Education programs - Geelong Botanic Gardens

Experience the beautiful learning environment of the Geelong Botanic Gardens.  

Our themed education programs engage students in the world of plants and the natural environment. Hands-on activities stimulate the senses and give students real outdoor learning experiences surrounded by stunning plants.

Our programs receive financial support from the Friends of Geelong Botanic Gardens.

Programs and content



Introducing the Botanic Gardens to Preschools Preschool
  • Introduce your students to the Botanic Gardens
  • Explore the vegetable garden and discover where our favourite veggies grow
  • Hug a tree and run your hands along the hedges
  • Smell the roses ... and the mulch.
Bugs, birds and other beasties Prep - Grade 2

Gardens are not just for plants – without a healthy insect population we would not have healthy plants!

Students learn about the animals that share our Gardens through stories and hands-on exploration.

Explore the world of the mini-beasts under the mulch using our class set of magnifying glasses, and look wider to find our flying visitors.

Follow your nose Prep - Grade 2

The gardens offer a rich sensory experience and this program concentrates on the senses of smell and touch.

Children enjoy a story about noses, explore the garden to find smelly plants and make a “smell bag” to take home.

Plants, people and me Prep - Grade 4

Students explore the Gardens and hear stories about trees, plant uses, food and the natural environment. Our educators use a range of resources to help students connect with plants and their stories. Let us know your particular interests.

Themes include:

  • Weather
  • Living and non-living
  • Sustainable living
  • Valued plants
  • Local history
School holiday activities Prep - Grade 6

Providers of holiday care programs are welcome to book a visit to the Gardens during school holiday times.

[email protected] provides holiday activities for families. These sessions are generally held in the mornings and are advertised a few weeks prior to each holiday period. Providers of holiday care programs are welcome to book a separate session for their group (please contact the GBG office).

Bookings may be made for the current holiday program topic, or one of the regular schools programs (For example: Follow your nose, Bats, books and big trees, Living fossils etc).

Note that winter and spring programs are based in the Gardens meeting room.

Water: the stuff of life Prep - Grade 6

Without water, our Gardens would be a very different place. Discover:

  • How water influences the plants that we grow
  • Why plants need water
  • How recycled water is helping to safeguard the Gardens for future generations
  • The creatures that live in our ponds
Books, bats and big trees Grades 3 - 6

The Botanic Garden and Eastern Park provide an ideal habitat for many animals, insects and birds.

This program focuses on the several species of bats which call Eastern Park home. Activities include a bats facts trail, a story, bat craft and a walk to view the Eastern Park bats or flying foxes.

Living fossils Grades 3 - 6

Students are introduced to some of the plants that have survived on earth virtually unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs!

This is an interactive program giving hands on experience in making a “fossil” to take away. Students are challenged to find Living Fossils on a discovery trail around the gardens.

Up in the air Grades 3 - 6

Students discover the natural world by “Looking Up”. Resources are provided to help students identify birds, insects, clouds and other aspects of the Gardens and answer a quiz sheet as they explore the Gardens for themselves.

The program concludes with a walk into Eastern Park to visit the fruit bat (flying fox) colony.

Sprout: Discovering the world of plants All Primary

Students discover the world of plants through a range of activities designed to introduce them to plants in all their diversity.

  • Make friends with a tree
  • Hunt for our iconic trees and discover the variations in seeds and fruits with the Sprout Tree Trail
  • Design and set up your own experiment to determine what seeds need to grow. Take away your experiment to compete in the classroom
  • Discover the stories behind some of the plants and other structures in the Gardens
A day in the life of a curator Years 7 - 12

Students with a passion for plants and an interest in gardens can come on a tour to learn about developing a horticultural career.

Students will learn the difference between maintaining a garden and looking after a living collection for future generations.

Glimpses of the past practices, present techniques and the use of technology will engage an interest in the horticultural profession.

Counting on nature Prep - Year 8

The Geelong Botanic Gardens offers students the chance to extend their mathematics skills in an outdoor environment.

Let us know your particular interests. Themes include:

  • Maps
  • Discovering numbers, patterns and shapes
  • Measuring big trees
Home school and other groups Prep - VCE

Programs for groups of children such as Home Schoolers, Scouts and Girl Guides, and other community groups can be provided on request. These are generally based on one of our existing programs.

Please provide details of the nature of your group when booking so that a program can be tailored to your needs. (Minimum group sizes apply)

Sorting and classifying Grade 1 - VCE

Botanic Gardens are living libraries for plants. Students will:

  • Learn how scientists sort and classify plant material
  • Discover the secrets of plants scientific names
  • Their own plant material from a wide variety of plants
  • Use different methods to sort and classify living things
English as a second language Tertiary

Programs for ESL students can be provided on request. These are generally based on one of our existing programs or on a Gardens tour.

Please provide details of the nature of your group when booking so that a program can be tailored to your needs.

VCE Food Studies: Food origins VCE unit 1

A tour of the Geelong Botanic Gardens and Eastern Park can introduce VCE Food Studies Unit 1 study area 2: Food in Australia.

The area provided food resources for the local Wathaurong people. After European settlement the site became Geelong’s Botanic Garden where plants from around Australia and the world were trialled. The first Gardens’ Curator, Daniel Bunce, had a keen interest in connecting to, and learning from, the indigenous people as well as educating new settlers in the art of growing food in their new country. Later developments in the Gardens include growing a range of Australian food plants which are used traditionally and in contemporary cooking.

Students take a tour to gain an understanding of:

  • the resources available to the Wathaurong people
  • how European settlers strived to establish secure and sustainable horticultural practices
  • food plants which can be grown in our local conditions.

Page last updated: Tuesday, 1 September 2020