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For our smallest naturalists, we offer a variety of creative, open-ended, exploratory programs for children ages 2 to 5 and their caregivers.

Tyke Hikes

for Ages 2–5 (w/an Adult)

Children and their adult companions can join us for a story and a stroller-friendly hike around the Botanical Garden while we focus on a different nature topic each month. Come dressed for outdoor weather!

Scheduled Programs

It’s Fall!

  • Friday, October 25 @ 9:45am

A new season brings new things to see and new ways to play outside! Let’s explore what is growing in the garden and what creatures are hiding there.

Our Wild Neighbors

  • Friday, November 22 @ 9:45am

Do you know your wild neighbors? On this hike we will look for the animals or signs of the animals who live around us.

I Spy in the Forest

  • Friday, December 20 @ 9:45am

Many trees lose their leaves in the winter. That means we can see more of the forest and sometimes more of the animals that live in the trees because they have fewer places to hide. Let’s play a game of I-Spy in the Riverbanks forest.

Dens, Nests or Burrows…Where do wild things stay safe and warm?

  • Friday, January 31 @ 9:45am

Let’s take a hike in the wintery woods to see if we can spy dens, nests, burrows or other animal hiding places.

Alphabet Hike

  • Friday, February 28 @ 9:45am

We will be hunting for the alphabet on this walk, looking for things in nature that start with the letters from A to Z. We might even see the alphabet in the trees or in a spider’s web!

Sensory Walk

  • Friday, March 27 @ 9:45am

Sight, smell, hearing, touch and even taste will be explored on this walk through the five senses!

How to Thank a Tree

  • Friday, April 24 @ 9:45am

Trees are amazing! Not only do they make oxygen for us to breathe, but they also help keep our planet cooler! On this Earth Day hike, we will say thank you by planting baby trees and learning how to care for them.

Program Details

  • Cost :

    No additional cost. Note: If you are not a Riverbanks member, a general admission ticket will be required.

  • Location :

    Classes take place in the Waterfall Junction Learning Center at Riverbanks Botanical Garden.

  • Registration :

    Pre-registration is required for all activities. Available programs may be registered for via the eTickets Store. Upon receipt of your registration, a confirmation will be sent when you are placed in the activity.

Knee-high Naturalist

for Ages 2–5 (w/an Adult)

Discover amazing plants and animals through engaging activities, imaginative play, and crafts as we explore different topics in an informal learning environment.

Scheduled Programs

Sea Turtles

  • Friday, November 1 @ 9:45am
  • Monday, November 11 @ 10:15am
  • Monday, November 18 @ 10:15am

Let’s dive into the mysterious lives of sea turtles! Did you know these majestic creatures have existed since the time of dinosaurs? They spend their whole lives in the ocean, only touching land as hatchlings running for the sea or as females returning to lay eggs.

Turkey Tales

  • Friday, November 15 @ 9:45am

We are talking turkey this month. For example, did you know that a turkey’s head and neck will change color with his mood? Join us to learn more about this amazing bird.

Wildlife in Winter

  • Monday, December 2 @ 10:15am
  • Monday, December 9 @ 10:15am
  • Friday, December 13 @ 9:45am

What do frogs do in winter? Where do the hummingbirds and dragonflies go? In this class we will explore the different ways animals cope with cold weather.

Water Wonderings

  • Friday, January 10 @ 9:45am
  • Monday, January 13 @ 9:45am
  • Monday, January 27 @ 9:45am

All living things – plants, animals and even you – need water. How do we get it? How can fish breathe in water, and why can’t we? Bring your water wonderings and be a scientist as we explore the mysteries of water.

Animals of the ARC

  • Friday, January 24 @ 9:45am

Would you like to learn more about the animals behind the glass in the Aquarium-Reptile Complex? Let’s dive in and take a closer look at some of the Zoo’s smallest residents such as fish, urchins, frogs and geckos.

Being a Green Kid

  • Friday, February 7 @ 9:45am
  • Monday, February 10 @ 9:45am
  • Monday, February 24 @ 9:45am

What does it mean to be green? Green is more than a color. Find out how to be a green kid and why it matters in this class about caring for Earth.

