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About the Virtual Garden Program

The Virtual Garden program allows students from across the state to virtually investigate phenomenon as they explore the Garden. Teachers can choose from 8 investigation options that align with SEEd standards. As a class or individually your students explore the Garden through a 360 virtual tour and interact with different features and prompts.

We are excited to be able to offer this program at NO COST.

Please click here to register for the Virtual Garden Program.

Virtual Garden program options

K-2nd Grade

Sensory Observations

Enhances SEEd standards: K.2.1, 1.2.2

Students discover how using their senses can help them make observations of the natural world. As they travel through the Garden they explore their sense of sight, touch, taste, smell and sound to practice making observations.

After watching this tour, students can begin making observations in their own neighborhoods. Using their senses, they can further discover patterns among living things, and what those things need to survive.

Investigation Goal: Use your senses to observe living things.


Enhances SEEd standards: K.2.2, 1.2.2, 2.2.2

Students observe different areas of Red Butte Garden to explore different habitat and animal characteristics. Students see how living things in the Garden have features that help them to survive in each habitat.

After watching this tour, students can begin to share what features help animals survive in certain habitats.

Investigation Goal: How do living things survive in different habitats?


Enhances SEEd standards: K.2.2, 1.2.4, 2.2.3, 3.2.1

Flowers and fruits, oh my! Students interact with living creatures in the Garden and observe ways that plants can reproduce and survive. Why is the bee pollinating a flower? What is the squirrel doing with the fruit? Does the fruit have what it needs to grow? Explore the Garden and see what flowers you find!

After watching this tour, students will be able to share how bee’s bodies help to pollinate a plant, what plants need to survive, and have a general understanding of how plants and animals are important to each other for survival and the life cycle of a plant.

Investigation Goal: How do plants survive and reproduce?

3rd-6th Grade


Enhances SEEd standards: 3.2.1, 3.2.6, 4.1.1, 5.3.1, 6.4.4

At Red Butte Garden we track and study nature’s calendar, and during this tour students will too! Phenology is looking closely at life cycle stages to see how plants and animals react to changes in seasons and climates. During the tour, students observe seasonal changes and practice monitoring specific plant life cycle stages, similar to the Community Science monitoring at Red Butte Garden.

After watching this tour, students can observe the life cycle changes in their own community. Students can begin developing models of portions of a plant’s life cycles or even begin constructing explanations on how the environment and temperature changes may affect the changes in living things.

Investigation Goal: What is phenology and what life cycle changes are happening at Red Butte Garden?


Enhances SEEd standards: 4.1.1, 4.1.2, 5.3.2, 5.3.4, 6.4.2, 6.4.4

Students discover how humans use and interact with plants! Do humans need plants to survive? Do plants need humans to survive? Students learn about specific plants and plant parts at Red Butte Garden.

After watching the tours, students can begin to describe how plant structures may attract or repel humans, the multiple ways humans use plants to fulfill their wants and needs, and the ways that plants rely on humans.

Investigation Goal: How do plant and animal features help both to survive?

Ethnobotany is often only thought of only in a historical context, forgetting how much present-day Utahans still interact with and depend on plants.  Ethnobotanists study the interrelationships between plants and people, in many cases focusing on traditional uses by different cultures, but also looking at present-day uses.  This investigation focuses on the how our interrelations with plants evolved and how many present-day Utahans and others interact with plants.

Matter Movement

Enhances SEEd standards: 3.2.4, 3.2.5, 4.1.1, 4.1.2, 5.3.2, 5.3.3, 6.4.1, 6.4.3

Students travel the Garden and discover how living things are connected. In different habitats, they take an “organism’s-eye-view” of matter moving through a portion of a food web.

After watching this tour, students can be encouraged to explain what traits or structures help living organisms survive in a certain habitat, how matter moves in one environment, or even develop a model or drawing of how they are connected to matter in their own community or at Red Butte Garden.

Investigation Goal: How are different organisms connected at Red Butte Garden?

Water Conservation Garden

Enhances SEEd standards: 3.2.5, 3.2.6, 4.1.1, 5.3.4, 6.3.1, 6.4.1

Students virtually explore our Water Conservation Garden. The tour is focused on plants with adaptations for low water needs and how different growing techniques can help with conserving water.

After watching this tour, students can begin to describe what structures help a plant survive in a desert-like environment. They can also develop a model or draw what they’d design their own water conservation garden, including their favorite inspiration from Red Butte Garden.

Investigation Goal: How do living things survive in dry, desert climates?

Any Grade

This tour is not aimed at any specific standards. It is aimed for an older 6-12th grade audience, but could be enjoyed by younger grades.

Do your students like to play in the dirt or plants, then horticulture may be the career for them! On this tour, students get an inside look at our greenhouses and how we grow and manage our plants. This tour also looks at many aspects of botany along the way.