learn and employ strategies for writing using nature as their muse. Whether it is for poetry, non-fiction, or narratives, RBG’s gardens and natural lands can unlock the power of literature from within your students.

Submit a Booking Request

hiking along a boardwalk

Physical Activity and Healthy Living

Looking to escape the classroom and explore the great outdoors? Spend a couple of hours enjoying trails that take the class through interior forest and to great viewpoints. Topics covered along the way can be tailored to complement desired curricula, or simply left to focus on the experience and follow the students’ curiosity. This program pairs well with any other program to extend your RBG experience into a full day field trip.

Submit a Booking Request

An immersive outdoor experience! On this full-day adventure, students join an RBG guide on a hike through some of the spectacular and diverse landscapes that make this area unique. Students will walk from Rock Chapel on the Niagara Escarpment to the shore of Cootes Paradise Marsh. Topics covered along the way can be tailored to complement desired curricula or simply follow the students’ curiosity.

Please note that this hike goes beside a road and along the edge of the escarpment in some places and requires one road crossing. Contact us for more details.

Submit a Booking Request

Working together, a small group of people can achieve much. Led by our facilitators, our teambuilding activities are designed to break the ice, build communication, and develop initiative while also challenging the group to think as a unit. This is a fun and exciting way to bring a group together at any point during the year.

Submit a Booking Request

Looking for a way to get your class or group thinking and working as a team? These challenges help students develop leadership, communication, problem-solving skills, and teamwork. Challenges involve simulations and role-playing both on and off the ground. Warm-up activities prepare the group for the challenges and debriefing discussions help students apply the outcomes to everyday life.

*Special Program

Submit a Booking Request

RBG’s Adventure Challenge Course is full of physical obstacles and problem solving challenges created to challenge your students and help build dynamics within your group. The nearly 5 km outdoor course is set in RBG’s Arboretum and aims to provide students with a unique and fun physical activity with an emphasis on completion of the physical and mental tasks, not competition.

*Special Program

Submit a Booking Request

hendrie park in the summer

Self-Guided Exploration

Come explore the gardens or trails with your class. The Arboretum offers trails through the forest down to the shoreline of Cootes Paradise Marsh with great opportunities for bird watching.

Submit a Booking Request

Come explore the gardens with your class. Hendrie Park has beautiful flower beds and a vegetable village for your students to explore.

Submit a Booking Request


Adventure Challenge!

Looking to bring your group on an adventure challenge? Our Adventure Challenge Course runs for one week in October and April. At other times of the year, try our Initiatives and Low Ropes Challenge or Teambuilding programs.


family looking at large wall map of RBG property

Teacher Portal

Learn everything you need to know before your visit to RBG, including what to bring, program fees, and more. Learn More

 

classroom with video projector screen featuring outside of RBG centre

Distance Learning Programs

No matter where you are, your class can explore topics like biodiversity, conservation, botany, plant ecology and the environment. Learn More

 

group of teenagers watching RBG employee with snapping turtle at the fishway

FAQ

What do you want to know about your RBG class trip? Find the answers to your questions here. You’ll also find information on our price points, parking, directions, and policies. Learn More