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Winter Exhibit

January 18 to April 13, 2020, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
RBG Centre

Sponsored by:

Enter the fascinating world of Wildlife Rescue, an eye-opening, inspiring and wildly interactive exhibit for all ages!

Step into recovery efforts and “meet” the people who dedicate their lives to saving and releasing endangered animals. Take a simulated flight to guide young whooping cranes along their first migratory route, learn the methods used to milk Lake Sturgeon and reintroduce them to the Great Lakes, then journey to Africa and Indonesia to witness efforts to successfully raise and release young elephants and orangutans to the wild. Every day is filled with family activities and weekends feature live animal guests from local wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centres.

About the Exhibit

Enjoy hands-on, interactive stations to explore the stories of a wide range of threatened and endangered animals from around the world. Examine x-rays, become a Giant Panda matchmaker, “feed” baby condors, crawl like a turtle, and more! Browse through the slideshow to learn more about some of the stations in the exhibit.

Deadly Fungus: Panamanian Golden Frog

Look into a viewer and use the arrows to locate the effects of chytrid fungus infection in the outer layer of a frog’s skin. View videos that explain why the disease caused by this fungus is one of the biggest threats to amphibians around the world, and why golden frogs raised in captivity cannot be returned to the wild.

Giant Panda Adaptations

Compare the features of a panda skull and a black bear skull to learn about the special adaptations of pandas for eating bamboo. Bamboo is the primary source of food for giant pandas, and they eat a lot of it -­ about 20 kilograms (40 pounds) a day! Step on a weigh scale with a special dial to compare your weight to that of a panda at different stages of development.

Fly with the Whooping Cranes

Sit in the ultra-­light aircraft and embark on a simulated flight to direct the whooping cranes along their first migration route. Choose to watch the flight from several different camera views. Listen as the pilot tells you about the journey (the route, how far it is and how long it takes) and why the young birds must be guided in this way.

Turtle Crawl

Put on a replica turtle shell and become a turtle! Crawl through the turtle tunnel, hear the vehicles passing overhead and see how wildlife crossings allow turtles and other animals to safely cross busy roadways. Graphics explain how wildlife underpasses and overpasses connect vital habitats and help to prevent wild populations from becoming isolated from each other.

Animals Back in the Wild

Watch the short video and feel uplifted by its positive images and messages, which create a sense of hope for the future. See your own image in the embedded mirrors, and realize that you have a role to play in the story of wildlife rescue.

The Amazing Trunk

Learn how elephants use their intelligence to communicate effectively with each other. Insert your arm into a replica elephant trunk and simulate the movements of a real trunk. Compare your actions to videos of elephants using their trunks in a variety of ways.

Species Recovery Around the World

Use the touchscreen to explore the stories of a wide range of threatened and endangered animals. Browse through photos, videos and text to learn why each animal is threatened and what is being done about it. Watch as the globe rotates to reveal where each of the 30 featured species lives.

What Can I Do?

Watch a short video message that provides some tips about how you can get involved. Browse through information about various organizations that promote conservation and protect endangered species. Choose from several video clips of a scientist who conveys why he is so passionate about conservation, biodiversity and restoring wildlife.

Great Lakes Sturgeon

Rub the side of a life-­size sturgeon model just as scientists do to extract the eggs. Your action activates a video showing the main steps in captive breeding programs: capturing a sturgeon, extracting the eggs, fertilizing the eggs, rearing the young fish, and releasing them back to the wild. The sturgeon was once over-­harvested in the Great Lakes but is now making a comeback.

Feed the Chicks: California Condor

The California condor is one of the most endangered birds in North America. This exhibit demonstrates the challenges of rearing these types of birds in captivity and the techniques used to avoid imprinting them on humans. Feed your chick as many pellets as you can!

Orangutan Station

Squeeze a dynamometer to compare your grip strength with an orangutan’s strength on a LED scale, then match facial images of orangutans by touching different blocks to find the match. Orangutans have the ability to recognize each other by using visual cues, as do humans.

Emergency Response Center

Take a quiz, inspect oil-covered feathers, repair a broken turtle shell, listen to mammaml heartbeats, examine with the ``x-ray station`` and more!

Wildlife Rescue developed by Science North and toured by Little Ray’s Nature Centre

RBG Centre at Royal Botanical Gardens

Find this event at the RBG Centre, 680 Plains Rd W, Burlington, ON.

Discovery @ RBG

Blandings Turtle

Exhibit Shows and Activities Schedule

Join us for interactive animal shows, discovery activities, animal meet-and-greets, 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.

