A pond at VanDusen Garden, Vancouver

A VanDusen Garden Guide+Skip the Line Tickets

VanDusen Garden is a 22 hectare urban oasis that is home to over 7500 plant species sourced from all over the world.

The vivid colours and sweet aromas are guaranteed to instill a sense of peace and tranquility in visitors of all ages, making it the perfect foil to the hustle and bustle of Downtown Vancouver.

To aid you in your journey, I’ve devised this quick guide to answer any questions you may have about your visit.

So what are you waiting for? Lets get started.

Index

  1. Overview
  2. Blooming Schedule
  3. Map
  4. Highlights
  5. How to Get There
  6. Hours
  7. Prices
  8. Skip the Line Tickets
  9. VanDusen Garden Restaurants
  10. Visitor Tips
  11. FAQs

VanDusen Garden

The Van Dusen Gardens visitor centre

VanDusen Garden is a stunning set of botanical gardens nestled in 22 hectares (55 acres) of space on Vancouver’s Westside.

The site has numerous amenities featured on onsite, including;  a beautiful orchid shaped visitor centre and gift shop, a coffee shop and two restaurants; the casual Truffles Kitchen and the more upscale Shaughnessey Restaurant.

The garden houses a Korean Pavilion, a Stone Garden, the Scottish Shelter and even an Elizabethan Maze, perfect for the kids and the young at heart.

With more than 7500 plant species and over a dozen ponds and lakes interspersed throughout the garden, the area provides a diverse array of habitats for numerous species of local wildlife.

Visitors can anticipate sharing this beautiful space with turtles, fish and frogs, in addition to a wide variety of birds, including; herons, geese and ducks, to name but a few.

However, it’s undoubtedly the incredible diversity of plant life that makes the VanDusen Garden one of the most popular things to do in the city.

Each plant has been carefully selected in accordance with their blooming schedule. As a result, you can anticipate a veritable feast for the senses regardless of which season you happen to be visiting.

Blooming Schedule

Here is a quick overview of VanDusen’s blooming schedule to provide you with an idea of the botanical delights you can expect to encounter upon your visit.

Spring

Cherry blossoms begin to bloom

It goes without saying that spring is a time of rebirth, and this is likely more apparent at VanDusen Garden then at any other location in the city.

The site awakens from it’s winter slumber with over 1,000 different species of Rhododendrons bursting to life. The colours are simply extraordinary.

April also welcomes the ever popular Sakura Days Festival, which celebrates the onset of Cherry Blossom season on the Westcoast.

Additional fees apply, check out the VanDusen Garden Sakura Days page for more information.

Summer

Large red roses at Van Dusen Garden

Visitors lucky enough to visit in the Summer will experience the most spectacular colours and fragrant smells of any season.

Roses of all shapes and colours sit alongside Fuschias, Lillies and a seemingly endless array of Perennials, all at full bloom.

You wont be disappointed!

Fall

A woman holds a small leaf in fall

The onset of Autumn ushers in jaw dropping displays of reds, yellows and oranges as the deciduous trees prepare to shed their leaves for Winter.

However, visitors need not worry. There are still plenty of flowers in bloom, with Autumn Crocuses, Hydrangeas and Daisies still providing plenty of colour.

Winter

The Festival of Lights at Vandusen Garden

Generally Winter tends to provide visitors with much more muted tones and fragrances.

However, Vancouver’s mild Winters are quite hospitable to many Winter blooming flowers. Examples include; Viburnums, Jasmines and Witch Hazel, to name but a few.

Moreover, the VanDusen Festival of Lights is one of the most popular Christmas events in the city, with over 100,000 visitors per annum

This spectacular holiday event involves the display of more than one million Christmas lights throughout the Garden. With this in mind, Winter is actually one of the best times to visit the Botanical Gardens. Who would’ve thought!

If you’d like to visit make sure to check out the VanDusen Festival of Lights page for more information.

VanDusen Garden Map

The Botanical Garden is loosely organized into several different sectors that contain flowers and themes from various countries from all over the world.

For a quick over view of the layout click on our link to the VanDusen Garden map.

Layout

A waterfall at VanDusen Garden

The Western side of the Garden is dominated by the Sino-Himalayan and Japanese collections, which are located adjacent to the Korean Pavilion.

In contrast, the Eastern side located near the entrance contains a variety of stunning collections from the Southern Hemisphere.   Examples include the Chilean, Australian and New Zealand collections.

