Tours in the Garden
San Diego Botanic Garden offers a variety of different tours for various groups. We have tours designed to meet the needs of all ages and interests including docent-led groups, self-guided tours, and scout troops.
Download 11 x 17 Printable Map (PDF File 16.8MB)
Popular Locations for a self-guided visit
Experience the exotic drama of the nation’s largest public collection of bamboo.
Native Plant and Native People
See a Kumeyaay homesite and learn about native plants used by the Kumeyaay, the area’s earliest inhabitants. Wander a nature trail to a quiet pond.
Hamilton Children’s Garden
Here you can climb Toni’s Tree House in a jungle canopy, hop through an elephant foot tree forest, see live quail, play in a mountain stream, make music, and so much more. .
Learn about the rich botanical heritage of Mexico including agaves, salvias, and cycads. Enjoy the festive topiary mariachis.
Overlook Natural Area
Stunning ocean views await you at the top of our Overlook Natural Area, situated among habitat native to Southern California. A free telescope at the top brings the crystal blue waters of the Pacific Ocean closer to you!
Popular Themes for a docent-led visit
If this is your first visit to the Garden we recommend a general tour. The San Diego Botanic Garden is a beautiful urban retreat nestled on 37-acres in the midst of Encinitas. Visitors enjoy restful vistas, flowering trees, majestic palms, and the nation’s largest bamboo collection. Thanks to our mild Southern California climate, plants from all over the world thrive here – nearly 4,000 different species! Our diverse topography provides a wide variety of microclimates giving visitors the sensation of strolling through a tropical rainforest to hiking in the desert. Four miles of trails wind through 29 uniquely themed gardens including our acclaimed Hamilton Children’s Garden. Click here to see the Garden list sdbgarden.org/garden_list.htm
Water wise Tour
San Diego Botanic Garden gives a special tour featuring water wise plants in the gardens. Yes, we have cactus and desert gardens; but if that isn’t your style, we have lots of other opportunities to save water. Learn about beautiful plants from around the world that will work in your garden and require less water, including plants from the Mediterranean basin, Cape South Africa, Australia, and Chile; plus our own California natives which are easy to grow in our climate with minimal care. You can see the plants at their mature growth and also learn how to use them effectively with other plants. There are so many alternatives to using large amounts of water in the garden. Come see our gardens and take home lots of tips for conserving water in your own garden.
If your organization is currently studying this curricula or has further education on any of these topics please notify us on the reservation form.
The reason plants are able to survive in their environments is because of their adaptations. A plant adaptation is a unique feature a plant has that allows it to live and grow in its habitat, or place that it lives.
The Kumeyaay people
The Kumeyaay people who lived in this area when the Spanish arrived had long developed a system of practices to carefully manage their environment. Learn how Native Americans used plants here for food, medicine, clothing, shelter and tools.
Flower Badge, Bug Badge, and Composting Badge, etc.
We help work a variety of badges in accordance with what our Garden offers. Although we do not sell the badges we do offer a variety of educational itineraries to help facilitates these requests.
Please complete this form (Tour Request Form) and submit to firstname.lastname@example.org as instructed.
For any questions please call or e-mail Stephanie Wilson our Education Coordinator for availability and details; email@example.com or
760/ 436-3036 x201
There are tables available on a 1st come, 1st served basis in Seeds of Wonder and Hamilton Children’s Garden. Both areas seat about 48 people. If a guaranteed spot is desired or if the group is larger than the area can accommodate, a $25 setup fee will apply
Note: There are benches scattered about the Garden. The benches in Hamilton Children’s Garden have been removed due to construction. Jan 2017
Regularly Scheduled Tours
Individuals wishing to join a Docent-led tour of the gardens may do so every Saturday at 10:30 am. These tours are free with admission to the Garden or membership, and do not require a reservation. Tours depart from the Visitor Center/Gift Shop.