Weekdays (Excluding Holidays & P.A. Days*)

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Discovery Table

Explore our role as humans visiting in nature.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Activity Book

Pick up an activity book to complete the puzzles and activities of the Rescue Relay around RBG Centre.

10:45 a.m.

Listen to wild tales and hear about amazing animals.
(Younger audiences, 15 minutes)

Find this activity in McQuesten Theatre at RBG Centre.

11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Wildlife Explorers

Stop in for some hands-on activities to explore animals and their homes.
(Younger audiences, drop-in, weekdays only)

Find this activity in McQuesten Theatre at RBG Centre.

1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Gardening for Wildlife

Discover important plants you can grow to help to support native wildlife.
(All ages, drop-in, weekdays only)

Find this activity in the Atrium at RBG Centre.

2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Discovery Cart

Visit us to delve into biodiversity at RBG. Topics will rotate approximately every two weeks.
(All ages, drop-in, weekdays only)

Find this activity in the Atrium at RBG Centre.

3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Turtle Meet and Greet

Drop by to meet an RBG turtle ambassador.
(All ages, drop-in, weekdays only)

Find this activity in the Atrium at RBG Centre

Weekends (+ March Break / Holidays)

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Discovery Table

Explore our role as humans visiting in nature.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Activity Book

Pick up an activity book to complete the puzzles and activities of the Rescue Relay around RBG Centre.

10:30 a.m.

Listen to wild tales and hear about amazing animals.
(Younger audiences, 15 minutes)

Find this activity in McQuesten Theatre at RBG Centre.

11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.
Meet the Animals Show

See what wildlife friends are visiting us today (see below for special guests schedule).
(All ages, 20 minutes, weekends only)

Find this activity in McQuesten Theatre at RBG Centre.

12 p.m.
Citizen Science Saturdays &
Sunday Special Guests

RBG is pleased to welcome special guests to share their passion and expertise. Join us on Saturdays to find out how you can help with citizen science projects and Sundays for a new guest speaker each week.
(Recommended ages 8+, 20 minutes, weekends only)

Find this activity at RBG Centre; location varies. Specific location provided when you arrive.

2 p.m.
Outdoor Walk

Take a 30-minute guided walk in Hendrie Park to learn how plants and wildlife survive the winter and how our gardens help.
(Recommended ages 5+, 30 minutes, weekends only)

Meet in the Hendrie Park tunnel (entry through RBG Centre).

4 p.m.
Turtle Talk

Join us for an intimate encounter with a turtle that calls RBG home.
(All ages, 20 minutes, weekends only)

Find this activity in McQuesten Theatre at RBG Centre.

Roving Puppetry

Keep an eye out for our plushy friends and hear what makes them special.

*Holiday / P.A. Day Schedule Weekend programming will apply on the following dates: January 24, 31, February 14, 17, 21, March 6, 13, 16-20, April 10, 13. Programming may be slightly altered on these days. See for a full calendar by date.

Meet the Animals Show

See what wildlife friends are visiting us today! We’re welcoming local experts and some winged, scaled, and four-legged friends for an in-person look at what animal care and conservation takes. Come back again and again to meet a new batch of animals!

NOTE: specific animals available for the show will vary day to day. Animal wellness is top priority; the caregivers will often make the decision of which individuals to bring for a visit the morning of the event.

Speaking of Wildlife

January 18, 19, February 15 to 17, March 7, 8, 28, 29, April 4, 5
Speaking of Wildlife
Meet a variety of native Ontario wildlife and learn all about what makes each special.

Teen girl holding owl

January 25, 26, February 29, March 1, 20 to 22, April 11 and 12
Wild Ontario
See live birds-of-prey and get close to some of Ontario’s fastest and craftiest raptors.

2 snakes in hands

February 1, 2, March 16 to 19
Sciensational Sssnakes!!
Chill out with some cool reptiles and amphibians, including many Ontario natives!

Woman holding skunk

February 8, 9
Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue
Meet some of the rescue’s non-releasable wildlife and hear their stories.

Woman holding eagle

February 22, 23, March 14, 15
Mountsberg Raptor Centre
Encounter unique birds of prey during this “nose-to-beak” experience.

Little Rays Logo

January 24, 31, February 14, March 6, April 10, 13
Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo
Witness intriguing animals including some of the world’s coolest reptiles.

Special Guests

RBG is pleased to welcome special guests to share their passion and expertise. Join us on Saturdays to find out how you can help with citizen science projects and Sundays for a new guest speaker each week. Check back for an updated list!

