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Outdoor garden areas opening Friday June 5. See announcement for details and FAQ.

Camps

Discovery Day Camps

Discovery Camps are about fun, education and respect set in one of the most biologically diverse natural areas in Canada.

We strive to provide hands-on, environmental-based programs that suit the ages, needs and interests of our participants. These award-winning programs feature hikes, games, crafts, activities and daily explorations of ecologically significant nature sanctuaries covering over 1000 hectares of wetlands, fields and forests. Our goal is to introduce your child to a lifetime of respect and appreciation for the natural world that sustains us all.

CAMP MISSION AND VALUES: Royal Botanical Gardens’ Discovery Camps strive to promote healthy environmental attitudes and lifestyles through safe, respectful, fun and diverse outdoor learning experiences.

Summer Camps

Week-Long Camps July and August

Day camps for children age 3 to 15. Registration Now available!

Learn More

Winter Camps

One-day camps during the winter break

What happens to nature in the winter? Register for outdoor and environmental education day camps for children aged 4 to 13 years old. Come for a day or for the whole week!

Check back for registration in late fall.

March Break Camps

One-day camps during March Break

Spend your March Break with us! From exploring our trails and forests, checking out our Animal Rescue exhibit, to following animal tracks and see where they go. Come for the day or the week – we have adventures that work for you!

Check back for registration in early January.

FAQ — Camp Guide for Parents

How Do I Register?

Programs are developed to meet the age and stage appropriateness of campers within the listed age range. Please register your child in the appropriate camp for their age.

Online Registration: Advanced registration is required. The best way to register is to do so online. When available, registration links will be posted here at rbg.ca/camps. You can find the links above, underneath the specific camp you are interested in (March Break, Summer, etc.)

Register In-Person: In person registrations are accepted at the Programs Booking Office between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and may be subject to input wait times. Registration forms available by request to programs@rbg.ca. Registrations are accepted on a first-come basis, and are not accepted if they are missing any required information. You must include a working email address as you will receive a confirmation email outlining more detailed information about camp, including what to bring. Please read this confirmation email with your family so that everyone has an understanding of camp needs.

In-person registrations are accepted and will be placed in sequence for input. No guarantees can be made for availability of camp spots for walk in registrations. Once your registration has been processed you will receive a confirmation email. If a registration is unable to be processed (due to lack of information, lack of available camp spots, etc.) you will be notified by RBG Program Bookings staff.

Reminders Before Registering:

  • The fastest and easiest way to register is to do so online at www.rbg.ca/camps
  • Full payment MUST accompany registration
  • Payments may be made by VISA, Mastercard, cheque, cash or debit (in person)
  • All NSF payments will be retried once by RBG and are subject to a $35 administration fee.
  • Incomplete registration forms ARE NOT PROCESSED and are returned– please ensure all fields are filled out accurately

What is the Policy for Cancellation and Refunds?

Royal Botanical Gardens reserves the right to cancel any camp program if the minimum number of participants is not reached. If RBG cancels a camp, registrants are fully refunded. Refunds are not issued for inclement weather. The Friday prior to the registered camp week is the cut-off date for camp refund requests by purchasers.

NEW FOR 2020: Summer camp 2020 registration change or modification requests must be submitted in writing via email at rbg.ca/contact-camps and will be put in sequence to be processed beginning February 10, 2020. You will receive notification from RBG upon completion of your request.

All changes to camp registration are subject to a non-refundable $25 administration fee.

More than 10 business days before the start of the registered camp week: Full refund less $25

Within 10 business days before the start of the registered camp week: Refund subject to a service fee (full-day camp: $100, half-day camp $25)

Changes to camp preference or date can be made prior to the start of the registered camp week, and are subject to availability.

What is the Family Open House?

Date to come! Find out what camp is all about while having some fun! Stop by and meet RBG’s Discovery Day Camps staff, play some games, make a craft and enjoy an evening in nature. This free evening is perfect for families who have been to camp before, who have registered for the summer already and for those who are thinking about joining us.

What Should My Camper Bring to Camp?

Campers need the following items to be prepared for all activities:

  • To ensure a healthier environment please pack a litterless, nut-free lunch and two snacks from home. Extra drinks or water bottles are encouraged.
  • The NIC is a nut-aware facility. Please ensure that lunches and snacks are free of nuts, nut products and traces of nuts. Snacks that “may contain traces of nuts or nut products” are not permitted. Food that does not comply with our policy will be replaced with a healthy alternative.
  • We are outside in all sorts of weather— please send your child with weather-appropriate clothing including hats, mitts and snow pants. Cotton gloves/mitts are not appropriate cold weather wear.
  • Please pack a pair of indoor shoes and an extra change of clothing.
  • Camp is a time to make friends, learn, and explore all of the wonders of our natural world. To facilitate this, please make sure electronic toys, music devices, video games, trading cards and toys in general stay at home.
  • Please ensure that everything brought to camp is labeled with your child’s name.
  • RBG is not responsible for any items your child loses at camp. Please label all of your child’s belongings with their first and last name and leave all valuables at home. Campers are asked not to bring items of any significant value. RBG does not provide refunds for damaged or lost belongings. Please do not bring electronic devices to camp.

