Compiled by the Road Trip Alberta team
Last updated on June 29, 2023
Everyone could use a moment of zen, a moment to calm the mind, to relax and to just breathe. Spending a day or even a few hours at the University of Alberta Edmonton Botanical Gardens provides just this!
Once inside, it is incredible how quiet and at peace it feels. Even with others there, you can find spots to feel like you’re alone amongst the flowers, plants and trees. There are benches and places to sit scattered throughout the gardens so you don’t feel rushed on a visit. The Gardens are a perfect spot to escape the chaos of the city.
Your Guide to Visiting the University of Alberta Botanic Garden
The University of Alberta Botanic Garden was opened in 1959 and was first known as the Botanic Garden and Field Laboratory. After a flood severely damaged the gardens in the 1970s, it was renamed the Devonian Botanic Gardens after donations from the Devonian Foundation. Over the years, thousands of trees, plants, perennials, and more have been planted, with millions of dollars invested in the botanical garden in order to expand its natural areas, landscaping, and more.
With 240 acres to explore, the garden has long impressed people with its cultivated plant and flower collections, stunning natural spaces, and indoor showhouses, including a tropical showhouse with exotic butterflies.
It regularly hosts events, such as Luminaria and the Northern Light Dining Experience in winter.
Location and Parking for the Edmonton Botanical Gardens
Found 15 minutes southwest of Edmonton, the official address for the University of Alberta Botanic Garden is 51227 AB-60, Parkland County, Alberta, T7Y 1C5.
Unfortunately, there is no public transportation to the gardens, so you will need to arrange your own way.
There is free parking at the botanical garden, as well as designated areas for private buses and limousines. There is also RV parking during the week (no RV parking on weekends). Bike racks are also available.
University of Alberta Botanic Garden Opening Hours
The University of Alberta Botanic Garden has seasonal hours, so it is open at different times depending on the time of year.
Currently, the botanical gardens are open every day from 10 am until 6 pm, with the last admission at 5 pm. These are summer hours and will continue until the end of the season.
Prices of Admission for the University of Alberta Botanic Garden
Currently, the gardens are open for regular season hours. Advance tickets are recommended and can be booked online. Ticket prices are currently (in Canadian dollars):
- Adult: $19.75
- Senior: $13.50
- Youth (13-17): $10
- Child (3-12): $5.25
- Family: $44.75
- Child (2 & under): FREE
There are also Garden Passes, which are fantastic options for those who’d like to visit the botanic gardens throughout the year. Check out all of the options here.
Accessibility at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden
The University of Alberta Botanic Gardens are fairly accessible, as there is an extensive brick path system throughout much of the gardens. However, there are some areas where the paths are made of wood chips, grass, gravel, or other natural surfaces, and there are also some paths with steep inclines; wheelchair users may need assistance in these areas. You are also able to book a private tour (more on that below) in order to enjoy the garden from seated comfort.
There are limited loaner wheelchairs available, although it is advised to call ahead to book one. There are also accessible bathrooms at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden.
What is there to do at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden?
Unlike the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton, the University of Alberta Botanic Gardens are mainly outdoors. You can spend hours wandering through the variety of gardens and sprawling landscapes, taking in the sights of all of the trees, plants, flowers, shrubs, and more. Some of the different gardens include:
Aga Khan Garden
With over 25,000 plants and trees over its 4.8-hectare area, the Aga Khan Garden is one of the newest instalments at the botanic gardens. Enjoy the forest paths, the huge terraces of granite and limestone, the pools of water that are perfect for reflection, the fruit orchards, and even a waterfall. Gifted by His Highness the Aga Khan, the garden is referred to as the “most northerly Islamic garden” anywhere in the world.
Kurimoto Japanese Garden
Sprawling over five acres, the Kurimoto Japanese Garden was built in the Kaiyou style, meaning it is meant to be a “strolling garden”. Enjoy true peace and serenity here as the Japanese design and features are surrounded by native Canadian plants, a beautiful blend of cultures.
The first Indigenous Peoples garden at a botanic centre created in Canada, this exquisite space has been here since 1980. Learn about the plants that have been used in traditional medicine, diet, and celebration in Indigenous cultures for thousands of years.
Enjoy the beautiful indoor showhouses in the botanic gardens, including the Temperate Showhouse, the Arid Showhouse, and the Tropical Plant Showhouse. You’ll see a variety of plant species from around the world, including butterflies.
Patrick Seymour Alpine Garden
At over five acres, the Patrick Seymour Alpine Garden is one of the largest of its kind in North America. Filled with species of plants that have adapted to grow in mountains, you’ll find many blooming flowers here in early spring.
Other Things to Do
If you’re interested in taking a loop trail of the gardens, there’s the Devonian Botanic Garden loop that takes about half an hour to walk. There are also many fun events at the gardens – more on that below – which you can keep track of on their website.
Take a tour of the Edmonton Botanical Gardens
Yes, there are some tours offered at the botanical garden! There are occasional drop-in tours that take 20 minutes, and these are free. As the schedule changes often, you’ll have to check the website for exact dates and times. These tours allow you to explore the Aga Khan Garden and the Kurimoto Japanese Garden in much greater detail, led by a volunteer guide.
If you’d like a longer, private tour, you can call the office at (780) 492-3340 for rates and packages.
Events at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden
There are plenty of fantastic events to attend at the botanic gardens throughout the year, including the Twilight Picnic Experience and other garden dinners; keep an eye out on the website to stay informed of any upcoming events.
Perhaps the most famous event at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden is Luminaria in winter, a stunning celebration of the season with lights and displays. This family-friendly event is perfect to explore the sights, sounds, and even tastes of winter, and it is highly recommended if you’re in Edmonton in November or December.
There’s also the incredible Northern Light Dining Experience, where you can have a private heated dome to yourself and enjoy a three-course fondue dinner. Admission to Luminaria is included in this experience.
Finally, there are a number of programs available for children at the garden, including Green School and Kids in the Garden. Make sure to check out the website for up-to-date information on the programs.
Can you eat at the Edmonton Botanical Gardens?
Yes, you can eat at the Edmonton Botanical Gardens! The Patio Café is open daily during visiting hours, where you’ll find snacks and light meals such as sandwiches, soup, baked goods, and more. There’s also ice cream and coffee available. Enjoy both indoor or outdoor seating.
You can also book a special meal at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, including the Twilight Picnic Experience in spring and summer as well as the Northern Light Dining Experience in winter (which includes admission to Luminara). Both experiences are perfect for date nights, celebrations, or simply a meal you’d like to remember forever.
Or if you want to get out and explore the rest of the city, check out our complete guide to visiting Edmonton.
Pete is a co-founder of Road Trip Alberta. Growing up in Edmonton he has an extensive knowledge of Alberta and everything the province has to offer. He loves to eat good food, hike (especially in the winter), play tennis and curl. Apart from running Road Trip Alberta, he is a director with HMI, a digital media agency, half of the Hecktic Travels duo, and a co-creator of the popular card game Trip Chaser.