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Early-Years Play

Early-Years Play

RBG offers outdoor education programs for little explorers! Join us with your 2 to 5 year old throughout the year for fun and games as we explore and learn about our natural world.

Current Program: Oaks and Acorns Nature Play. Keep reading for more details.


Considering the current health climate, RBG has decided to delay the launch of our winter Oaks and Acorns session. Please check on this website in the coming weeks for updates to our winter session timeline. 

  • infant playing in leaves
  • two children standing in the snow
  • Arial View Arboretum In Fall Credit
  • four young children playing in a forest
  • two young children dressed in winter snow attire sitting on a snow pile

Oaks & Acorns Nature Play

Move, create, and discover during our morning early-years programs for children and caregivers. 

Held Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings behind the Nature Centre in our Nature Play Space, this nature-based program for 2-5 year-olds is designed to inspire a life-long love of nature and the outdoors. Explore the natural world together through nature walks, storytelling, imaginative and loose parts play, and hands-on discovery, with all programs modified for safe outdoor interaction. This program takes place entirely outdoors.

The health and safety of participants and staff at RBG is our highest priority. Families will be required to complete a COVID-19 screening, to be done online at home, each morning of their attendance in an Oaks and Acorns program.

All participants, including children 2+, adults, and staff will be required to keep face coverings or masks on for the duration of the program.

Program Dates


Late Winter Session  

9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Dates to be announced

Available Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays

To be announced
Spring Session  

9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Dates to be announced

Available Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays

To be announced

Pricing and Registration

Pre-registration is required for all early-years programming, available online via the links above. If you have any questions about the registration process, please give us a call at 905-527-1158 ext 270.

Type of Registration Price
Session Pass
One day per week for the duration of the season
$100/child (+ Service Fee)
Single Session $18/child (+ Service Fee)
Additional Child and 1 adult (must be from same household) $18/child (+ Service Fee)
  • 10 children maximum per program 
  • Pre-Registration is required 
  • Please Note: this is not a drop off program, you must stay with your child for the duration of the program 
  • All fees include complimentary admission for 1 parent/caregiver 
  • Program fee includes admission to all RBG garden areas for the day.

RBG Members receive 10% off when using the RBG Experiences (courses and programs) discount code, sent with the latest digital edition of Paradise Found, or in your Membership purchase / renewal paperwork.

Held at the Arboretum

Early-Years Play programming is held at RBG’s Arboretum, 16 Old Guelph Road, Hamilton ON.

The Arboretum is more like an English landscape park than a garden. As its name implies, this is the place where you can see a wide variety of trees and other woody plants up close. It is especially beautiful in spring and fall.

More Family Fun

Every trip to RBG is a whole new adventure! Whether you’re visiting an interactive exhibit, learning a new skill, or just exploring the great outdoors, RBG offers year-round experiences that bring your family closer to nature.

Program FAQ

Do attending adults require a ticket?

Tickets are required for attending children only. All fees include complimentary admission for 1 parent/caregiver per child.

Please Note: this is not a drop off program, you must stay with your child for the duration of the program.

How many adults may attend the program?

All fees include complimentary admission for 1 parent/caregiver per child.  

Does this program run in inclement weather?

Oaks and Acorns strives to inspire in children a life-long love of nature, in all seasons and all weather. We will only cancel program in the event of extreme weather such as high winds or extreme cold. If class is cancelled due to inclement weather, you will be notified by email at least one hour prior to class start time.  

If a program is cancelled or postponed, a message will be posted on the Program Update Line at (905) 527-1158 ext. 404 at least one hour before the program is due to start. If the weather seems questionable, it is your responsibility to verify that your program is being offered. 

What health and safety measures are being taken for this program?

COVID assessment form: We will be asking families to complete a COVID assessment form prior to each Oaks and Acorns program. Participants are asked to conduct this screening the morning of each program. If participants fail the screening for any reason, they are asked to stay home.

Masks: Once the COVID assessment form has been completed and the screening passed, you and your child will be able to attend the Oaks and Acorns program. We will require all participants ages 2 and up to wear a well fitting mask for the duration of the program.

Physical Distancing: We understand that in an early years play environment and when working with children, physical distancing can be challenging and may not be fully possible. While moments of close contact during these programs may be unavoidable at times, health and safety practices are strictly followed.

Contact tracing: We track participant attendance daily and gather participant contact information during the registration process.

Safe outdoor interaction and materials use: Our staff have worked hard to develop activities that maintain safe outdoor interaction as recommended by the Ontario Ministries of Health and Education. Additionally, we use materials that can be easily sanitized after program, or between uses if the material in question will be used by multiple participants.

Royal Botanical Gardens understands and respects the rights of all staff, volunteers, and program participants to be protected from infectious diseases.  Royal Botanical Gardens follows the public health and workplace safety measures and regulations as indicated by local public health units, local municipalities, and the Province of Ontario. As such, program participants (including accompanying individuals) are mandatorily required to adhere to the processes and policies that are put in place to mitigate effects of infectious diseases.  Such processes and policies include, but are not limited to: face coverings, daily medical screening, and physical distancing.  Royal Botanical Gardens will make aware all program participants of required actions and measures in a reasonable amount of time before the start of a program and with a reasonable amount of time if and as regulations change within a program’s run time.  It is the right of Royal Botanical Gardens to restrict the access to or remove from its programs and properties to any individual who does not adhere to such processes and policies.

What is the deadline for registration?

We close registration at 1:00pm, 10 days before the start of program.

Where does this program take place?

Oaks and Acorns takes place at the playspace behind our Nature Interpretive Centre, located in the Arboretum: 16 Old Guelph Road, Waterdown.

Where do I park?

Participants may park in any of the parking spaces available at the Arboretum: angled parking near the entrance, the parking circle, or gravel parking lot near the entrance.

Registration for this program includes a free parking pass to be displayed on your dash during program. This pass is good through the final date of Oaks and Acorns, and entitles you to free parking at all of RBG’s paid parking locations (Arboretum off-peak season and Cherry Hill Gate).