Are There any Restrictions / Guidelines for Food at Camp?

Every camper needs to bring a healthy and peanut / nut safe lunch and snack for morning and afternoon snack breaks, as well as a refillable water bottle to nourish them throughout the day. To help us model good environmental behaviour, please pack a litterless lunch.

Pizza Days: Pick up a pizza order form while at camp and enjoy a hot pizza lunch on Friday. Please pack all regular snacks and drinks for the day (including for lunch). Campers in half-day programs do not participate in pizza days.

Nut Safe Policy: To ensure the safety and enjoyment of all of our campers, please ensure that lunches and snacks are free of peanuts, nuts, nut products and traces of nuts. Food that does not comply with our policy is replaced with a healthy alternative.

Who Are RBG Camp Leaders?

Camps are led by mature, experienced and passionate leaders who have a personal interest in ensuring that your child’s experience is one that will be cherished and remembered for many years. Our leaders are enthusiastic, carefully screened high school, college and university students or graduates. Many leaders and support staff have been with us for several years. These individuals provide a safe and enjoyable environment in which your child can learn, play and have fun. Camp leaders are assisted by supervisors, support staff, and junior staff, resulting in an average leader to camper ratio of 1:8. All of our staff members undergo intensive training that focuses on safety, healthy child development, environmental appreciation/education and program management. All leaders are certified in First Aid and canoeing. All staff members over the age of 18 are screened using local police criminal record checks.

Do you know someone who would be interested in becoming a camp leader? Current opportunities are posted at rbg.ca/careers

What Time Is Camp Available?

All full-day camp programs run Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Drop off begins at 8:30 a.m., pick up ends at 4:30 p.m.

Half-day programs for 3- and 4-year-olds run Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Drop off begins at 9 a.m., pick up ends at 12:30 p.m.

Extended care is available from 8 to 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. for full-day camps at a cost of $12 per day per child. Extended care takes place at your camp location. Please register in advance for extended care.

Which Location is my Camper In?

March Break Camp programs are based at one of two locations:

Nature Interpretive Centre in the Arboretum, 16A Old Guelph Road, Dundas

  • 4 to 5 year-olds – Animal Adventurers
  • 6 to 7 year-olds – Tree Trekkers
  • 8 to 9 year-olds – Eco-Explorers
  • 10 to 13 year-olds – Trailblazers

RBG Centre, 680 Plains Road West, Burlington

  • 4 to 5 year-olds – Rescue Rangers
  • 6 to 7 year-olds – Ecosystem All-Stars

Summer Camp programs are based at one of two locations:

Nature Interpretive Centre in the Arboretum, 16A Old Guelph Road, Dundas

  • 4- and 5-year-old camps: Going Buggy, Making Sense of Nature, Creature Craze
  • 6- and 7-year-old camps: Over Hill and Over Dale, Hit the Trails, Ecosystem All-Stars
  • All camps age 8 and up
  • Leadership Development Programs

RBG Centre, 680 Plains Road West, Burlington

  • Half-day programs for 3- and 4-year-olds
  • 4- and 5-year-old camps: Up in the Air, Forest of Imagination, Hands-On Nature
  • 6- and 7-year-old camps: Animal Wonders, Valley Adventures, Roots and Shoots

Canoeing

Camps that take place at the Nature Interpretive Centre participate in canoeing as part of the weekly program. Half-day programs do not participate in canoeing. We own a fleet of canoes that can accommodate over 30 people on the water at any one time. Experienced canoeing specialists lead canoe programs which stress comfort on the water, fun and skill-building. All canoe instructors are certified by the Ontario Recreational Canoeing Association. Canoeing takes place on Cootes Paradise Marsh, a shallow wetland which is located a short walk from the Nature Interpretive Centre. All canoeing equipment, including personal flotation devices and paddles, is provided.

Royal Botanical Gardens’ Discovery Camps promote active participation in all activities; however no camper is pressured to participate in any activity they are not comfortable with. If you do not wish your child to participate in canoeing please notify your child’s leaders and the camp coordinator.

Shuttle Bus

Discovery Camps employs a school bus for its use in order to fully explore and enjoy the multiple gardens and naturalized areas that we offer. Camp programs may utilize this service in order to explore other areas of our property. This is a valuable service that adds to the camp experience. Speak with your camp leaders if you wish to find out when your child’s camp group will be riding the bus. The bus is driven by a certified, licensed contract driver. Half-day camps for children 3- and 4-year-olds do not make use of the bus.

What are Dress-Up Days?

Dress-up day takes place every week. Join in on the fun and dress up to match the theme!

