About Us


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The UC Botanical Garden offers a variety of tours. Each tour can be designed to accommodate your needs. Any of the topics below can be given for adults and special groups.
Please contact Grace Weltner at gracew@berkeley.edu


We offer a wide array of tours suited for different areas of interest and levels of plant/garden knowledge.  Upon request, all of the tours listed in this brochure can be modified for an adult audience. With advance notice, tours can be developed and tailored to a group’s special interests.  Call the tour scheduler to help you plan your tour.

Plants of the World - General Tour of the Garden
Explore the Garden’s incredible diversity of plants from six continents, including environments as diverse as deserts, tropical forests, redwood forests, and wetlands.  Each tour is a unique experience focused on plants at their seasonal best, a variety of themes, and your interests.

Beautiful Gardening with Waterwise Plants:
See how you can create a beautiful garden using plants with minimal water requirements.  Our unique collection from around the world provides attractive plant candidates that will thrive in our Mediterranean climate.  You will see annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees in a dazzling array of colors, forms, and textures.

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Docents of the UC Botanical Garden will tailor tours to fit the needs, interests, and age or grade level of your group.  Tours are offered year round, providing a fun, educational activity for summer day camps and youth groups, as well as students. Some tours accommodate a limited number of classes at one time. Children’s tours match California State Education Standards.  Teacher materials are available with some tours and will be included with your confirmation and invoice.

Awaken Your Senses (Primary; 60 min.)
Use all five senses to explore plants from around the world. Touch, look, listen, smell, and taste as you learn about roots, leaves, flowers, fruit, seeds, and the life cycles of diverse and amazing plants.

Discovering Flowers and Plants (Primary; 60 min.)
Investigate an amazing variety of plants and flowers from around the world as you explore the Garden’s paths. Why are there so many different kinds of plants? What are their flowers for? Learn the answers to these questions and so much more.

Math in the Garden: Patterns in Nature (All grades; 60 - 75 min.)
Develop your mathematical skills and powers of observation as you apply them to the beauty and diversity of plants surrounding you in the Garden. Look for geometric shapes, angles, symmetry, and patterns, even fractals and Fibonacci numbers! Discover how nature’s designs are adaptations helping plants to survive. Activities will be selected to be grade-level appropriate.

Plant Travelers (All grades; 60 min.)
Can plants really travel? Marvel at the slingshots, parachutes, hitchhikers, helicopters and other mechanisms that propel plant seeds around the Garden. Best in Fall.

Extreme Environments: Glass House Collections (All grades; 75 min.)
How do plants survive in diverse ecosystems?  Visit three unique glass houses: the Arid House, with one of the largest collections of cacti and succulents in the country; the Orchid, Fern and Carnivorous Plant House; and the Tropical House, where you feel as though you’re in a rainforest.  Discover remarkable relationships between plants and animals. Learn about environments and plant adaptations found in widely different places around the globe.  This is a mostly indoor tour great for rainy winter months.

Water Ecology: Ponds and Creeks (Grades 2 & up; 75 min.)
Visit the Garden’s creeks. Dip nets into the Garden’s many ponds. Be amazed by the plants, insects, and microorganisms you’ll discover in these watery environments. Investigate the crucial role of photosynthesis and decomposers as you compare and contrast the Garden’s pond and creek ecosystems.

Trees in the Garden (Grades 3 & up; 60 - 75 min.)
What is a tree? How do they get so tall? Why are they important to our planet? Discover how a tree is different from other plants, how they adapt to their environments, how they make food from sunlight, and how they grow and reproduce. Learn about their life cycles, and the ecosystems they inhabit. Visit trees from around the world; see examples of the planet’s tallest and most massive organisms, as well as those that lived when the dinosaurs roamed the earth.

A Tropical Experience (Grades 3 & up; 60 - 75 min.)
The Earth’s tropics are home to ecosystems as diverse as rainforests and deserts. Investigate an amazing variety of tropical plants as you explore the Garden’s Tropical House, Mexican Cloud Forest, and desert areas. Compare and contrast the tropics to our own Bay Area. Get to know the plants that provide bananas, vanilla, chocolate, and more!

California Ecosystems and Habitats (Grades 3 & up; 60 - 75 min.)
Explore the Garden’s outstanding collection of California native plants to learn how they adapted to specific areas within the Golden State. Visit different ecosystems and plant communities including alpine slope, chaparral, coastal dune, desert, pineoak woodland, pygmy forest, redwood forest, serpentine, and a vernal pool. Compare and contrast the characteristics that allow plants to exist in diverse habitats.

California Natives: Plants and People (Grades 3 & up; 75 - 90 min.)
How could people get everything they need from the natural environment without stores? Learn about the plants used by California Indians for food, shelter, clothing, tools, medicine, games, and music. Become familiar with the varied customs and skills of California’s earliest human inhabitants.

Ethnobotany: People Using Plants (Grades 3 & up; 60 - 75 min.)
People depend on plants. We eat them, wear them, and build with them. We use them for medicines and marvel at their beauty. Discover how different peoples and cultures have used plants in their lives as you visit the herb and crop gardens, the desert, the redwood forest, the rainforest, and the California plant communities.

