31 Ways to Enjoy the Botanic Garden This Summer

Though North Campus is full of flora and fauna — there are over 80 species of trees on campus, but more on that in a future post — there…

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Opera al Fresco at University of Alberta Botanic Garden. Photo by Paul Swanson.

Though North Campus is full of flora and fauna — there are over 80 species of trees on campus — there is perhaps no better space to enjoy colourful flowers, lush greenery, and calming water features in the summer than at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden. The gardens are a delight to visit any time during the season, but a slew of summer programming means that there are a variety of ways to enjoy the venue and even learn a thing or two. (And, the gardens will be closing earlier than usual this year— the gardens will close for the season on September 3, 2019).

There are 20 all-ages events scheduled throughout July and August, and eleven adult education courses — giving you 31 more reasons to visit the Botanic Garden this summer.

Thanks to the addition of the gorgeous Aga Khan Garden last June, all stage programming will now take place in the outdoor amphitheater nestled within it, including an improv show (July 18), the Cosmopolitan Music Society concert (July 28), and the 100-Mile House concert (August 1).

New at the Botanic Garden this year, take your Wellness Wednesday practice to a new level with an immersive yoga event on July 24. Join 249 other yogis in the tranquil Aga Khan Garden for an all-levels restorative yoga class that will combine yoga, breathing, and meditation techniques alongside live music, facilitated by Sound Vibes Edmonton.

Every Thursday evening there is a different Date Night activity in the gardens — but this isn’t just an event for couples. Bring your friends or family and enjoy a drink from the bar, a movie, some dance lessons, or a concert. You can still access the gardens on Thursdays and go for a stroll if you don’t want to take part in the activities, but they really are worth checking out.

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Date Night at University of Alberta Botanic Garden. Photo by Paul Swanson.

Even though it’s been raining… a lot… so far this summer, never fear — the Botanic Garden events run rain or shine, so dress for the weather, bring an umbrella, and enjoy the gardens no matter when you visit.

The Botanic Gardens’ special event coordinator Georgina Bull recommends registering for events in advance, as most tend to sell out before the event date. (Case in point: Opera al Fresco with Edmonton Opera on July 5 has been sold out for weeks.) The most popular event that you’re going to want to snag tickets for ASAP is the Craft Beer and Garden Games night on July 11. After all, what better place is there to enjoy lawn games than in a 240-acre garden?

If you’re wanting to do something that’s both fun and informative, try one of the eleven hands-on education courses, and learn about topics including honey harvesting (August 17), wild mushrooms (July 20), plants (July 17, August 14), and photography (July 17, August 10).

When the summer festivities are over, there’s at least one good reason to start thinking about winter right away: tickets for the incredibly popular winter-wonderland-by-candlelight event, Luminaria (December 6–8), go on sale September 1 and it’s likely that they’ll sell out before the semester even begins — so mark your calendar!

The University of Alberta Botanic Garden is a unit of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta. It is located in Parkland County, Alberta, 5 KM north of Devon on Hwy 60.