All school groups requesting a UCR or Botanic Gardens tour must submit required insurance forms and confirm that their school is UCR-approved prior to their tour. Tour groups must confirm in advance that their insurance forms are submitted and their school is listed on the UCR Risk Management Approved Schools list by contacting Risk Management. Tour requests will be denied if these criteria are not met.
Docent Guided School Tours
About 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.
Any group from 10 to 60 persons, 3rd grade to adult, may schedule a tour. We suggest that groups of more than 60 persons schedule two different tours either on the same day or on different days. 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.
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.
Guided tours are best scheduled at least one month in advance. Contact the Gardens for tour availability. 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
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!). Buses can drop off the students at the entrance but will need to park off campus.
Tours are free for all school groups, including college. However, donations are always welcome and are essential to keeping the Gardens beautiful and open. A donation box is located on the entrance Gatehouse.
Our guided tours at UCR Botanic Gardens 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 learning. Here are some examples for grades three through six:
For Seventh Grade through College
Tours can be adapted to fit the preferred curriculum of the teacher. Please specify on the request form.
Non-School Related 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.
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. Tours are available 7 days a week from 8 am to 3 pm (please check the home page for closure dates). 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, submit the form for Adult Tours.
For groups of 10 to 30 persons, you must schedule a tour by submitting the form for School Tours or Adult Tours. We will provide a docent to meet your group to provide garden information before your self-guided tour if you desire.
These self-guided publications are available at the kiosk at the entrance:
- 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)
- Deserts of the Southwest self-guided tour - a 42 page, illustrated, detailed look at desert plants for high school age to adult ($3.00)
- The Colonial Herb Garden - an illustrated detailed look at the Herb Garden for third grade to adult ($1.00)
Schedule a Tour
To schedule a tour, submit the appropriate form below after entering your information.
Donations are encouraged to help support the UCR Botanic Gardens and may be deposited in the red donation box on the entrance gatehouse when the bus arrives.
The cost for adult tours is $7.50 per person, paid in advance of the tour. Fees may be paid with checks (made payable to UC Regents) or you may pay online.
University of California, Botanic Gardens
C/O University of California Riverside, Attn: Main Cashiers Office
Student Services Bldg, Room 1111
900 University Avenue, Riverside, CA 92521