A Rainy Day at RBG: Ontario’s Royal Botanical Gardens

I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog :: RBG, Ontario's Royal Botanical Gardens

April showers bring May flowers… March showers do too. Unfortunately for me, my outdoor adventure to Hamilton was kyboshed by Mother Nature as rain clouds hung low in the sky. That didn’t stop me from visiting Ontario’s Royal Botanical Gardens, and it shouldn’t stop you! Spring is a great time to explore before the crowds of summer hit, despite the higher chance of inclement weather. Check out how Robin & I entertained ourselves with some help from Tourism Hamilton and Attractions Ontario!

I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog :: RBG, Ontario's Royal Botanical Gardens

The Royal Botanical Gardens are located on the cusp of Hamilton and Burlington. For almost 100 years, this National Historic Site protects over 1000 hectares of wetland, field, forest & escarpment ecosystems across the two cities. While the majority of this is located outside, the RBG Centre is a great place to start on a rainy day! It’s an amazing building which shouldn’t be overlooked. Construction materials like carpet & drywall are not used, along with less-harmful paints and treatments. The air you breathe (especially in the Atrium) are fresh and clean thanks to the plants within it! A third of the building’s materials were sourced locally and almost 100% of the demolition/construction waste was diverted from the landfill. How amazing is that?!

I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog :: RBG, Ontario's Royal Botanical Gardens

I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog :: A Rainy Day at Ontario's Royal Botanical Gardens

Every winter the RBG Centre hosts a special winter exhibition. This year, RBG’s The Big Freeze focuses on the Ice Age and how it impacted life on Earth. First you’ll learn how drastic environmental changes shaped Canada’s landscape over the past 4 millions years. Then, you’ll discover how mammoths, mastodons & bear-sized beavers worked together as part of the local ecosystem. If you’re attending with small children, there’s plenty of interactive science shows, presentations and more on weekends and holidays! A large part of the exhibit is interactive where you can use your senses to connect with the creatures. A highlight is the huge skeletons they have on display, you’ll definitely want to snap a photo or two. Be sure to say hi to Bucky for me – he was my favourite!

I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog :: RBG, Ontario's Royal Botanical Gardens

Afterwards, we made our way to the Mediterranean Garden. Here you’ll find a permanent display of a variety of plants from trees to cacti. What surprised me was that they even have a cork tree! Did you know that if harvested correctly, no harm is done to the tree? I had no idea! There’s also a beautiful koi pond as well as benches scattered throughout so you can truly relax and enjoy! One of the highlights for me though was the miniature sculptures of world landmarks. It’s like RBG knew I’m jonesing for an international adventure!

I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog :: RBG, Ontario's Royal Botanical Gardens

I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog :: RBG, Ontario's Royal Botanical Gardens

Take your time exploring the variety of plants the Royal Botanical Gardens has to offer. It’s a great area to warm up when the rain is putting a damper on things outside!

I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog :: A Rainy Day at Ontario's Royal Botanical Gardens

I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog :: A Rainy Day at Ontario's Royal Botanical Gardens

At this point we had already spent 3 hours at RBG and our tummies started to rumble. RBG boasts their Greenhouse Café, open year round. They also have their Rock Garden Café, however it closes for the fall & winter. While their Warm Maple Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce looked tempting, we opted for a change of scenery. Making our way to the car, we drove into downtown for a midday break at the Berkley North. You’ll have to wait for another post to get the full details, but know this: their brunch is to DIE for! Offered Saturdays & Sundays from 11:30am-3pm, this west coast inspired bistro will leave you wanting more… even if you’re full to the brim!

I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog :: Hamilton's Berkley North

I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog :: Hamilton's Berkley North

I never realized how large RBG was, or how dispersed their gardens were! While we didn’t make it to the Arboretum across the street from the RBG Centre, we did stop at the Rock Garden as was suggested by their front desk staff. Luckily the rain had stopped so we could make our way outside. Very few plants were in bloom, however the landscape and the newly renovated building are absolutely breathtaking! It’s definitely worth a stop as it’s all included in your admission price. I can’t wait to come back in the fairer weather to see the beautiful blooms!

I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog :: RBG, Ontario's Royal Botanical Gardens

I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog :: RBG, Ontario's Royal Botanical Gardens

Speaking of blooms, are you interested in anything in particular? Check out what’s in bloom using their handy calendar, or pick up a Visitor’s Guide at the RBG Centre to see what’s in season. With over 25km of trails and 5 areas of interest, you’ll definitely be making more than one visit!

Have you ever been to the Royal Botanical Gardens? If not, I suggest you go – especially if you want to see The Big Freeze. Don’t delay, it’s only on until April 17th!

DISCLAIMER:
Thank you to Tourism Hamilton for having me as I enjoyed exploring a new side of Hamilton! Merci as well to Attractions Ontario for arranging this adventure! All reviews and opinions are my own.

I've Been Bit! A Travel Blog :: A Rainy Day at Ontario's Royal Botanical Gardens | Burlington, Hamilton, Canada, Flowers, Plants, Travel |

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15 Comments

  1. Katrina

    April 1, 2017

    I only discovered my love for plants and flowers at Chelsea Flower Show with my mum! Now i’m obsessed! That food and cafe sounds delicious as well!

    • Lindz author

      April 1, 2017

      Looking at bright and beautiful flowers can be such a pick me up – especially on a dreary day. That’s my favourite time to go to conservatories & botanical gardens! :)

  2. Alice Chen

    April 1, 2017

    These are so cool! I love that there is an indoor component! It can make the trip that much more enjoyable. The flowers are so gorgeous!

    • Lindz author

      April 2, 2017

      Me too! It’s always lovely to see a mix of both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

  3. Ticket to Adventures

    April 1, 2017

    What a great place to visit on a rainy day! The bistro and food look very inviting, I am getting hungry.

    • Lindz author

      April 2, 2017

      Haha yes I have to agree – I’m getting hungry just reminiscing about it!

  4. Phoebe

    April 2, 2017

    I really love botanical gardens and always try to visit them when I’m exploring somewhere new. I’m hoping to get to Canada soon so hopefully I can check these beautiful gardens out for myself!

    • Lindz author

      April 2, 2017

      I hope you can too! I can’t speak much to how RBG is in the summer, but I’m sure it must be fantastic when so many flowers are blooming!

  5. Kat

    April 4, 2017

    This is my first time hearing about the Royal Botanical Gardens! :) I’m definitely adding it to my list of places to visit in Ontario. I’ve been living in Ontario for 2 years but haven’t seen much of the province besides Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa and Niagara Falls.

    The food at the bistro you visited looks really good!

    • Lindz author

      April 4, 2017

      Ontario’s a wonderful province!! I’m not too far away from Toronto actually – I’m in Kitchener! If you’re close by, we should grab a coffee or something! I’m always happy to meet fellow travellers :)

  6. Bec

    April 4, 2017

    Loved reading this! I must admit that it’s not usually an attraction that would be on my “must see” list but this has won me over. I especially like that they’ve sourced a third of the materials locally. Makes such a difference to the local economy.

    • Lindz author

      April 4, 2017

      Awww I’m glad to hear that! RBG has so much to offer, and it’s doing so much good for the wildlife, flora & fauna in the area! I can’t wait to go back when the weather is nicer and explore some of the outdoor trails.

  7. I love finding spots like this to escape a rainy day when traveling. And anywhere with a cafe is automatically on my to-do list :)

  8. Sam

    April 6, 2017

    This is such a cool article! So many times people overlook things like botanical gardens, but as you’ve proven they can be a really great day out!

    • Lindz author

      April 6, 2017

      They sure are!! Especially RBG with the indoor & outdoor components. I love Botanical gardens! 😸

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