Foods of the Americas (Grades 3 & up; 75 - 90 min; $7.50/student.)
Each fall we set up an educational marketplace filled with produce domesticated by ancient farmers in the Americas. These include varieties of corn, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, beans, chocolate, amaranth, quinoa, and squash. See how they actually develop from soil to harvest in our Crops of the World Garden and Tropical House. Fee also covers pre- & post-tour classroom materials and consumables during the tour. Offered in October only. Enrollment limited. Book by September 15.

Pollinators in the Garden (Grades 3 & up; 60 - 75 min.)
The bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds you can observe in the Garden are just some of the world’s 200,000 species of pollinators. Discover how insects, birds, bats, and wind are essential in the life cycles of our crops and other plants. Learn how flower forms and colors relate to their pollinators. Best in Spring and Summer.

Evolution: Plants through Time (Grades 4 & up; 75 - 90 min.)
How have plants adapted to the changing conditions on earth? Which plants living today are connected to ancient times? Trace the story of plant evolution from a hostile, barren earth 4.5 billion years ago to the astounding diversity of plants today. We’ll use our knowledge of plate tectonics, climate change, and the fossil record to try to understand the key changes that have allowed these organisms to emerge and survive. We’ll investigate examples of the first land plants, early vascular plants, ancient seed plants, conifers, flowering plants, and grasses.

Plants of the World (Grades 4 & up; 60 - 75min.)
Plants grow on every continent in diverse ecosystems from desert to rainforest. Discover how such different environments shape plant forms and life cycles, creating incredible diversity. Investigate plant communities from California to South America, from the Mediterranean to Africa, and from Asia to Australia.

In-School Program: Grocery Store Botany (Primary; 45 - 60 min)
Docents will visit your classroom with a lively presentation and a diverse collection of edible plants representing all the plant parts: roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruit, and seeds/nuts.  Students will touch, smell, and taste as they learn about what plants need and their vital role in our lives.  Teachers may request to keep the vegetables for class use.


School or Adult Scheduling

All docent-let tours must be scheduled by the 15th of the month before your desired tour date.

Tours can be scheduled mornings or afternoons, Monday through Sunday.

Tours are one hour long unless otherwise stated.

For youth tours, we provide one dicent per every6 students.

For adult tours, we provide one docent for every 10 adults.

Tours given rain or shine.

Student groups must provide one chaperone for every 6 students.
Student groups without adequate number of chaperones may be denied admittance.

If you wish to visit the Garden without arranging a docent-led tour, please call 510-643-2755 in advance so that we may help to facilitate
your group's visit to the Garden. All groups visiting the Garden are required to pay $20 for a staff led introduction.


Adults $100 for 10
Each additional person: Seniors (65+) $10.00, Adults $12.00
Children $6.50
College Students $6.5


For individuals: With paid admission, we offer free docent-led tours year-round on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 PM.

The Garden Education staff and docents have created several self-guided tours and accompanying tour brochures. Click here to learn more about available options.

Free tours are not for organized groups due to limited space.


In order to minimize the impact on the plant collection, ensure the safety of visitors, and to provide your group with the best educational experience we do not admit groups larger than 18 students (+3 chaperones) on our “First Free Thursdays.” We ask that you to choose one of the following options:

Thank you for visiting the UC Botanical Garden today. The University of California Botanical Garden is a living museum open to the public featuring one of the most diverse plant collections in the United States. We are excited to provide an educational experience for your group.

All visitors are required to observe the following Garden rules:

The Garden can accommodate a limited number of children at any given time. If you choose to drop-in to the Garden on any day in the future, your group may be turned away. Parking is never guaranteed.

For College/University Classes:

UC Botanical Garden admission is free to UC Berkeley faculty, staff and students with ID. UC Classes are always welcome to use the Garden for educational purposes with advanced notice. To facilitate your visit and to ensure that we are open, please send an e-mail request to gracew@berkeley.edu

For Instructors who wish to use the Garden for educational purposes as a part of a course please fill out the College Course Use form to request gratis admission and either e-mail to gracew@berkeley.edu, mail in: 200 Centennial Drive, Berkeley, CA 94720, or fax to 510-642-5045. We will contact you only if there is a conflict with the date requested.

Please note: The Garden is closed on the first Tuesday of every month.

For instructors who wish to have a tour guide accompany their class please review the scheduled tour topics and contact the tour scheduler to make arrangements.

If you have questions about how the Garden can support your instruction, at Berkeley or another schools' degree program, please contact Grace Weltner 510-643-7265 for assistance.

UC Botanical Garden Docent Training 2013-14:

Do you enjoy working with people of all ages? Do you have a love of plants and nature you'd like to share with others? You can put those assets to work for the UC Botanical Garden by becoming a Docent. We educate thousands of school children and adults each year about plants and the natural environment. Our docents create memorable and exciting learning experiences for small groups of school children, university students, and the general public.

Training is provided by the Garden's expert horticultural staff, experienced docents, and by plant specialists from UC Berkeley and the community. Upon successful completion of the training program and requirements, the commitment for leading tours is a minimum of two tours per month for at least two years post graduation.

Weekly sessions from August 26, 2013 through March 31, 2014

Mondays 1-4 pm, except holidays

Contact for fee information, scholarship available. Those with American Sign Language skills encouraged to apply, specific scholarships available.

Click here for a Docent Training Application

For more information and to apply for Docent Training, contact:
Grace Pegan Weltner
Volunteer & Tour Coordinator