Friday March 20

How to get involved in monitoring turtles, frogs, and toads: Turtle Tally and FrogWatch
Donnell Gasbarrini, Adopt-A-Pond Coordinator, Toronto Zoo
The bad news is that reptile and amphibian species are facing some of the greatest risks of extinction, both locally and globally. The good news is that there is something that YOU can do to help! Please join Donnelle to learn about the Turtle Tally and FrogWatch Citizen Science Programs.

Thursday March 19

How does it feel to be born in Wood Buffalo National Park
Helen Panter, Public Outreach Education Officer
Have you ever wonder how it feels to be born in the largest national park in Canada? Discover how a whooping crane chick discover the gems of his birth place and how Parks Canada helped the recovery of the endangered Whooping Cranes.

Wednesday March 18

Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives
Aly Hyder Ali, Urban Projects Coordinator, Nature Canada
Do you own a cat? Does it go outside? Join Aly to discover more about Nature Canada’s national program, Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives which promotes keeping cats indoors. Learn how they are working with partners to promote the benefits to birds, the wildlife, and their communities.

Tuesday March 17

When Wildlife Needs a Helping Hand
Chantal Theijn, Hobbitstee
Perhaps you’ve seen or found an injured animal, but you are not sure what to do. Join Chantal from Hobbitstee to discover how to determine if wildlife is in need of help and how to help in a safe manner.

Monday March 16

Trees Please and a Pollinator Paradise: using citizen science to understand and protect biodiversity
Carolyn Zanchetta, Stewardship and Education Coordinator, Hamilton Naturalists’ Club
Get to know your urban forest with Trees Please and do your part for nature through the Pollinator Paradise Project. Help grow biodiversity in your own yard by gardening for nature using native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. Discover how together we are creating habitat across the city, and get on the map!

Sunday March 15

Why the Turtle Crossed the Road
Dr. Kristen Janke, Veterinarian working with the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre
Why do turtles spend so much time at the side of the road? This family-friendly, interactive talk will introduce you to the work of the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, explore the challenges turtles encounter getting to the other side, and how YOU can help turtles in need.

Saturday March 14

The 3 R’s of Urban Wildlife Care
Cara Contardi, Laurie and Tara, Urban Wildlife Care
Urban Wildlife Care, UWC, is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of native wildlife thanks to the dedication of volunteers. Join Laurie to discover some of the challenges and successes they’ve faced when working with wild animals. Visit them at their display to learn more about what they do and check out their cool t-shirts for sale.

Exhibit Events

Save the dates! Join us for special events during the winter exhibit. Some events are included in general admission or membership while others require special tickets. Check back for more information!

Journées bilingues / Bilingual Days

1 février, 7 mars, 13 mars, 4 avril February 1, March 7, March 13, April 4

Les Jardins botaniques royaux vous offre des programmes éducatifs bilingues pendant les premiers samedis de février, mars, et avril et aussi vendredi, le 13 mars.

RBG will be offering French/English bilingual educational programs on the first Saturday of February, March, and April as well as Friday, March 13.

RBG After Dark

Thursdays, February 6, March 5, April 2

Grab a drink, enjoy the music, and experience Wildlife Rescue 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. Event tickets required

Learn More

Docs at the Rock

Mondays and Tuesdays, March 2 to April 28*

1 p.m.; Rock Garden

Round out your exhibit experience at the Rock Garden with our engaging, inspiring nature-themed documentary series. RBG has partnered with the National Film Board of Canada to showcase an incredible catalogue of films that take an in-depth look at fascinating issues relating to conservation and sustainability.

Kick back in our beautiful Rock Garden Visitor Centre and enjoy a unique cinema experience on our nine- screen video wall. Shows begin at 1p.m. and vary in length.

Included in your General Admission or Membership.
*Excluding March 30 & 31

Films courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada

Monday March 2
The Whale and the Raven
1hr 40min

Director Mirjam Leuze’s The Whale and the Raven illuminates the many issues that have drawn whale researchers, the Gitga’at First Nation, and the Government of British Columbia into a complex conflict. As the people in the Great Bear Rainforest struggle to protect their territory against the pressure and promise of the gas industry, caught in between are the countless beings that call this place home.

Tuesday March 3
1hr 49min

Waterlife is a documentary film about the Great Lakes that follows the flow of the lakes’ water from the Nipigon River to the Atlantic Ocean. The film’s goal is to take viewers on a tour of an incredibly beautiful ecosystem that is facing complex challenges.

Monday March 9
1hr 30min

A poem for the planet, Nova Ami and Velcrow Ripper’s film Metamorphosis takes the pulse of our earth and bears witness to a moment of profound change: the loss of one world, and the birth of another. Metamorphosis captures the true scale of the global environmental crisis. Forest fires consume communities, species vanish, and entire ecosystems collapse.

