Visitor Information 2020
When you visit the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, a 240-acre (97 hectare) property located a few minutes SW of Edmonton, you can expect a relaxing, peaceful environment. At this "garden in a forest", you'll get an introduction to plants that survive and thrive in a northern climate, you'll see how cultures define gardens, and you'll be connected to the natural world in a beautiful way.
The Garden is open to visitors for the 2020 season. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, operational changes are in effect. We are following the guidelines of public health officials and the University of Alberta. Please take a moment to read about the measures we are taking to ensure visitor and staff safety, and plan ahead for an enjoyable visit. Check this website before you come to the Garden, as information may change.
Reserving Your Visit
All visitors must make advance reservations using our online system. Walk ups will not be permitted. This will help us manage capacity and flow of visitors in the Garden, minimize contact points, and allow for physical distancing. We are required to gather contact information for all visitors to the Garden, which we will do at the time of reservation.
We will post links for reservations several weeks in advance. Tickets are non-refundable. The Garden is a rain or shine facility.
Group size is limited to 15 people. Within those groups, any parties that are not in the same household must practice safe physical distancing of 2 metres. There are no group discounts in 2020.
Before You Visit
- Visitor information might change during the season. Please check this website for the most current updates.
- Please plan to arrive on time. Entry times are staggered to ensure adequate physical distancing for patrons.
Do not come to the Garden if you:
- have a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose or shortness of breath.
- have travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days.
- are a close contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Please follow signage and direction from staff.
- Guests are required to maintain physical distance of 2 metres / 6' from any person or group not belonging to their immediate household.
- Some pathways are one-way or single file - please follow directional signage.
- Some garden areas that are too confined for appropriate distancing have been closed.
- Children must remain close to their parents / guardians at all times.
- Guests can enjoy the outdoor gardens, however, indoor spaces are closed, including showhouses and Welcome Centre / gift shop.
- The Patio Cafe concession is closed for 2020.
- Drinking fountains are closed. Please bring your own water bottle.
- Most benches are available for seating, however, picnic tables are out of service.
- Tram service is closed - there are no golf carts for public.
- Loaner wheelchairs and strollers are not available.
- Masks are not mandatory to enjoy the outdoor facilities, but are required in indoor spaces, such as washrooms in the Aga Khan Garden
- A limited number of portable washrooms will be available for use in parking areas.
- Washroom facilities are available in the Aga Khan Garden. There is one-way entry / exit to the building.
- Washrooms are also available near the Rose Garden, in the Collections area.
Hand Sanitizing Stations
Hand sanitizing stations are positioned in several locations throughout the Garden.
Food and Beverage
Water fountains and concession are closed. You are welcome to bring your own water and small snacks. However, other outside food and picnics are not permitted, with the exception of Picnic Boxes purchased in advance through the Garden.
Extra cleaning and sanitizing of high-touch areas has been implemented. Hand sanitizing stations are located at several locations throughout the Garden.
Most areas of the Garden are accessible on paved or brick pathways. Some parts of the Garden may be challenging for unassisted wheelchairs (eg. hills, rough terrain).
Welcome Centre Construction
Construction of a new Welcome Centre is nearly complete but landscaping and finishing work will continue throughout much of the 2020 season. Admissions will be taken through an exterior window at the Welcome Centre, but the building will remain closed to the public for this year.
Tips for Enjoying Your Visit:
- Bring your water bottle and small snacks (no other outside food or picnics, except for Twilight Picnics reserved from the Garden in advance).
- Bring your camera.
- Comfortable walking shoes will make your day a happy one.
- Dress for the weather – in Alberta, that means come prepared for any eventuality!
- The Garden Shop is closed, so remember your sunscreen, mosquito repellent and umbrella.
- Gardening enthusiasts – bring your notebook or phone so you can note the names of amazing plants you’d like to try in your own northern garden.
- Leave animals at home. With the exception of certified service animals, pets are not permitted at the Garden.
- Smoking of any kind, including vaping and cannabis, is not permitted inside the Garden.
A Note on Garden Maintenance
When you visit this year, you may notice that some spots in the Garden look a little on the “wild” side. The Aga Khan Garden and Kurimoto Japanese Garden, both located near the entrance, are among our most highly maintained areas. As you venture beyond these iconic gardens, you may see that some areas look less than ideal.
Here’s the reality: In 2020, a perfect storm of contributing factors has resulted in the imperfect appearance of some areas. A late cold spring and a very wet summer are a big part of it. A few areas have been closed for necessary rejuvenation. Construction of the new Welcome Centre is nearly, but not quite, complete. The University is going through structural changes to address funding issues, and the Garden is no exception - significant reductions to our budget are a reality. And our priority to keep the Garden safe for visitors during COVID-19 has complicated operations.
We’re doing our absolute best under the circumstances. We’re grateful for your patience and understanding.
Here’s the good news: We’re using these challenges as a springboard to better things. We’re hitting the “reset” button. We’re examining everything we do, because “how we’ve always done it” isn’t good enough anymore. It’s not enough to aim for restoring things to normal. We’ve mustered all our collective creativity, energy and focus and are doubling down on our mission to connect people with the earth so they cherish the essence of life.
We’re determined to come out the other side of these times with a thriving, resilient and sustainable Garden that will serve you and the community as a place of peace, joyful gathering and connection to nature -- and each other -- for many years to come.
Something beautiful is growing here, and we can’t wait to share it with you!
We want to know about your experience - the great, the good, the bad, the ugly. If your expectations weren’t met during your visit, please let us know so we can make it right at firstname.lastname@example.org or 780-492-3303.
For more information call (780) 492-3050 or email email@example.com