Skip to content
COVID-19 Closures: Royal Botanical Gardens temporarily closed as of Dec 26. Trails remain open.

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.

  • Children Playing in Sandbox
  • Monarch On Purple Verbana Bloom
  • Camp Staff With Children In Circle Credit Markzelinzki.com
  • Kippax Garden in Hendrie Park in Bloom
  • Hendrie Park Pink Jolie Veranda Rose

Oaks & Acorns Nature Play

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

Held Monday, Wednesday, Friday 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.

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, the morning of their attendance in an Oaks and Acorns program. With this screening complete, child participants will not be required to wear a face covering or mask during the program. Adults and staff will be required to keep face coverings or masks on for the duration of the program.

Program Dates

Winter Session

9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

To be announced

Available Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Coming Soon!
Early-Spring Session

9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

To be announced

Available Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Coming Soon!

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 Program $18/child (+ Service Fee)
  • 15 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 
  • $100 per child for 6-week Session Pass 
  • $18 per child for a single 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 (November), 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.

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?

To keep our sessions small and comply with organization, municipal, and provincial health guidelines, we request a maximum of one adult attend per child registration.

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. Participants will receive notification via email no less than 2 hours before program if extreme weather is predicted. In the event of an extreme weather cancellation, payment for that day’s program will be refunded.

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

COVID assessment form: We will be asking families to complete a self-assessment form prior to their first 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 and the day’s program will be refunded to them.

Masks: Once the COVID assessment form has been completed with the first four answers indicating NO, your child will be able to attend the Oaks and Acorns program without wearing a mask. We will still ask that all adults, including parents, staff, and administrators, wear a mask for the duration of program.

Small group sizes: To keep our sessions small and comply with organization, municipal, and provincial health guidelines, we request a maximum of one adult attend per child registration.

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.

Can my child’s sibling attend a session?

Absolutely! We ask that if your child’s sibling attends a session, they register as well by the program deadline. This allows us to keep our numbers under our group size cap and ensure the child’s COVID assessment is filled out before the day of program.

Can I bring anyone else to a session?

To avoid disappointment (and to ensure our group complies with legal gathering limits) if you are planning to bring anyone other thayour registered child, please contact us to ensure there is space for them to come.

What is the deadline for registration?

We close registration at 1:00pm, 2 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).