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: Botanical Garden.

Scheduled Dates and Times:

October 2016

Thursday, October 6

What Comes Out of An Egg
@ 10:00–10:45am (ages 2–5)
So you found an egg! Now what do you think is going to come out of there? Explore the reptilian, amphibian, insect and avian worlds all through the scope of an egg. Look at different types of eggs that animals make and some crazy animals that make eggs even though they are not reptiles, amphibians or birds! Explore the possibilities of what that incredible egg could become.

Thursday, October 20

Pumpkins and Gourd Painting
@ 10:00–10:45am (ages 2–5)
Join us for our annual tradition of pumpkin and gourd painting. Paint a small pumpkin for the harvest season, and learn a little bit about the tradition of gourd decoration.

November 2016

Thursday, November 3

Rascally Raccoons
@ 10:00–10:45am (ages 2–5)
Did you hear that? I think someone is in the trash again! Is it your dog? Nope. It’s that rascally raccoon! Raccoons are one of the most common backyard critters and are found all over the United States. Participants will find out why those raccoons have been so successful in living with humans for so long and what the night life looks like for our raccoon friends.

Thursday, November 17

Nature Painting
@ 10:00–10:45am (ages 2–5)
Back by popular demand, use items found in nature to make some interesting fall-inspired paintings and crafts.

December 2016

Thursday, December 1

The Icky Bug ABC’s
@ 10:00–10:45am (ages 2–5)
Based upon the “Icky Bug ABC’s” book, reinforce the ABC’s and early reading skills while taking a look at some crazy bugs. Learn what a true bug is and have a chance to look at some very icky bugs up close. See if you can make a letter look like an icky bug!

Thursday, December 15

Nature’s Ornaments
@ 10:00–10:45am (ages 2–5)
Use natural materials to make holiday decorations that you can share with your family and friends. This session is focused mainly on fun and creativity and sharing with others for the holidays.

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:
October 2016

Saturday, October 1

Concrete Leaves
@ 10:00am–12:00pm
Create a beautiful cast of a large leaf and have a garden decoration that will outlast the frost. Cast concrete leaves can be used to create your own fountains, stepping stones or garden accents. All materials will be provided, and you can leave the mess here instead of making one at home! The leaf will need 48 hours to cure before you can take it home.
Cost: $25 per person per class.

Concrete Leaves
@ 1:30–3:30pm
Create a beautiful cast of a large leaf and have a garden decoration that will outlast the frost. Cast concrete leaves can be used to create your own fountains, stepping stones or garden accents. All materials will be provided, and you can leave the mess here instead of making one at home! The leaf will need 48 hours to cure before you can take it home.
Cost: $25 per person per class.

Saturday, October 15

@ 10:00–11:30am
Terrariums have been popular since the late 19th century and have come into vogue once more. Bringing the nature indoors can be an interesting way to observe the water cycle with children and also make a beautiful accent to your home décor. Join us in making small terrariums in either an open or closed system. Learn how to care for your terrarium and how to trouble shoot any problems that may occur.
Cost: $30 per person per class.

December 2016

Saturday, December 17

Wreath Making
@ 10:00am–12:00pm
Celebrate the season by making a fresh wreath to welcome your guests at the front door. This annual class is well loved and enjoyed with friends and family. Plant material and wreath forms are provided, and each wreath becomes a festive and unique expression of your holiday spirit.
Cost: $25 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.

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