Owned by the City of Vancouver, VanDusen Botanical Garden is 22 hectares, or 55 acres, of beautiful botanical gardens with plants from around the world.
COVID-19 AND THE GARDENS
VanDusen Garden was closed for a month and a half beginning in mid-March as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Since May 1st, 2020, however, it has been open with various precautionary measures in place.
As of the beginning of August, only a limited number of tickets could be purchased online in advance and for set admission times. Paths in some areas of the Garden are designated “one-way” and visitors are instructed to practice appropriate physical distancing.
In late November, 2020, as part of its attempts to limit the spread of the coronavirus, provincial health authorities announced that no major events can take place in BC until December 8th at the earliest. This includes the Festival of Lights at VanDusen.
For more information about the reopening and current status of the garden, see the City of Vancouver‘s website. (Note: The status of the attraction is subject to change.)
To learn about other venues impacted by COVID-19, see our article about the Coronavirus and Vancouver.
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Click any of the above links to jump to specific information, or continue reading to learn all about Vancouver’s VanDusen Botanical Garden.
Located at 5251 Oak Street in Vancouver, VanDusen includes a large collection of gardens full of trees and wide variety of both native and exotic plants.
At VanDusen Botanical Garden there are a couple of small lakes and ponds, a stone garden, a hedge maze and Japanese, Korean and Chinese garden areas.
The venue also boasts beautiful rhododendrons in the spring, large open lawns and beautiful plants, flower gardens and trees of all kinds throughout the property.
There is free onsite parking at the venue, as well as street parking in the area. The Oakridge 41st Avenue SkyTrain Station is also just a 15-minute or so walk away.
To give you an idea of what to expect at the gardens, click VanDusen in Spring Video for a visual tour of the site.
Admission Prices at VanDusen
TIP: If you have an Entertainment Coupon Book don’t forget to take it so you can save on admission. The offer might change from year to year, but likely you’ll get two adult tickets for the price of one!
When to Visit VanDusen
VanDusen Garden is worth visiting any time of the year, but especially in the late spring with its blossoms and flowers in bloom. Other great times to visit include the summer, as well as in the fall when the leaves are changing colour. The holiday lights at Halloween and Christmas time are also spectacular!
Special Events and Seasons at VanDusen Garden
Exceptional times to visit VanDusen Botanical Garden are when there are special events and activities on site in the spring, fall and at Christmas.
Spring at VanDusen Garden
Below is a video showing what the gardens look like in May. This is followed by information about the various events that take place at the venue in spring.
VanDusen Gardens in Spring Video
To give you an idea of what the gardens look like in spring, check out the following video. It was taken in the middle of May, in 2020, just before the Victoria Day Long Weekend. As you’ll see, late spring is arguably one of the most beautiful times of the year to visit.
Spring Break at the Gardens
Most years VanDusen Garden offers free admission to children under 13 years of age when accompanied by an adult, senior or youth paying regular admission during the school Spring Break in March.
Easter at VanDusen
The Gardens are also a great place to visit at Easter as that’s when the Eggciting Easter Hop (formerly called the Great A-Maze-ing Egg Hunt) takes place for children ages 0 to 5.
Sessions typically run hourly starting at 10 am, 11 am, 12 pm and 1 pm. During those times kids hunt for eggs and then exchange their findings for candy or a chocolate.
The cost for the Great A-Maze-ing Egg Hunt, which includes general admission to the gardens, is around $18 for children (0-5 years old), $14 or so for adults, around $11 for seniors and youth (13-18 years old), $8 for non-egg-hunting children (ages 6-12), and about $9 for VanDusen Garden members. GST is included but online service charges are extra.
The Easter event in 2020 was cancelled due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. 2021 details will likely be similar to what they have been in the past.
Cherry Blossom Season
April can be a pretty time to visit VanDusen Garden. That’s when leaves are slowly starting to appear on the trees, tulips are beginning to bloom and cherry trees are turning pink.
Late April is usually the prettiest time of the month, but mid-April is when the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival’s Sakura Days Japan Fair takes place at VanDusen. That’s when, in addition to admiring the garden’s regular botanical features, visitors can experience a Japanese-style festival featuring Oriental foods and cultural exhibits.
Admission to Sakura Days usually costs between around $14 and $17 for adults, depending on whether you buy your tickets online or on the day at the gate.
Note: This event was also cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Click Sakura Days Japan Fair for more information.
VanDusen Plant Sale
On the last Sunday of April each year VanDusen Garden holds its annual Plant Sale. On that day admission to the site is free and thousands of plants are for sale.
Late April is when the trees are beginning to turn green and spring flowers are starting to bloom, which makes the last Sunday of the month an especially pleasant and affordable time to visit VanDusen. It’s also a great time to pick up some new plants for your own personal garden.
This event also did not take place in 2020 as the venue was closed to the public in April because of the novel coronavirus.
May Long Weekend Car Show
On the Saturday of the May Long Weekend, so the Saturday before May 25th each year, hundreds of vintage British cars fill the lawns at the gardens. There are MGs, Jaguars, Rovers, Minis and all kinds of beautiful collectible vehicles!
If you like gardens and classic cars, then the Saturday of the May Long Weekend is the perfect time to visit!
Click VanDusen British Car Show for more information.
(Note: This event did not take place at the Gardens as planned in May of 2020. The event was postponed until a later date.)
VanDusen Garden in Autumn
Autumn is an exceptional time to visit VanDusen Botanical Gardens. From mid-October until the first or second week of November, the fall colours in Vancouver are usually at their best.
Good autumn events to check out include the Luxury & Supercar Weekend in early September and the Halloween lights during the last few days of October.
Luxury & Supercar Weekend
The Luxury & Supercar Weekend is a major event showcasing all the latest and most impressive vehicles that money can buy. It usually takes place on the Saturday and Sunday after the Labour Day Weekend in September and features everything from Lamborghinis to Dodge Vipers, McLarens and Bentleys.
Admission to the car show costs over $100, so it’s definitely not inexpensive. The event though includes a car auction, fashion show, fancy foods, adult beverages and various luxury items to admire and buy, in addition to all the many high performance vehicles on display.
Click Luxury & Supercar Weekend for more information.
Halloween Glow in the Garden
For the last four or so years the week leading up to Halloween is an extra good time to visit the city’s botanical gardens as that’s when the place hosts its Glow in the Garden event. During that time the venue is open in the evenings and features Halloween illuminations and displays of amazing hand-carved Jack-o-lanterns.
Each year Glow in the Garden has a different theme. Past ones have included Hänsel &Gretel and Alice in Wonderland.
Click VanDusen at Halloween for more information.
The Gardens at Christmas
For many visitors, the most beautiful time of the year to visit VanDusen Garden is at night time in December. That’s when the Festival of Lights takes place and the gardens sparkle with millions of holiday lights.
If you like Christmas and festive lights, then you’ll love the gardens in December.
Admission to the Festival of Lights ranges from $8 to $14 in the 2020 winter season, excluding taxes and online fees. Because of COVID-19, tickets are only available by purchasing them online. Also, this year there are only 10 acres of lights instead of the usual 15 or so.
Click Festival of Lights for more information.
For further information about the garden, see the VanDusen Garden‘s official website.
For a map of the gardens, click VanDusen Map.
For similar places to visit, see Vancouver’s Best Parks and Places in Nature which includes free venues like Stanley Park and Queen Elizabeth Park, but also comparable places to VanDusen that charge admission like the UBC Botanical Garden.