Small Explorers

The Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens offers a special program of fun and educational opportunities suitable for toddlers, playgroups, family day care, child care and kindergarten aged children (from 18 months - 5 years). For school-aged children please see the Plant-ed page of this website.

What do we have to offer?

A place to play and learn…

Why not use the Under the Banyan PlayGarden to develop your child's muscles and confidence? There are things to slide on, pull, push, climb, swing, spin, balance and explore water and sand! It's a great place to learn about forces and energy. The Seedlings area of the PlayGarden was designed with small children in mind, equipped with toilets, drinking fountain and a nearby car park.
There is a new BBQ. facility there too, for family get togethers.

Book your visit with us so we can make sure there are no maintenance activities happening in the area when you arrive or come along on the selected dates below already organised for you to enjoy.

A place to explore and discover…

Let our Visitor Services Officer take you to special areas of the Botanic Gardens to explore on the special dates below... You can also book your own small groups with Maya on different days and choose your own topics of interest.  Call on 49527300 or email to arrange a time suitable for everyone.

Please book your place by calling the Botanic Gardens on 4952 7300. All sessions are 9.30am - 11am

Below are some of the sessions in more detail.

> Wildlife in the Gardens

Children are able to find, watch and inspect insects and animals. See how they move, check out their homes, their life cycles, features and characteristics. Sessions can include story reading, information books and artistic activities. Get fascinated by the creatures that help our gardens thrive.

> Water features

Find all the different places that water occurs in the Gardens, from fountains, creeks, pools and waterfalls to the lagoon.  Ask the question: Where does the water come from?  Experiment with evaporation. This session involves walking from the Tropical Shade Garden to the Eulamere Wetlands boardwalk and back again.  At the Eulamere Shelter, children and adults can see and explore (looking, touching and feeling) how some plants have adapted to living on and under the water.

> Leaf hunts

The children use a 'bingo style' card to look for and match different shaped and coloured leaves in the Tropical Shade Garden. Creating painted leaf mobiles/hangings can be included in this session.

> Storytelling

Under a shady tree, listen to stories about plants and animals that are found in the Gardens. A relaxing time to share humour, information and the joy of reading.  Can we find some? Add a short walk and the opportunity to draw what we find or those remembered from the books.

> Plant a seed and grow a mind

Children and adults have the opportunity to explore different seeds, sorting and matching them and planting some too… Take the planted seed home and watch it grow.

> Have some of your own ideas?

Just talk to us and together we can create something enticing for your 'Small Explorers'.

Visiting the Botanic Gardens

Planning a visit to the Botanic Gardens with children and accompanying adults?

Please contact the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens for the latest details of what is happening in the Gardens. Whether you wish to be self-guided, or plan to participate in an organised tour at the Gardens, our staff should be made aware of your intended visit.

Maintenance such as watering, mowing, whipper-snipping, and spraying could make the area you plan to visit unavailable, events and functions may clash or wildlife may be 'on the move' in certain areas.

Contact the Visitor Services Officer with your details on (07) 4952 7300 or

For more information download the Small Explorers brochure

The Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens also offers School Holiday Activities (for school aged children only) - See the Whats on / Schools Holiday Activities page.