Winter Exhibit: Wildlife Rescue

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

Sponsored by:
chch TV logo

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.

 Included in your General Admission or Membership

ActivitiesAnimal ShowsExhibit Events

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.

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


interpreter holding a blandings turtle with face to the camera

Discovery @ RBG

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*)

Click the activity name for more details


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.
Storytime >>

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)

Click the activity name for more details


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.
Storytime >>

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 rbg.ca/visitorevents 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.

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.

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.

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.

February 1, 2, March 16 to 19

Sciensational Sssnakes!!

Chill out with some cool reptiles and amphibians, including many Ontario natives!

February 8, 9

Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue

Meet some of the rescue’s non-releasable wildlife and hear their stories.

February 22, 23, March 14, 15

Mountsberg Raptor Centre

Encounter unique birds of prey during this “nose-to-beak” experience.


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!

View Past Guests >>

Saturday January 18

Who’s at your feeder?

Karin Davidson-Taylor, Education Officer, Royal Botanical Gardens

A bright red cardinal at a feeder is always special, but there are lots of other birds that depend on your birdfeeder for food and scientists want to know. Join Karin to discover how your observations can help contribute real data to Project FeederWatch.

Sunday January 19

Bringing Back the Salmon

Kat Lucas, Aqua-Links Program Assistant, Toronto Zoo

Did you know the Toronto Zoo is working to bring Atlantic Salmon back into the Great Lakes? Atlantic Salmon are locally extinct and the Zoo is helping schools raise and release them into the Great Lakes. Come learn about Atlantic Salmon and how we can protect their habitat!

Saturday January 25

Falling for Biodiversity: The 2019 Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System Bioblitz

Grace Hunder, BioBlitz Coordinator, Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System

The lands and waters of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System are a Canadian biodiversity hotspot. Join Grace to learn how researchers and the public worked together to document the area's plant and wildlife species at the third annual Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System BioBlitz last year.

Sunday January 26

Threats facing migratory songbirds: what we can do to help

Jane Hudecki, Loggerhead Shrike Recovery Program Coordinator, Wildlife Preservation Canada

Join Jane as she discusses her Master's research and the threats songbirds face along their migration routes. Learn what you can do to help birds journey safely across North America!

Saturday February 1

Introducing iNaturalist / Une introduction à iNaturalist

Danielle Barrett, Resource Interpreter, Royal Botanical Gardens

Have you ever taken a picture of a plant or animal and wondered what it was? Put your observations to good use. Danielle will introduce you to iNaturalist, a citizen science app, that helps you explore, identify, and share your observations from the natural world.

Sunday February 2

Making Cootes a Paradise Again

Jen Bowman, Aquatic Ecologist, Royal Botanical Gardens

Recovery of Cootes Paradise Marsh, the longest remaining natural shoreline in the western end of Lake Ontario, has been underway since the 1940s. Discover Cootes Paradise history including impacts from the watershed and the Harbour, its recovery, and how it is vital for the biodiversity in the area

Pop-Up Display: Wetland Wonders

Bay Area Restoration Council. 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Saturday February 8

The Power of your Pictures

Jessica Stillman, School Outreach Coordinator, Bronte Creek Provincial Park

Pictures capture the memories, beauty, and time we don’t want to forget and now they are also the keepers of scientific discoveries. Find out how easy it is for you to contribute to an online database called iNaturalist and help protect the species and places we love.

Sunday February 9

Urban Birds: How are they doing and what can you do?

Andrés Jiménez, Urban Program Coordinator, Bird Studies Canada

If you can’t tell a robin from a falcon, this talk is for you. Join Andrés in an inspiring talk that will spark a love for birds. Discover bird basics, how birds are doing in Canada and North America, and what you can do to help because every bird matters.

Saturday February 15

Do you hear what I hear?

Rob Porter, Hamilton Naturalists' Club & Host/creator of "Songbirding" Podcast

The soundscape of Hamilton is made up of both natural and man-made sounds. Join Rob to discover what he and the Hamilton Bioacoustic Research Project volunteers have found in recordings of natural spaces around Hamilton in the past year. Birds, coyotes, thunderstorms, and more!

Sunday February 16

Keeping Pets and Wildlife Safe: Animal Guardians Unite!

