Group Visits
Group Visits

Group Visits

Whether for educational and inspirational field trips, off-site retreats for staff or board members, or a relaxing break with friends, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is the ultimate group getaway. Teachers interested in bringing school groups to the Gardens, please see the Student Groups and Teachers section below to learn more about our field trip offerings.

Groups of 10 or more receive a reduced admission rate of $12 per adult or senior and $5 per child (ages 3-17), with complimentary admission for one bus driver and one group leader. This rate is only available with a single payment for the entire group by check, cash, or credit card.

To enhance a group visit, a guided tour can be scheduled in advance. Please see the options below and note: we find that the best visitor experience occurs when there is at least one docent for every 20 people in a group. Prices will vary depending on the requested tour and number of docents required.

The Short Tour (1 hour)

This tour covers the main campus, including 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 area and an invitation to explore it independently. Our tour guides will also introduce and explain the Bosarge Family Education Center, and invite guests to explore the LEED Platinum-Certified building.

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 lunch at the Gardens are asked to make reservations and payment a minimum of two weeks prior to the visit. 2016 Group Lunch OptionsCheck out our Group Tour Lunch Options. For a special Maine lunch, including a gourmet lobster roll and blueberry dessert, inquire with the Events and Group Tours Coordinator.

For prices, more information, or to make reservations, please contact Events and Group Tours Coordinator Christabel Frye via email or at (207) 633-8050.

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

Self-Guided Tours

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.

Discovery Backpack

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. Contact Anna DeGloria, Education Assistant at (207) 633-8000 ext. 8037 or adegloria@mainegardens.org.

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.