Tuesday March 10
Being Caribou
1hr 30min

In this feature-length documentary, husband and wife team Karsten Heuer (wildlife biologist) and Leanne Allison (environmentalist) follow a herd of 120,000 caribou on foot across 1500 km of Arctic tundra. In following the herd’s migration, the couple hopes to raise awareness of the threats to the caribou’s survival. Along the way they brave Arctic weather, icy rivers, hordes of mosquitoes and a very hungry grizzly bear. Dramatic footage and video diaries combine to provide an intimate perspective of an epic expedition.

Monday March 16
Finding Farley

In this feature documentary, husband-and-wife team Karsten Heuer and Leanne Allison (Being Caribou), along with their 2-year-old son and dog, retrace the literary footsteps of Canadian writer Farley Mowat. They canoe east from Calgary towards the Prairies (the geography of Farley’s Born Naked and Owls in the Family) and then traverse the same paths that Mowat took more than 60 years earlier in Never Cry Wolf and People of the Deer. Their epic 5,000 km journey—trekking, sailing, portaging and paddling—ends in the Maritimes, at Mowat’s Nova Scotia summer home.

Tuesday March 17
Paddle to the Sea

Based on Holling C. Holling’s book of the same name, Paddle to the Sea is Bill Mason’s film adaptation of the classic tale of an Indigenous boy who sets out to carve a man and a canoe. Calling the man “Paddle to the Sea,” he sets his carving down on a frozen stream to await spring’s arrival. The film follows the adventures that befall the canoe on its long odyssey from Lake Superior to the sea.

Monday March 23
Four Wings and a Prayer
1hr 30min

Four Wings and a Prayer is a documentary about one of the world’s most beautiful and mysterious creatures, the Monarch butterfly. Nowhere in nature is there a more powerful mix of scientific marvel, awesome beauty, and epic struggle for survival. What scientists are at a loss to fully explain is how the Monarch makes a seemingly impossible three-thousand kilometre journey from Canada over mountains, through storms, and across large bodies of water to its small and remote over wintering grounds in the mountains of Mexico. Based on the book by Sue Halpern.

Monday March 24
Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie
1hr 30min

This feature documentary profiles the life and work of world-renowned Canadian scientist, educator, broadcaster and activist David Suzuki on the occasion of his last lecture in 2009—a lecture he describes as “a distillation of my life and thoughts, my legacy, what I want to say before I die.” As Suzuki reflects on his family history—including the persecution of Japanese Canadians during WWII—and his discovery of the power and beauty of the natural world, we are spurred to examine our own relationship to nature, scientific knowledge, and sustainability throughout modernity and beyond.

Monday April 6
Island Green / Blue Fin
25 min / 53 min

Island Green: This short documentary takes a look at the changing face of PEI’s agricultural industry. Once famous for its spuds and red mud, this tiny island province now has higher than average cancer and respiratory illness rates. Is there a link to industrialized farming? Rather than dwelling on PEI’s worrisome monocropping practices, Island Green dares to ask: What if PEI went entirely organic? The stirring words of PEI-born poet Tanya Davis are coupled with beautiful imagery and poignant stories from the island’s small but growing community of organic farmers, reminding us that we can rob the land only so much before it robs us of the nourishment we need for life. Island Green is ultimately a story of hope and healthy promise.

Blue Fin: Bluefin is a tale set in “the tuna capital of the world,” North Lake, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Director John Hopkins explores the mystery of why normally wary bluefin tuna no longer fear humans. These relentlessly hunted and “endangered” giant, some exceeding one thousand pounds, are now swarming fishing boats in great numbers after a long disappearance from overfishing decades earlier.

Tuesday April 7
Sovereign Soil
2hr 11min

At the far-flung edge of Canada’s boreal forest, outside the tiny sub-Arctic town of Dawson City, Yukon, a handful of unlikely farmers are growing everything from snow-covered brussels sprouts to apples. These modern-day agrarians have carved out small patches of fertile soil in an otherwise unforgiving expanse of isolated wilderness to make a living and a life.

School Programming

Book your field trip today!

There is no substitute for a direct experience in nature! At RBG the foundation of our programs is inquiry-based and experiential learning. Enjoy exhibit-centric programming from January 27 to April 17 for grades 1 to 8. Space is limited! Learn more about booking your programming and submit a program request at

View Programs

Support Conservation at RBG

These conservation projects are possible thanks to the generous support of RBG Members and donors. With a donation to Growing up Green, you can ensure an active, vibrant and healthy future for the children of today and tomorrow through our horticultural and conservation projects.