  • Thursday, July 2 – Canada Day
  • Wednesday, July 8 – Exploring the Great Outdoors
  • Wednesday, July 15 – Animalia
  • Wednesday, July 22 – Insects
  • Wednesday, July 29 – Going Green
  • Thursday, August 6 – Wild Science
  • Wednesday, August 12 – Crazy Hats
  • Wednesday, August 19 – Into the Forest
  • Wednesday, August 29 – Camp Heroes
  • Wednesday, September 2 – Under the Sea

FAQ — Safety and Wellness

Signing Campers In and Out

In order for anyone other than the person who dropped off and signed the camper into the program, to sign out and pick up a camper they must show photo identification and must be listed on the child’s registration as either: a) a primary caregiver; b) an individual authorized for pick up; c) an individual listed as an emergency contact. The individual must be over the age of 18 years. Any changes to these names on your initial registration must be noted in writing by letter addressed to Liz Jankowski, Education Programs Officer, Camp and Youth Programs and be accompanied by a listed caregiver’s signature.

Health and Safety Protocols

We are vigilant in our concern for the health and safety of all participants. Children are required to wash their hands several times a day, especially before they eat. We do not allow children to share food, drink or utensils. If your child is not feeling well please keep them home. If a child arrives at camp with an obvious illness, their caregivers are immediately contacted and asked to take the child home.

Weather Policy

RBG is committed to the safety of all program participants while taking part in outdoor activities and understands the need to balance the importance of outdoor exploration and outdoor play with the practical limitations that occur during extremely hot, cold, and cool and wet weather. Although we will spend time outdoors in all sorts of weather conditions, programs will be modified to ensure the mitigation of risk to program participants. Please speak with your camp leaders about daily program plans.

Behaviour Management Procedures

Royal Botanical Gardens’ Discovery Day Camps strive to create a positive and safe community through safe, respectful, fun and diverse learning experiences. Communication and coaching are used to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable experience. Behaviour that is seen to go against a positive atmosphere and is seen as unacceptable behaviour is dealt with swiftly and according to RBG’s behaviour management procedures. Campers who, given guidance and opportunities to correct their behaviour, fail to comply with these guidelines, are subject to progressive discipline up to and including having their privilege to participate in camp revoked. Refunds are not given for any camper who is sent home or removed from program for disciplinary reasons.

FAQ — Rights and Responsibilities

of Parents

  • to be observant of signs of distress or suspected negative incidents at camp
  • to report any suspected incidences of physical or emotional violence

of Campers

  • to enjoy the benefits of a safe and inclusive environment
  • to be observant of signs of distress or suspected negative incidents at camp
  • to respect camp expectations as well as the physical and emotional safety of others
  • to report any acts of physical or emotional behaviour against themselves or another camper

of Leaders and Volunteers

  • to be role models in words and actions
  • to be observant of signs of distress or suspected negative incidents at camp
  • to report and record all incidences of physical or emotional violence
  • to handle all situations with compassion and objectivity

Help Send a Child to Camp

Please consider increasing your camp registration fee with a charitable gift to Green Angels. Your generous donation provides children and families in financial need the opportunity to explore, learn and let their imagination grow in a safe environment – the natural world of Royal Botanical Gardens. Following your online registration you are prompted to top-up your fee with a charitable gift. Please give generously and be a Green Angel to a child in need today.

Junior Leaders

Have the fun of camp but reap the benefits of being a leader! Work with an enthusiastic staff team who share a common interest and learn more about the environment, camping and working with children. Junior leaders learn to care for children in an educational setting through training, job shadowing and supported leadership activities. Junior staff have the opportunity to lead games, crafts, create and brainstorm activities and facilitate camp programs.

About RBG's Junior Leader Program

Acceptance into this program is based on leadership experience, teamwork and flexibility as well as a sense of initiative and a willingness to learn new skills.

Application Requirements for Junior Staff

  • 14 years of age or older
  • Leadership experience (i.e. babysitting, Scout/Guide helper, sports captain, previous Royal Botanical Gardens leadership training)
  • Teamwork skills and flexibility; self-initiative and willingness to learn
  • Preference given to those who have outdoor experience, experience working with children in an organized environment, a demonstrated interest in outdoor education/environmental science, pure science or teaching or those who have participated in a previous leadership training at Royal Botanical Gardens.

Training

All participants in our Summer Junior Staff program must participate in a weekend training session in June. Canoe certification is required in advance of the start of camp, at the Junior Staff participant’s expense.

How to Apply

Winter and March Break Camps: express your interest at the “Contact Camps” form below.

Summer Camp: Download and fill out the Junior Leader Questionnaire found at the link below. Send in the completed questionnaire, a résumé, and a letter outlining your interest in the program by May 8, 2020. Interviews for qualified candidates begin in the spring and continue until positions have been filled.

Download questionnaire (pdf)

Submit by email (preferred): camps@rbg.ca

Submit by mail: Attention: Manager, Customer Programs, Royal Botanical Gardens, P.O. Box 399, Hamilton, ON L8N 3H8

Submit in person: Nature Interpretive Centre/Arboretum, 16A Old Guelph Road, Dundas, ON L9H 5Y5

Contact the Education Team

Have a specific question not answered here? Send us a message using the form below! If you have a child in camp and are looking to contact the team at the Nature Interpretive Centre, give us a call at 905-527-1158 ext. 340. For questions about the camp registration process, call 905-527-1158 ext. 270.

Contact Our Camps Team

  • Name * Required
  • Are you currently a member? * Required
  • Please note: we will respond to your question during office hours, within a few business days. If your inquiry is urgent, give us a call at 905-527-1158.