Small Group Education Program


Are you the leader of a small group? Do you homeschool your children? Do you simply want to bring a group outside to learn? Sign up for a small group program and join us for an adventure!



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Program Restrictions

Program Details


Small group programs are offered Monday – Sunday.  


Monday – Friday Program Times:

* 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM

* 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Note: The Rotary PlayGarden is closed on Mondays.


Saturday & Sunday Program Times

10:45 AM – 12:15 PM

 * 1:15 PM – 2:45 PM


At your discretion, shorter programs are an option at the same cost.



$15 per child (Monday – Friday)

$30 per child (Saturday & Sunday)


Group Size


10 children or a payment of:

$150 (Monday – Friday)

$300 (Saturday & Sunday)



20 children



Depending on the program, groups will be directed to either:

  • Guadalupe River Park & Gardens Visitor and Education Center, 438 Coleman Ave., San Jose, CA 95110 or
  • Heritage Rose Garden 412 Seymour Street San Jose, CA 95110


Program Descriptions

All small group programs include an interactive nature walk to apply and deepen learning.


Compost & Worms


Get your hands dirty as you learn all about composting! Learn how composting works and how it benefits the environment in a fun, hands-on exploration tailored to your child’s age group. Meet the worms that make vermicomposting possible, along with other lesser-known stars of the soil. Children will leave with a better understanding of waste management and the role humans can play.


Topics Covered: Composting, vermicomposting, worms, decomposers, arthropods

Special Note About This Program: This program supports 3rd to 5th grade science standards nicely and is wonderful for anyone who’d love to learn more about the details of decomposition. This program is easily adaptable to adults who are interested in learning the basics of compost.

Riparian Ecosystems


Take a guided tour of the Guadalupe River with our expert guides. Your children will learn all about the plants and animals that depend on our urban river. Then, they will learn about one of the most overlooked but vital parts of our food web- aquatic insects- through a hands-on exploration of live specimens, a process known as biomonitoring. This program requires river access, and as such is only offered April-October, when the water levels are lower.



Topics Covered: Species interdependence, adaptations, biomonitoring, macroinvertebrates, pollution, human impact

Special Note About This Program: This program is a good fit for almost any age group and allows participants to experience practical community science through real-life applications.

Guadalupe Gardens


Children who are interested in plants, gardening, and food will love our Guadalupe Gardens program! A personalized, age-appropriate tour of our Heritage Orchard will introduce them to plant life cycles and adaptations, and end with a fruit tasting. Our one-of-a-kind Rose Garden also offers the perfect opportunity to learn about how plants work and how humans shape the plant world. This individualized program is great for curious children who are looking for a calmer, more sensory-focused experience without too many distractions.


Topics Covered: Local San Jose history, orchards, life cycles, fruit, adaptations,

Special Note About This Program:  This calmer program is an excellent fit for a variety of groups. Individuals with special needs, including those on the autism spectrum and with learning delays, have loved this program in the past!

Pumped Up Pollinators


Children will discover the fascinating adaptations of bees, butterflies, and other local pollinators as they unleash their imaginations to see the world through their eyes. Incorporating a guided exploration of our Heritage Orchard and Rose Garden, our Pumped-up Pollinator program builds empathy for this essential part of our food web as well as a deeper understanding of where our food comes from.


Topics Covered: Adaptations, pollination, food webs, life cycles

Special Note About This Program: This program supports first to third grade science standards, and you’d better bee-lieve you’ll leave buzzing.


Swimming Salmon


Did you know that the Guadalupe River is the southern-most river to support a Chinook salmon migration? Help your children build empathy as they dive into the salmon’s world, living out one day in the challenging life of this keystone species. Great for those with lots of energy, in this program they will roleplay spawners as they navigate their way from the ocean back to their home streams to spawn and start the next generation. Not only fun and games, children will leave with a better understanding of the delicate balance of natural life as well as some ideas to make life easier for our fishy friends.


Topics Covered: Salmon, spawning, role-playing, riparian ecosystem, keystone species, specimens

Special Note About This Program: This is a great program for an active group as it is structured to include movement and imagination.

Animal Encounter


Meet our small animal stars! Ranging from tiny crayfish to beautiful toads and dynamic turtles, GRPC is proud to steward various educational animals. Your children will be able to observe them and their adaptations first hand while learning more about their lifestyles and the ecosystems that support them. Please note that our live animals are treated with respect and have strict handling restrictions to keep them and your children safe and happy. We are happy to share them with you and your group so that we can better appreciate their wonderful characteristics and learn from them!

If you are looking for a particular experience with the animals, please check with us first!


Topics Covered: Adaptations, riparian ecosystem, animal ambassadors, observations, evidence, models, structure & function, patterns

Special Note About This Program: Great for a variety of groups and learning styles! This program supports second to fourth grade science standards.


How to Register

To request a small group program, email the following information to :

  • Your preferred program date (must be three weeks in advance of the requested date)
  • Two alternative program dates
  • Preferred program time
  • Your preferred program
  • Any questions you have


We will send a follow up email with questions and/or a confirmation.



  1. All small group programs must be requested 3 weeks in advance of the program date.
  2. There must be at least one adult for every 8 children.
  3. The Rotary PlayGarden is closed on Mondays. If a group is planning to visit the PlayGarden, it is the coordinator’s responsibility to check for PlayGarden hours and closures.
  4. Program cancellations: To cancel a program, coordinators must send a notification to at least 2 weeks in advance of the program date. Cancellations made with less than two weeks’ notice are ineligible for refunds and will be charged a $25 administrative fee for rescheduling.
  5. Program Refunds: All refunds and changes are subject to a $5 processing fee per program. There are no refunds, credits, cancellations, or changes less than two weeks prior to the start of the program. A full refund will be given for any program cancelled by GRPC. No refunds will be issued once a program begins.



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