Unhuggable Animals

  • Friday, February 21 @ 9:45am

Porcupines, skunks, slugs and snakes all have one thing in common. They are not huggable! Come learn what makes these unhuggable animals special and why they need our love too.

Wild Wolves

  • Friday, March 6 @ 9:45am
  • Monday, March 16 @ 9:45am
  • Monday, March 23 @ 9:45am

Wolves might seem big and scary, but they are not so different from you. They live with families. They share meals together, and they all look after the little ones. Join us to discover more about the largest members of the dog family.

Grizzly Bears

  • Friday, March 20 @ 9:45am

Did you know that grizzly bears can eat 90 pounds of food a day? That’s about 18,000 blueberries! How do keepers keep up with those huge appetites? Come learn more about our brother bears.

How Does the Garden Grow?

  • Friday, April 3 @ 9:45am

It’s springtime in the garden! How do gardeners help plants grow? Learn how you can help a seed grow into a plant that you can eat and plant a seed to take home!

Busy Bees

  • Friday, April 17 @ 9:45am
  • Monday, April 20 @ 9:45am
  • Monday, April 27 @ 9:45am

Why are the bees so busy? Fly, buzz, collect pollen, waggle-dance and more as we investigate the busy lives of bees.

Program Details

  • Cost :

    $8 for one child (with one adult) per class. Note: If you are not a Riverbanks member, a general admission ticket will also be required.

  • Location :

    Classes take place in the Waterfall Junction Learning Center at Riverbanks Botanical Garden, except for Monday programs, which are held in the Farm Classroom at Riverbanks Zoo.

  • Registration :

    Pre-registration is required for all activities. Available programs may be registered for via the eTickets Store. Upon receipt of your registration, a confirmation will be sent when you are placed in the activity.

Nature Art

for Ages 2–5 (w/an Adult)

Every month is a new theme to encourage young learners to create, explore, and play with the natural world through art and sensory experiences.

Scheduled Programs

Painting Leaves

  • Friday, November 8 @ 9:45am

Nature is colorful! In this class we will explore color through the changing leaves. We will use nature’s colors in our art and add some colors of our own imaginings.

Weaving with Nature

  • Friday, December 6 @ 9:45am

Join us for a wintery walk as we explore the forest. We will weave our finds together into a one of a kind work of art.

Art with Water

  • Friday, January 17 @ 9:45am

Let’s brighten this winter day with an exploration of color and water. We will try different ways of mixing water and color to create art.

Valentines for Wildlife

  • Friday, February 14 @ 9:45am

Show your love for the animals by making Valentine’s Day enrichment treats to give to wildlife.

Twirling Twigs

  • Friday, March 13 @ 9:45am

Create a colorful, twirling, twig mobile from sticks and yarn to bring some whimsy to an indoor or outdoor space.

Color from Nature

  • Friday, April 10 @ 9:45am

Did you know you can make paints and dyes from things in nature? In this class you will learn how to make colors from objects found in nature.

Program Details

  • Cost :

    $8 for one child (with one adult) per class. Note: If you are not a Riverbanks member, a general admission ticket will also be required.

  • Location :

    Classes take place in the Waterfall Junction Learning Center at Riverbanks Botanical Garden.

  • Registration :

    Pre-registration is required for all activities. Available programs may be registered for via the eTickets Store. Upon receipt of your registration, a confirmation will be sent when you are placed in the activity.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation or date change requests must be received ten days in advance of the event. Requests must be submitted in writing at education@riverbanks.org. Riverbanks Zoo and Garden will retain a $2 processing fee for cancellations and charge a $2 processing fee for date changes.

In the rare event that Riverbanks Zoo and Garden must cancel the scheduled event, all deposits or money received will be reimbursed or an option to reschedule will be provided. Notification of cancellation will be provided at least ten days prior to the scheduled event (unless weather-related). Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is not liable for any other expenses that the guest may have incurred in the preparation and execution of the event.

Refunds will not be provided for individuals who do not show up for the event.

Questions about Little Learners at Riverbanks?

Please call 803.602.0803 or email us.