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 with a docent. We need a minimum of two weeks’ notice to schedule a docent-led tour. 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. View our 2016 Group 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 email or call (207) 633-8050.

Field Trips: School/Youth Groups

“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

FieldTripsCultivating Curiosity – a Field Trip program at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens offers school/youth groups several types of experiences. Choose the option that best suits your group:

Intensive Study Units

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. Our intensive units include a classroom lesson and a field study and last approximately 2 hours. Price: $50 per class (not to exceed 25 students per class; does not include Gardens admission).

Study Units include:
Birds at the Gardens Unit Overview up to grade 5 (Spring only)
Pollinators Unit Overview for up to grade 5

Field Studies

Students will be connected with life sciences in the garden through hands-on field study explorations and activities that highlight living organisms and their life cycles. Our one-hour field study programs can be adapted to grades PreK-6. Price: $25 per class (not to exceed 25 students per class; does not include Gardens admission).

Field Study Topics:
The Life of a Plant – What better way to learn about plant parts than by eating them! Students will sample their way through the vegetable garden as they learn the function of the different parts of a plant and explore the life cycle of a plant from seed to fruit. Students will also learn about the common plant families found in a vegetable garden.

Decomposers – Students will investigate life underground in the garden and discover the important role decomposers play in helping our garden grow. Students will learn to identify these living organisms, learn about the anatomy of a worm and understand how a compost pile works.

Guided Nature Walks

These 60-90 minute walks are led by an experienced guide and explore different areas of our Gardens. Price: $25 per class (not to exceed 25 students per class; does not include Gardens admission). Appropriate for any grade level.
Options include:
Central Gardens Walk – Introduces our Garden of the Five Senses and Children’s Garden.
Sense of Wonder Trail Walk – Emphasizes natural history through the lens of Rachel Carson.
Maine Woods Walk – Introduces students to the trees of Maine through identification, ecology and cultural history.
Apple Cider Pressing – Explores the botanical and cultural history of apples including an apple cider pressing demonstration and tasting. (Fall only; an extra $12 charge per class for apple cider pressing supplies will be applied)

Discovery Backpack

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.

Self-Guided Option

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.

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, we recommend making your reservations early.
Contact to schedule your field trip.

We are always looking for ways to integrate the Gardens into Maine curriculum. Please contact our Education Department if you have suggestions, comments, or ideas.