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 B.B.Q. 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, Maya Harrison, take you to special areas of the Botanic Gardens to explore on these special dates... Book the date with us on 49527300 or email to let us know you are coming... Thanks.

Small Explorers sessions in 2015   Please book your place by calling the Botanic Gardens on 49527300. All sessions are 9.30 - 11.00am

  • September: There is no Small Explorer session this month because of School Holidays, but there is a Family Friendly Dinosaur Quiz to do instead. Check out the school holidays tab under What's on.
  • October 29th: A very different day of the week for Small Explorers. Thursday 29th October 'Story telling under the Mango tree'
  • November 10th: If there has been rain, the session may be Water Creatures and Features, otherwise we will have...Make a 'B' line to the Botanic Gardens
  • December 7th: Christmas decorations. See them in the Gardens and make some to take home.

More sessions later in the year to be confirmed.

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.

> Story telling

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 Visitor Services Officer: Maya Harrison with your details on: (07) 4952 7300 or email: 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.