University of California, Riverside

Botanic Gardens



Tours


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Docent Guided School Tours

About School Tours: The "who, what and where" of guided school tours

The UCR Botanic Gardens is a living museum, a classroom or laboratory without walls. School groups can learn much from organized tours of the Gardens. Here is the "who, what and where" of guided school tours.

Who Any group from 10 to 60 persons (or two classes), 3rd grade to adult, may schedule a tour. Include one adult for every 10 students under 18 years of age. For groups of 2nd grade and below, and groups of less than 10 people, see our self-guided tour publications found below. All groups of more than ten people must schedule their visit in advance. For people with mobility limitations, ask about tours of the Wheelchair Pathway.
What Docent guided school tours center around the California State Teaching Curriculum -based UCRBG "Discovery Stop Summary" booklet with adjustments for age of the group and interest. Included is general information about the Gardens, desert adaptations of plants, uses of local plants by Native Americans, the state tree and flower, herbs, and more.
Where Tour groups are met at the Gardens entrance at the scheduled time. If you arrive early, use the opportunity to peruse information pamphlets, get a drink of water and use the restrooms (the next restrooms are 20 to 30 minutes along the tour!). Most buses can turn around and drop off students near the entrance and park in the Gardens' parking lot where they don't block traffic; buses may also leave campus and return to pick up the students at an appointed time.
When Guided tours are best scheduled at least one month in advance. Docents are available 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Friday. Tours last about an hour, depending on interest and questions. There is a 15 minute leeway for arrival -- if your group is 15 minutes late, the guided tour is canceled -- so allow plenty of time for loading and traffic. Some classes like to bring a sack lunch to eat on the lawn area after the tour. Tours are scheduled on a first come/first served basis.
How Schedule a School Tour
Cost Tours are free, though donations are always welcome. A donation box is located at the entrance Gatehouse.

For Teachers: How guided tours at UCRBG fit into the California State teaching curriculum

We have revised our docent-led tours to integrate more closely with the state science and social studies curriculum. Our unique setting and well known collection of plants offer many first hand experiences to enhance student's learning. Here are some examples for grades three through six:

For Third Grade
Social Studies Curriculum
  • Discover how our region's climate and topography affected Native Americans and other people who lived here long ago
  • See the plants that early Riversiders used to make food, clothing and tools
Science Curriculum
  • See how plants are classified by their common features
  • Investigate plant structures and see how they affect reproduction, growth and survival
For Fourth Grade
Social Studies Curriculum
  • See how geographic features and climate have affected where early Californians settled
  • See California native plants and learn how they were used for food, clothing and tools
  • See plant materials brought to California by early explorers and see how they affect our ecology
Science Curriculum
  • Discover examples of food chains and ecosystems
  • See how living organisms are interdependent
  • Identify California's state trees, the Coast Redwood and Sierra Redwood and the state flower, the California poppy.
For Fifth Grade
Social Studies Curriculum
  • See plants that were essential to the survival of Colonial settlers
  • See non-native plants brought to America by colonists and learn how they have impacted human survival and the ecology of the land
  • Discover our Herb Garden, an excellent example of one that early colonists would have known
Science Curriculum
  • See how plant structures are differentiated for transpiration, photosynthesis and material transport
For Sixth Grade
Social Studies Curriculum
  • Understand climate and physical environment of the ancient Near, Middle, and Far East
  • Identify plants from these regions, including camellia, papyrus and ginkgo
Science Curriculum
  • See examples of photosynthesis and the interdependence of plants in an ecosystem

We look forward to welcoming you to a wonderful outdoor classroom experience. Please schedule a school tour using our printable or online form.

Non-School Related Tours

Adult Tours

Any group of adults from 10 to 60 persons may schedule a tour of the Gardens. Included is general information about the Gardens, desert adaptations of plants, uses of local plants by Native Americans, herbs, and more. Coverage can be tailored to the group's interests and needs. For groups of less than 10 people, see the self-guided tour publications. Note that all groups of more than 10 people must schedule their visit to the Gardens in advance. For people with mobility limitations, ask about guided tours of the Wheelchair Pathway.

Tour groups are met at the Gardens entrance at the scheduled time. If you arrive early, use the opportunity to peruse information pamphlets, get a drink of water and use the restrooms (the next restrooms are 20 to 30 minutes along the tour!). There is a 15 minute leeway for arrival -- if your group is 15 minutes late, the guided tour is canceled -- so allow plenty of travel time.

Guided tours are best scheduled one month in advance. Docents are available 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Friday. Tours last about an hour, depending on interest and questions. Tours are scheduled on a first come/first served basis.

For adult tours, the cost is $7.50 per person, paid in advance of the tour.

To schedule a tour or for more information contact us.

Self-Guided Tours

The following self-guided tour publications are available at the entrance Gatehouse. Note that all groups of more than ten people must schedule their visit to the Gardens in advance. Contact us at 951.784.6962 or ucrbg@ucr.edu.

  • Map of UCR Botanic Gardens - trail map with general information and main Gardens features noted (no charge)
  • Botanic Gardens Bingo - for pre-school to second grade; be sure to bring a pen or pencil (no charge)
  • Outdoor Classroom self-guided tour - a 27 page, illustrated, general tour of the lower and middle elevations of the Gardens for third grade to adult ($ 2.50)
  • Deserts of the Southwest self-guided tour - a 42 page, illustrated, detailed look at desert plants for high school age to adult ($ 2.50)

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

UCR LibrariesCampus Status
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Botanic Gardens Information

Botanic Gardens Schneider House Office
Botanic Gardens

Tel: (951) 784-6962
E-mail: ucrbg@ucr.edu

Mailing Address:
Botanic Gardens
University of California
Riverside, CA 92521-0124

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