Holiday Traditions at Royal Botanical Gardens

Over 80 years ago, an early conservationist Thomas Baker McQuesten, conceived of and founded the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG). Patterned after Kew Gardens in England, RBG is a designated historical site with land that covers over 400 acres of display gardens.

During the winter season the RBG hosts Holiday Traditions, filled with family-friendly activities such as a toy workshop, Santa Claus and his reindeer, an impressive train display created with botanic materials featuring landscapes that celebrate Canadian landmarks, a unique outdoor playground, and an animal show with snakes, spiders, and crocodiles.

We decided to venture out to Burlington to experience Holiday Traditions, and it was well worth the drive from Toronto. In fact, we were so impressed with the experience that we plan to make a return trip in the spring. Take a look at our photos and tips:


We decided to visit on a Sunday, assuming the highway would have less traffic and the RBG would be less busy. The drive was about 45 minutes (Google Maps suggested 55 minutes).

Pick up a weekend guide from the desk and plan your day. We decided to start with the toy workshop (my son made a matching game with tiles, felt, and coloured pencils).

Next, we explored the train display, then took a lunch break, headed to the animal show Zoo To You, and ended the day with some outdoor fun at the playground.

We had lunch at the Gardens' Cafe (the only restaurant open during the winter season). Between 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm the cafe is quite busy. We had to wait about ten minutes to be seated (which is a long time for hungry kids). Instead, I was told that most families make reservations on the weekends.

Parking is available on site and is free. The RBG is stroller friendly and easy to navigate with young children.

Admission is $12.00 for adults, $7.00 for children between 5-12 years old, and FREE for children under 5.

Holiday Traditions runs until January 6, although most of the family-friendly activities are only held on weekends.

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