The two sides are divided by the Great Lawn, which was formerly part of the old Shaughnessy Golf Course. This is a perfect spot to relax, catch some sun and maybe have a picnic.

The remainder of the Garden contains numerous plants native to the Pacific Northwest, in addition to European exhibits such as the Scottish Pavilion and Mediterranean collection.

VanDusen Garden Highlights

Here is a quick look at a few of the most popular attractions that are located within VanDusen Garden.

The Elizabethan Maze

The Elizabethan Maze at VanDusen Garden

Undoubtedly the highlight for children, the Elizabethan Maze is a 6ft tall hedge maze comprised of of over 3000 Pyramidal Cedars.

It is a perfect spot for the kids to burn off some steam as they frolic through this life sized labyrinth in pursuit of the centre. There is also an observation area for pictures, parents and less adventurous souls!

Remember to check out the peculiar Monkey Puzzle Tree that flanks the maze while your children meander amongst its pathways.

The Stone Garden

The Stone Garden at VanDusen Garden

The Stone Garden is loosely themed upon the Zen Gardens found throughout Asia.

These gardens employ a unique stylized landscape of rocks that represent islands in a “dry lake”. The site is a skillful use of what is formerly the home of the long abandoned Point Grey Reservoir.

The Korean Pavilion

The Korean Pavilion at VanDusen Garden

A gift from the South Korean people during Expo ‘86, this hexagonal structure is designed in conformity with the ancient principle of Dancheong.

Typical to many Korean temples, this unique style involves the use of intricate designs alongside pictures of spirits, monks and dragons.

This eye dropping pavilion sits adjacent to a variety of plants native to the Korean Peninsula, including Evergreen Azaleas, Hibiscuses and The Rose of Sharon, the South Korean national plant.

How to Get to VanDusen Garden

Address: 5221 Oak Street

Driving

If you’ve got your own wheels, simply click on our Google Maps link to receive detailed directions.

VanDusen Garden Parking

There is free parking available on-site in the VanDusen Garden parking lot.

If the lot is full you should be able to find parking along 37th Avenue or Oak Street that is also free of charge.

Transit

Unfortunately the garden is a bit of a hike from the nearest Skytrain station.

Consequently, our preferred method of transport from downtown is the #17 Oak bus, the directions to which are located below:

  1. Board the #17 Oak bus going Southbound from the West side of Cambie Street near Robson Street. It is beside Pure Pharmacy. (The cost will be $2.95 or $2.35 with a Compass Card).
  2. Stay aboard the bus for 18 stops until it reaches Oak Street and 37th Street. The journey should take about 25 minutes depending on traffic.
  3. Exit the bus and walk back in the direction you came for half a block and you will see Van Dusen Gardens on the Northwest corner of 37th Avenue.

To learn more about the Vancouver public transportation system visit our Vancouver Public Transport Guide.

If you’d like a schedule, you can head over to the Translink website.

VanDusen Garden Hours

The VanDusen Garden is open 7 days a week 364 days a year  (except for Christmas). The hours, which vary according to season, are posted below.

  • Winter (Nov-Feb)——10:00am-3:00pm
  • Low Season (Mar/Oct)——10:00am-5:00pm
  • Shoulder Season (Apr/Sep)——9:00am-6:00pm
  • May——9:00am-7:00pm
  • Summer (Jun-Aug)——9:00am-8:00pm

*There may be different hours for special events.

**We recommend budgeting at least two hours in order to enjoy all that the Garden has to offer.

VanDusen Garden Prices

The cost of entry to the garden varies according to season. The prices are listed below.

Low Season (Oct 1-Mar 31)

  • Adults-$8.20
  • Seniors (65+)/Youth(13-18)-$5.75
  • Children (5-12)-$4.10

High Season (Apr 1-Sep 30)

  • Adults-$11.50
  • Senior (65+)/Youths (13-18)-$8.05
  • Children (5-12)-$5.75

*Children 4 and under are free

**Special pricing may occur during certain events, such as the Sakura Days and the Festival of Lights.

Skip the Line Tickets

During peak times and special events VanDusen Garden can get quite busy. This means that you may end up spending a significant amount of time in line awaiting entry.

In order to remedy this problem, we are happy to be able to offer you skip the line tickets via our friends at Viator. To take advantage of this offer, hit the button below.

