Garden Programs

Riverbanks Botanical Garden offers an array of opportunities for kids and adults with a love for learning to dig up fascinating facts about native and exotic plant life at Riverbanks and beyond. Expert horticulturists engage participants with hands-on workshops and demonstrations. Garden programs are available for ages 2 through adult. Come grow with us!

Registration Policy:

  • Pre-registration is required for all activities. Available programs may be registered for via the eTickets Store. NO REGISTRATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED BY PHONE.
  • Register early. Space is limited for all activities.
  • Upon receipt of your registration, a confirmation will be sent when you are placed in the activity. If an activity is filled, your payment will be refunded.
  • Cancellations and refunds: Written cancellations must be received at least two weeks before the scheduled program date in order to receive a refund or to reschedule your reservation. No refunds will be issued for cancellations made less than two weeks before the program date. Refunds will be given if the program needs to be cancelled by Riverbanks due to weather, low enrollment, etc.

For more information on Garden Programs or other educational opportunities in the Garden, please contact our Garden Staff at 803.602.0813.

Backyard Buds (ages 2–5 with an adult)

Garden adventures for kids that includes a lesson, craft and story.

Cost: $6 for one child (with one adult) per class. Note: If you are not a Riverbanks member, general admission tickets will also be required.

Location: Waterfall Junction Learning Center.

Scheduled Dates and Times:

May 2017

Thursday, May 4

@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
Time to light up learning about lightning bugs. Join us as we play pattern games, make a firefly and have a glowing good time.

Junior Master Gardeners for Homeschool (ages 7–12)

JMG provides an opportunity for youth to interact and bond with nature through hands-on gardening, scientific experiments and arts. The program explores the broader picture of gardening, including native wildlife, harvesting, and using fresh food from the garden. Both groups observe and learn about the trees and native plants in the area while gaining valuable gardening skills. This session meets the first three Wednesdays of each month beginning in September. Students complete certification for the entire program during this time.

Level 1 (ages 7–9) explores insects, plant life, fruits and vegetables, design and more.

Level 2 (ages 10–12) focuses on plant growth and propagation methods, as well as the effects of soil and water cycles on plants.

For more information, please call 803.602.0813 or email

Cost: $175 per child. Includes handbook, T-shirt, and supplies.

Location: Riverbanks Botanical Garden. Drop-off at the Garden Ticket Booth (West Columbia) at 9:45am.

Register for class.

Scheduled Dates and Times: September 7 – May 10 at 10:00am–12:00pm.

Adult Garden Workshops

Hands-on workshops and classes for novice gardeners and green thumbs.

Scheduled Dates and Times:
April 2017

Saturday, April 29

Creative Containers
@ 10:00am–12:00pm
Bring a container (~24 inches in diameter) and fill it with a gorgeous combination of perennials and annuals. Take home a colorful container as well as ideas and techniques to make your containers standout.
Cost: $40 per person per class.

May 2017

Saturday, May 13

Fairy Gardens
@ 10:00–11:30am
Create a tiny, magical world through miniature plants, natural objects and imagination during this workshop. A terra cotta saucer will be provided for your garden, or you can bring your own creative container.
Cost: $30 per person per class.

Saturday, May 20

Canning and Preserving
@ 10:00am–12:00pm
Learn how to preserve the bounty from your garden so you can enjoy that fresh homegrown taste year round. Everyone will make something to take home.
Cost: $20 per person per class.

June 2017

Saturday, June 10

Pollinator Power
@ 10:00am–12:00pm
Discover the common pollinators in this area, and learn how you can attract them to your garden and potentially increase their numbers. Participants will make a bug motel during the workshop as well.
Cost: $15 per person per class.

Garden Programs for Schools

Cost: A program fee of $55 is charged for each class of 25 students.

Capacity: Garden programs can accommodate any group size. These informal programs are held in the Botanical Garden amphitheater, with participants sitting on the grass.

Registration Policy: Programs may be reserved in advance online via our School Programs Request for Information form or by calling the Education Department at 803.602.0803 Monday through Friday between 9:00am and 4:30pm.

Don’t see something that meets your needs? We will create custom programs for your group. Requests must be made at least 30 days in advance. A nominal development fee will be charged.

If you have any questions, please email or call 803.602.0803.

Available Programs:

Bug Hunt (Preschool–Grade 2)

Children learn the importance and characteristics of insects before going out into the Garden to dig up their own creepy crawly bugs. The group will look for bugs in various habitats discovering the secret world where insects live. The tour ends with an appropriate story.

All Living Things (Preschool–Grade 2)

As plants grow from tiny seedlings to mature plants, they provide many different elements for other living things. Students will learn about plant life cycles and the important relationship of insects and plants. They will also discover the many vital elements plants provide for humans and animals.

Plant Adaptations (Grades 3–6)

Students will see various plants from different habitats that include the desert, wetlands and rainforest. Their explorations will lead them to investigate the different adaptations that are necessary to survive in each habitat.