Felicia Radassao, Ecological Assistant, Royal Botanical Gardens

Outdoor cats and free-roaming dogs can wreak havoc on local wildlife in protected spaces and within our communities. Outdoor/free roaming pets can also face dangers to their health and wellbeing. Learn how we can coexist with local wildlife and allow our pets to safely enjoy the outdoors.

Friday February 21

Marvels of Madagascar

Travis Steffens, Executive Director, Planet Madagascar & Assistant Professor, University of Guelph

The “Red Island”, the “Eighth Continent”, the “Island of Lemurs” – no matter what you call it Madagascar is the most singular place in the world. From leaping lemurs to strange leaf-tailed geckos, did we mention web throwing spiders? Find out what’s happening in this unique extremely biodiverse country.

Saturday February 22

Wildlife Preservation Canada’s Reptile and Amphibian Initiative

Hannah McCurdy-Adams, Reptile and Amphibian Program Development Coordinator, Wildlife Preservation Canada

No other class of wildlife in Canada faces a greater risk of extinction than reptiles and amphibians. More than one third of the over 40 amphibian and reptile species at risk need some form of hands-on intervention to survive. Discover what staff at Wildlife Preservation Canada are doing for reptiles and amphibians.

Sunday February 23

Turtle-y Awesome!

Sarah Richer, Species at Risk (SAR) Biologist, Royal Botanical Gardens

The survival and preservation of turtles at RBG depends on the success of RBG’s turtle conservation work, which in turn depends on everyone’s cooperation – but you don’t need to be a biologist to make a difference! Discover how you can help RBG with its Site-Specific Turtle Recovery Plan.

Saturday February 29

Plants, Fungi, and Birds Oh My

Meghan Croll, Volunteer Coordinator, Bruce Trail Conservancy

Bruce Trail Conservancy needs your help while you are out on the trails. They are looking for citizen scientists to help them discover the diversity and distribution of plants, fungi, and birds on their trails. Join Meghan to discover how your observations can be documented using the powerful online tool — iNaturalist.

Sunday March 1

Eastern Prairie Fringed-orchid: A rare orchid with fascinating ecology 

Pauline Catling, Ecologist

There are over 50 orchids in Ontario! Join Pauline to learn about the rare native terrestrial orchid Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid (Platanthera leucophaea). Explore the complex interactions, the threats and conservation efforts and challenges being faced to preserve this beautiful species.

Saturday March 7

Introducing iNaturalist / Une introduction à iNaturalist (Bilingual)

Danielle Barrette, Resource Interpreter, RBG

Have you ever taken a picture of a plant or animal while and wondered what it was? Put your observations to good use. Danielle will introduce you to iNaturalist, a citizen science app, that helps you explore, identify, and share your observations from the natural world.

Sunday March 8

Wood-poppy Rescue

Nadia Cavallin, Herbarium Curator, RBG

The Wood-poppy is an endangered wildflower. In Canada, it is found in only three tiny, fragmented areas in the very northern tip of its range near London, Ontario. Discover how invasive species, recreational activities, and development are impacting this special plant and what RBG is doing to help.

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.

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.


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!

Je Parle Francais

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.

Looking up at a giant bird of paradise plant, lit with coloured lights

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

woman and girl looking up at station in the exhibit, vetrinary equipment on the shelf in front of them

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 rbg.ca/teacherportal

View Programs

Island in Cootes ParadiseIsland in Cootes Paradise

Support Conservation at RBG

Royal Botanical Gardens is working hard to preserve and restore our Nature Sanctuaries. Of particular importance is Project Paradise, the largest restoration project of its kind in North America, working to restore the aquatic habitats of Cootes Paradise and Grindstone Creek marshes.

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.

Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is the largest botanical garden in Canada, a National Historic Site, and registered charitable organization with a mandate to bring together people, plants and nature.


children smelling Bird of Paradise Flowers

Hours and Admission

We dedicate our expertise in horticulture, conservation, science and education to connect people, plants and place for the purpose of nurturing and preserving healthy growing life on our planet.

Learn More

Pink Garden Roses in full bloom

Membership

Get access to the gardens all year long (including our winter exhibit) with an RBG membership!

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Iris beds in Laking Garden

Directions and Parking

RBG cosists of four formal gardens contained within 1,100 hectares of nature reserve, on the border of Hamilton and Burlington Ontario.

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