Youth and Adult Docent-Led Tours

The UC Botanical Garden offers docent-led tours for youth and adults. A guided tour provides a deeper experience at the Garden and is a wonderful and educational way to experience our collection. Please read on below for more information about our tour offerings and topics. 

If you would like a docent-led tour, you must submit a request by the 15th of the month prior to your desired tour date. For example, if you would like a tour in May, you must submit a request by April 15th. Thank you for your understanding!

To submit a request for a docent-led tour, please fill out the Request Form below: 

Docent-Led Tour Request Form

Please note that we do not schedule groups on Tuesdays or Weekends. 

Your tour is not confirmed until you receive a confirmation email from gardentours@berkeley.edu.

Tour Fees 
Youth (4-17) $8
Chaperones and Teachers for Youth Groups Free
Adult $20
Senior (65+) $17 
College Student (non-UC) $17
UC Berkeley or UC Affiliate Groups*  Free
*$100 donation for UC Groups is appreciated 

If cost is a barrier for your group, please contact gardentours@berkeley.edu. We do consider requests for free or reduced-rate admission on a case-by case basis.

All tour fees include Garden admission. There is a $100 minimum to schedule a group tour.  

Groups may enjoy a picnic lunch in the Garden with prior approval.

Tours are given rain or shine. Come prepared for the weather. The Garden is located in a canyon with a variety of elevations and terrain, including paved paths and unpaved gravel paths. We can plan tour routes to accommodate the mobility needs of tour participants. Please email gardentours@berkeley.edu for questions about accommodations for your group.

Chaperone Information for Youth Groups 

Youth tours require sufficient adult chaperones to ensure students are supervised by an adult at all times. Adult chaperones are provided free admission for docent-led tours. We require the following ratios for number of adult chaperones to students. Ideally, groups will also have one “floater” adult in addition to the minimum ratio:

  • (1) adult per (4) pre-K students
  • (1) adult per (5) K-3rd Grade students
  • (1) adult per (6) 4th-8th Grade students
  • (1) adult per (8) High School students

Tour Topics and Offerings

ADULT TOURS

Plants of the World 

Explore the Garden’s incredible diversity of plants from six continents, including environments as diverse as deserts, redwood forests, and wetlands. Plants are arranged naturalistically in the Garden according to region of origin – Asia, Australasia, California, Eastern North America, Mediterranean, Mexico/Central America, Deserts of the Americas, South America, and Southern Africa – allowing visitors to travel the world of plants. Each tour features the Garden’s seasonal highlights and unique collections.

Tours are generally 1 hour. For adult tours, we provide one docent for every 10 people. 

YOUTH TOURS

Docents of the UC Botanical Garden can tailor tours to fit the needs, interests, and age or grade level of your group. Tours provide a fun, educational activity for summer day camps and youth groups, as well as students. Youth tours are aligned with California State Education Standards. Teacher materials are available with some tours and will be included with your confirmation and invoice.

If this is your first visit to the Garden, we highly recommend selecting Discovering Flowers and Plants for K-12 groups and Plant Wonders for PreK Groups. 

PRE-K* / 45 MIN
PRIMARY GRADES / 60 MIN

Plant Wonders: a Sensory Walk
Use all five senses to experience nature in the Garden. Touch, look, listen, smell, and taste as you investigate plants from around the world. Learn about roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, and the life cycles of plants.

*For Pre-K Tours, all children must be at least 4 years of age at the time of the tour.

ALL GRADES / 60 MIN

Discovering Flowers and Plants
Develop your powers of observation as you explore plant communities from around the world. Why are there so many kinds of plants? How do their differences help them survive in their diverse environments? Discover the purpose of a flower – what the flower attracts, how, and why.

Seasonal Theme options for Discovering Flowers and Plants

Pollinators in the Garden (Best in spring and summer)
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 many plants and crops.

Plant Travelers (Best in fall)
Can plants really travel? Marvel at botanical fruit and seed adaptations, such as slingshots, parachutes, hitchhikers, helicopters and other mechanisms, that propel plant seeds around the Garden.

Patterns in Nature: Math in the Garden
Look closely at nature – trees, leaves, cones, cacti, ferns, flowers, honeycomb, and more. Discover geometric shapes, angles, symmetry, and patterns, even fractals and Fibonacci numbers! Learn how nature’s mathematical designs and patterns are adaptations helping plants to survive.

Trees in the Garden
How are trees different from other plants? How do they adapt to their environments, make food from sunlight, grow, and reproduce? In what ways are they essential to life on our planet? Visit trees from around the world, including the kinds of trees that lived when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and examples of the world’s tallest and most massive trees.

GRADES 3 & UP / 60 MIN

California Ecosystems and Habitats
Visit the Garden’s outstanding collection of California native plants. Explore plant communities including alpine fellfield, chaparral, coastal dune, desert, pine-oak woodland, pygmy forest, redwood forest, serpentine, and vernal pool. Compare the characteristics that allow plants to thrive in the Golden State’s unique ecosystems.

California Natives: Plants and People
Explore the creative ways California Indians have used plants in their everyday lives for food, shelter, clothing, tools, fiber, medicine, even music, toys and games. Which parts of the plant were used – roots, stems, leaves, seeds, bark – and why? We’ll examine California’s native plants and replicas of Indian artifacts to discover the plant knowledge, customs, and skills of California’s earliest peoples.

Evolution: Plants through Time
Journey through time from a barren earth 4.5 billion years ago to the astounding diversity of plants and animals today. Examine fossil evidence and discover plants in our collection that are relicts of ancient plants. See the kinds of plants dinosaurs might have eaten. Learn how plants have adapted over millions of years to a changing earth and climate, and have made it possible for other species to evolve.

Water Ecology: Exploring Ponds and Creeks (Not available in winter.)
Explore the Garden’s water habitats from gently flowing creeks to still ponds. Dip nets and examine plants, insects, microorganisms and seasonal creatures such as newts and tadpoles. How are pond and creek ecosystems different? Learn about photosynthesis, decomposers, and the importance of protecting these fragile environments.