Vancouver’s UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research is a garden at the University of British Columbia that’s home to close to 12,000 plants.
The garden hosts its first ever Lunar New Year Market on January 14th and 15th in 2023 (which is the weekend before actual Lunar New Year). The event runs from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm on both days and admission is free. For details, click UBC Lunar New Year Market.
This article contains the following information about the UBC Botanical Garden:
The UBC Botanical Garden
Founded in 1916, the UBC Botanical Garden encompasses 44 hectares (or 110 acres) of land. It’s affiliated with nearby Nitobe Memorial Garden, considered by many to be one of the best Japanese gardens outside Japan.
Other highlights of the UBC Botanical Garden include the Greenheart TreeWalk – a 300 plus-metre (1000+ feet) high aerial trail system, the David C. Lam Asian Garden, a BC Rainforest Garden and other beautiful natural areas.
The Botanical Garden itself is a bit like a park. It has walking trails through the forest as well as a variety of gardens.
Click Garden Map for a map of the site.
UBC Botanical Garden Location
The UBC Botanical Garden is usually open from mid-March until the end of October daily from 10:00 to 5:00 pm. However, that’s changed due to the pandemic. In early 2022 the Garden was open just Wednesday to Sunday and from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The closing time was extended to 5:00 pm beginning in April but it was still closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
The cost is usually about $10 for adults for just the Botanical Garden or up to $26 (or $55 per family) for admission to all areas. The full pass includes the Nitobe Memorial Garden and Greenheart TreeWalk, the latter of which is closed from November until the spring.
If you visit the Botanical Garden during the offseason (November to March) the admission is only by donation. There is a recommended amount of $5. For the rest of the year, below is what the prices were in 2022.
UBC Botanical Garden Admission Rates
- UBC Students & Staff – free
- Adults – $10
- Seniors (ages 65+) – $8
- Persons with Disabilities – $8
- Non-UBC Students – $8
- Youth (13-17) – $8
- Children (6-12) – $5
- Small Children (0-5) – free
- Families (2 adults and up to 4 children or youth) – $24
- UBC Alumni – receive 50% off with “Acard” promo code and possession of an Alumni Card.
Extra Payment for Access to the Greenheart TreeWalk
- UBC Students & Staff – free
- Adults – $13
- Seniors (ages 65+) – $9
- Persons with Disabilities – $9
- Non-UBC Students – $9
- Youth (13-17) – $9
- Children (6-12) – $5
- Little Children (0-5) – free
- Families (2 adults and up to 4 children or youth – $26
To learn more about this element of the garden see further below or check out our article about the Greenheart TreeWalk.
By Donation Winter Rates
From the beginning of November until early to mid-March the garden is open from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm on Wednesdays to Sundays. The cost is by donation, meaning that’s the best time to go if you’re on a budget. That being said, the gardens then are not at their peak. However, generous donations are still greatly appreciated.
Formerly called the Greenheart Canopy Walkway, the Greenheart TreeWalk is a 305-metre-long network of suspension bridges at UBC Botanical Garden. It costs extra to visit the TreeWalk but it’s worth it (unless you don’t like heights or wobbly bridges).
The bridges on the Greenheart TreeWalk go as high as about 75 feet (or 22 metres) in the air. There are over a dozen bridges that go from tree to tree to tree. From up high in the trees you get to view the forest as a bird or squirrel might see it. It’s pretty cool, and a nice treat, especially for children.
Botanical Garden Events
A good time to visit the botanical gardens is during the Apple Festival which takes place each year on the weekend after Thanksgiving in October. Admission for the event is cheaper than the regular cost for the garden and the festival includes all kinds of entertainment and things to see. There are also tons of apples to buy as part of the garden’s fundraising activities.
Mid-October to mid-November is when the gardens are at their peak of colour in the fall, which makes the Apple Festival an especially good time to visit.
In 2023 UBC Botanical Garden hosted its first ever Lunar New Year Market. It took place on the weekend before Lunar New Year. Admission was $5.
UBC Botanical Garden Video
Check out the video below to give you a really good idea of what to expect at the garden. It was taken in mid-April in 2021. As you’ll see in the video, the attraction is a big and beautiful place!
There are two main parts to the garden. From the entrance at the gift shop, you first enter the section full of trees and forested trails. This part actually appears in the second half of the video. The other area has wide open lawns and gardens of various types. The two sections are separated by a long tunnel which is where the video begins.
What You See in the Video
As you’ll see in the video above, our visual tour begins with a woman walking through what’s called the Moon Gate and Tunnel. On the other side of the tunnel is a fairly wide open area with a variety of gardens and ecosystems. There are marshlands, forest and lawns. In the video you’ll also see inside the cactus greenhouse and the large garden arbour.
About halfway through the video the woman walks back through the tunnel and out the Asian-styled Moon Gate. As you’ll see, this second part of the garden is full of forest, trails and natural plant life. It looks similar to what you might see in some of the Lower Mainland’s various parks and forests. Also in this area (but not seen in the video) is the Greenheart TreeWalk.
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your visit to the gardens.
TIP #1: Don’t forget that admission to both the UBC Botanical Garden and Nitobe Garden is usually by donation from mid-November until mid-March. Those months aren’t the prettiest seasons to visit but they are the cheapest.
TIP #2: Parking in the parking lot at the garden used to be free. However, it cost $1.50 an hour as of the spring of 2022. That’s still a good deal considering that most parking spots at UBC cost about $4 or more per hour. To park at this lot though you have to be visiting the Botanical Garden.
TIP #3: Just a short ways away, along Marine Drive (heading north) is free on-street parking. It’s a popular area for people to leave their cars because it’s free. If you can find a spot though, you’ll save a few dollars.
TIP #4: UBC Botanical Garden is nice any time of the year. It’s at its prettiest though beginning in May – when the rhododendrons start to bloom – until early November – when parts of the garden have fall colours.
TIP #5: If you are looking for cherry blossoms in spring, you’ll find lots of them all around the UBC campus. Nitobe Memorial Garden is an especially nice place. The cherry trees there generally bloom towards the end of the cherry blossom season, so later than most other parts of Vancouver. Meanwhile, there are no cherry trees at UBC Botanical Garden itself (except for near the parking lot).
To learn more about the gardens, see the UBC Botanical Garden website.
For ideas on other things to do in the area check out our article about the University of British Columbia (which includes information about the Museum of Anthropology, Beaty Biodiversity Museum and other places of interest).
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver Parks & Nature
- Nitobe Memorial Garden
- Stanley Park
- VanDusen Botanical Garden
- Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden