Let the Fun Bloom
Botanical gardens offer tranquil and inspiring settings for group outings. Surrounded by the beauty of nature, teams can bond, communicate, and collaborate in unique ways. But what can your group do at botanical gardens, other than smell the roses?
If you’re looking to plan an outdoor group event centered on botanical garden activities, here are nine things to do at your favorite flowery venue.
1. Solve a Murder Mystery
While you planned a tranquil outing to your local botanical garden, someone in your group—possibly on your own team—is a real Jekyll and Hyde! They’ve surreptitiously poisoned everyone in your group, and the clock is ticking. To save yourselves and get the antidote, you must play their game: the new Murder Mystery Mayhem at the Botanical Garden Scavenger Hunt!
The killer has hidden their identity in a series of thorny puzzles, as part of a scavenger hunt at the botanical garden. You’ll be tasked with answering trivia questions, solving interlocking puzzles, deciphering coded messages, and meeting the conditions of tricky photo challenges around the gardens.
2. Garden Yoga or Meditation
Many botanical gardens feature meditation gardens or even just wide-open fields, perfect for arranging a self-led session of yoga or meditation in the serene surroundings of the garden. It’s a great way for teams to relax, recharge, and build mindfulness together. Many botanical gardens, including the Chicago Botanic Garden, also offer a wide range of yoga, meditation, and other “healing” programs, both to the public and to private groups.
3. Explore Art
Art of course isn’t just for museums! Botanical gardens are not only showcases of natural beauty but also galleries for artistic expression. Often featuring carefully curated sculptures and art installations nestled amidst the flora, botanical gardens offer visitors a unique opportunity to experience the harmonious interplay between art and nature. The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, for example, are renowned for the whimsical troll sculptures spread throughout the grounds. Discovering all the art a garden has to offer is an adventure all its own.
4. Strike a Pose
Collaborating with teammates to create memorable photos based on themed prompts is a huge part of our Grab ‘n’ Go scavenger hunts. Much like the Murder Mystery Mayhem game, Grab ‘n’ Go hunts can be enjoyed in just about any botanical garden you like, and they leave you with a photo gallery full of keepsakes. They might offer a more relaxing experience for groups that aren’t looking to solve puzzles or stop a dastardly villain.
5. Nature Photography Contest
If you want to strike out on your own, send teams out with smartphones and challenge them to capture the most stunning or unique photos of plants, flowers, and landscapes. It’s as simple as that! Naturally, you can also award prizes for the most creative, artistic, or humorous shots.
6. Visit for a Specific Attraction
Some botanical gardens will feature particular events or points of interest that might appeal even to the skeptics in your group. For instance, the rare blooming of the pungent, one-of-a-kind corpse flower at the New York Botanical Garden is always a massive draw. Or folks who prefer grand old homes to gorgeous foliage might enjoy exploring the Peirce-du Pont House at Longwood Gardens, outside Philadelphia.
7. Botanical Trivia Challenge
Test teams’ knowledge of plants, flowers, and gardening with a trivia competition. You can customize questions to suit the level of expertise within your group and encourage friendly rivalry. Have someone in your group put together the questions ahead of time, and then your group can see how they do at any time during the outing. Something like this fits in well during lunch or at the end of a trip, when everyone’s had a chance to commune with nature.
8. Outdoor Games Tournament
Organize a tournament of classic outdoor games like croquet, bocce ball, baseball, pickleball, or frisbee in designated areas of the garden. It’s a lighthearted way for teams to compete and unwind amidst the natural beauty. (Of course, be respectful of other visitors, and don’t pick a space right next to, say, the aforementioned meditation gardens.)
9. Community Gardening Project
Give back to the community and strengthen your team’s bonds through a shared purpose. Collaborate on a meaningful project such as planting a community garden bed or revitalizing a neglected area of the garden. Teams work together towards a common goal while making a positive impact on the local environment—and knowing you’ve helped beautify gardens will definitely help you see them in a new light.
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