Whether your group is interested in taking an educational and inspirational field trip, you’d like to offer your staff or board members the benefits of an off-site retreat, or you just want to relax in a beautiful setting with friends, the Gardens provides the ultimate group getaway. Teachers who are interested in bringing their school group to the Gardens should see the Student Groups and Teachers section below to learn more about our field trip offerings.
Groups of 10 or more receive a special general admission rate of $12 per adult or senior, with complimentary admission for one bus driver and one group leader. Children receive a discounted admission rate of $5 per child (ages 3-17). This rate is only available with a single payment for the entire group by check, cash, or credit card.
Groups can schedule in advance a guided tour with a trained docent that explores our Central Gardens and even out into further-reaching areas of our property. The fees for these tours are $50 for one docent; each additional docent is $25 each. Please note: We find that the best visitor experience occurs when there is at least one docent for every 20 people in a group.
The Short Tour (1 hour)
Covers the main campus and includes the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses, Slater Forest Pond, Cleaver Event Lawn & Garden, the Great Lawn & Ledge Garden and the Rose & Perennial Garden. The tour ends at the Bibby & Harold Alfond Children’s Garden with an introduction to this exciting garden and an invitation to explore it independently, as well as an introduction to the Bosarge Family Education Center a short walk away and an invitation to visit there.
The Long Tour (2 hours)
Covers the “Short Tour” to the Rose & Perennial Garden, where the tour proceeds down the Haney Hillside Garden to the Vayo Meditation Garden and along the Shoreland Trail to the Giles Rhododendron Garden, ending with a walk up the Birch Alleé to the Bibby & Harold Alfond Children’s Garden, with an introduction to this garden and an invitation to explore it independently, as well as an introduction to the Bosarge Family Education Center and an invitation to visit there.
Groups wishing to enjoy a provided/catered lunch at the Gardens are asked to make reservations and payment a minimum of two weeks prior to the visit. Check out our Group Tour Lunch Options.
To make reservations, please contact us at 207-633-8000, ext. 8050
Field Trips: School Groups & Teachers
“Everyone was very welcoming. The grounds are so well marked, we could figure things out easily. It is a very special place.” – Portland Arts and Technology High School
Cultivating Curiosity–a Field Trip program at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens–offers school groups three types of experiences. Choose the option that best suits your group:
Formal Guided Tours
Designed for teachers who want to make their visit part of an overall curricular unit. Free downloadable pre- and post-visit activities help to prepare for the visit and reinforce concepts back in the classroom. Options currently include Pollinators for 3rd-5th grades and Birds at the Gardens for K-2nd grades. Price: $50 per class (not to exceed 25 students per class; does not include Gardens admission).
Birds at the Gardens Unit Overview up to grade 2
Pollinators Unit Overview for up to grade 5
Informal Guided Tours
60-90 minute walks led by Gardens Guides that explore different areas of our Gardens. 2014 offerings include a Timber Trail Walk to learn about the trees of Maine; Sense of Wonder Trail Walk in the spirit of Rachel Carson; Apple Cider Pressing to learn about the botanical and cultural history of apples including apple cider production; a Central Gardens Walk that introduces our Garden of the Five Senses and Children’s Garden (ideal for younger students). Price: $25 per class (not to exceed 25 students per class; does not include Gardens admission).
Apple Cider Pressing
Central Gardens Walk
Sense of Wonder Trail Walk
Timber Trail Walk
Begin with a warm welcome upon arrival and offer a home base for visitor orientation and lunch. Children explore the gardens under the supervision of their own teachers and chaperones. Price: Free with Gardens admission.
Or if you prefer, check out a Discovery Backpack for your students during your field trip visit! Our Discovery Backpacks add more structure to your visit while giving your students the opportunity to use the Gardens as a place for investigation and discovery. Choose from our themed backpacks, including Birds at the Gardens, Flowers and Pollinators, and Trees of the Maine Woods. Each backpack, which is ideal for two students to share, contains field guides, scavenger hunts, games, binoculars, a field journal, and materials to perform more in-depth studies. Ten backpacks may be checked out at any given time for a fee of $2/backpack.
The season for Field Trips is April 15 to October 31. School groups receive a special admission rate, and visits must be booked in advance through the Education Department. To ensure a quality experience for all guests, there is a limit of one school group per day; therefore, please make your reservations early. Call Erika Huber, Youth & Family Program Coordinator at (207) 633-8031.
- School Group Reservation Policies and Pricing Information 2016
- Want to know what’s blooming the day of your visit? Visit FloraFind
- To help plan your visit, feel free to download the CMBG MAP 2013 or the Children’s Garden Book Map.
- We also offer a fun Gardens photo scavenger hunt that encourages creative interpretation and discovery.
We are always looking for ways to integrate the Gardens into Maine curriculum. Please contact our Education Department if you have additional suggestions, comments, or ideas.