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Early-Years Play

Early-Years Play: Oaks and Acorns Nature 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.

About Oaks and Acorns

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

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

  • infant playing in leaves
  • two children standing in the snow
  • Aerial 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

Program Dates

Registration for fall / late-fall sessions opens July 31 at 11 a.m.

Fall Sessions

9:30 to 11:30 a.m. 5 sessions to choose from:

  • Tuesdays: September 17, 24, October 1, 8, 15, 22
  • Wednesdays: September 18, 25, October 2, 9, 16, 23
  • Thursdays: September 19, 26, October 3, 10, 17, 24
  • Fridays: September 20, 27, October 4, 11, 18, 25
  • Saturdays: September 21, 28, October 5, 19, 26, November 2

Late-Fall Sessions

9:30 to 11:30 a.m. 5 sessions to choose from:

  • Tuesdays: November 5, 12, 19, 26, December 3, 10
  • Wednesdays: November 6, 13, 20, 27, December 4, 11
  • Thursdays: November 7, 14, 21, 28, December 5, 12
  • Fridays: November 8, 15, 22, 29, December 6, 13
  • Saturdays: November 9, 16, 23, 30, December 7, 14

Pricing and Registration

Pre-registration is required for all early-years programming, available online.

Type of Registration Price
Session 6-Week Pass
One day per week for the duration of the season
$120/child (+ HST & $1 Service Fee)
Member discount: 10%
  • 16 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.

Accessing Member Discount

RBG Members receive 10% off most RBG Experiences programming when logged into your member account.

If you’re a member, do NOT create a new account; instead activate your member account by using “forgot password” option using the email address connected to your membership.

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 is the deadline for registration?

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

What is the cancellation policy?

Royal Botanical Gardens reserves the right to cancel any program if the minimum number of participants is not reached. If RBG cancels a program, registrants are fully refunded. Refunds are not issued for inclement weather.

5 business days prior to the registered program is the cut-off date for program refund requests by purchasers. Program registration change or modification requests must be submitted in writing to and will be put in sequence to be processed. All changes to program registration are subject to a non-refundable administration fee:

  • More than 10 business days before the start of the registered program: Full refund less 10% of the registration fee.
  • Within 10 business days before the start of the registered program: Full refund less 25% of the registration fee.

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 your Oaks and Acorns session

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