Grab My Tickets Now

VanDusen Garden Restaurants

The Shaugnessey Restaurant at VanDusen Garden

Are you just looking for a casual bite to eat after your visit?  Or maybe you’d prefer something a little more refined?

Well VanDusen Garden has you covered either way, with two restaurants located onsite.

Truffles Cafe

Located inside the newly renovated Visitor’s Centre, the Truffles Cafe offers stunning views of the surrounding botanical garden from its 58 person capacity room. In the Summer there is also room for 40 more outside on their lovely patio.

The cafe offers casual locally-inspired entrees, artisan sandwiches, snacks and house-made soups and salads. All prepared with the freshest of ingredients.

They can all be washed down with a selection from their  specialty coffees and teas, house-made ice tea and lemonade or a local beer or wine.

Hours

  • April-9:00am-6:30pm
  • May-9:00am-7:30pm
  • Summer-9:00am-8:30pm

To see the menu visit the Truffles Cafe website.

Shaughnessy Restaurant

Is it something a little more refined you’re after? Well the Shaughnessy Restaurant aims to provide a casual elegance and soothing ambiance alongside its stunning garden vistas.

Situated adjacent to the Visitor Centre, the Shaughnessy offers a refined Westcoast inspired menu that is heavy on fresh local ingredients.

Whether it’s a Sunday brunch, an afternoon tea or an unforgettable dinner with the family, the Shaughnessy is perfect for any occasion.

Hours

  • Lunch (Monday-Saturday) – 11:30 am – 3:00 pm
  • Happy Hour (7 days a week) – 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
  • Dinner (7 days a week) – 5:00 pm till late
  • Brunch (Saturday/Sunday) -11:00 am – 3:00 pm

To check out the menu or book a table visit the Shaughnessy webpage.

Visitor Tips

A family enjoys VanDusen Garden
Instagram: @vandusengarden

Before we bring this guide to a close, here are a few key tips to remember before you head to VanDusen Garden.

1) Take a self-guided tour

The Garden is spread over a surprisingly large space. With that in mind, we recommend taking advantage of the maps provided in the free leaflets handed out in the Visitor Centre.

This will allow you to manage time more efficiently and ensure you are able to see everything you came to see.

2) Wear comfortable shoes

You’re likely to spend upwards of two hours walking around the grounds, so we highly recommend opting for comfortable footwear on your visit.

Trust us, this isn’t an occasion for heals, flip flops or dress shoes.

3) Buy your tickets online

If you plan on visiting during peak hours we’d recommend purchasing our skip the line tickets from our friends at Viator.

This way you can spend more time enjoying the views than waiting in line.

4) Keep your eyes open for special events

VanDusen Garden holds a variety of special seasonal events that create an additional buzz amongst locals and tourists alike.

Sakura Days and the Festival of Lights are likely the most popular, typically drawing upwards of 100,000 visitors per year.

However, the Easter Egg HuntHalloween Glow and the Plant Sale are three other examples of events that will make any visit extra special.

Just remember, extra fees may apply.

Visit Van Dusen’s event page to see what is scheduled during your visit.

FAQs

Where is VanDusen Garden?

VanDusen Garden is located at 5151 Oak Street in Vancouver’s Oakridge neighbourhood.

What time is VanDusen Garden open?

VanDusen Garden is open 7 days a week with hours that vary according to season.

Shoulder season hours (Apr/Sep) are from 9am-6pm, May hours are from 9am-7pm and Summer hours are from 9am-8pm.

During the low season(Mar/Oct) the facility is open from 10am-5pm, while Winter hours are from 10am-3pm.

How much is VanDusen Garden?

Admission at VanDusen Garden also varies according to season.

During low season (Oct 1-Mar 31) admission costs $8 for adults, $5.50 for youths (13-18) and seniors (65+) and $4.25 for children (4-12).

During peak season (Apr 1-Sep 30) the rates are $11.25 for adults, $8.45 for youths (13-18) and seniors (65+) and $5.50 for children (4-12).

Children under 4 are always free.

How big is VanDusen Garden?

VanDusen Garden is 22 hectares or 54 acres in size and features over 7500 different plant species.

Well it looks like it’s thyme to bring this visitor’s guide to a close!

I hope I’ve managed to plant a few ideas into your head concerning your visit to this stunning urban botanical garden.

And remember, if you have any more questions, I’m always available on our Facebook page or in the comment section below.

So don’t be afraid to plant one on me!

Safe travels

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