Self-Guided Visit Resources
Please use any of the resources on this page to enhance your visit! These materials and information are for visitors of any age, whether you're coming to Duke Gardens alone, with family or with a group.
All groups must register before visiting. School or other groups with children, please use this form. Adult groups, please contact GardensEducation@duke.edu.
Self-guided visits are free; guided programs have a fee.
Duke Gardens Resources
These activities have been created specifically to use in Duke Gardens. Print them out or use them on a mobile device while you're here!
Can you guess what is in each picture? Can you find what you see here—or something similar—in the garden?
Use these observation drawing techniques to see what you can discover about an object you find outside.
Print a copy of Observation Bingo to complete from wherever you are or pick one up at the Gothic Gate entrance to Duke Gardens to use on your next garden visit.
These activities can be done anywhere. If you would like a suggested route, use a Duke Gardens map to follow along with the locations listed here.
Each card provides a way to explore a different aspect of Duke Gardens and fun facts about the natural world. Explore your favorite spots in new ways or use the cards to discover new things in the garden. You can use any card in any location.
How many of these Duke Gardens treasures can you find? Search for them as you explore the Gardens.
- Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden Exploration Map (map your way to chickens, veggies, herbs, etc.)
- Gardens Scavenger Hunt (yellow flowers, ducks, bridges, etc.)
- Sensory Scavenger Hunt (something bumpy, something buzzing, something shiny, etc.)
- Structures Scavenger Hunt (sculptures, bridges, fountains, etc.)
What's in Bloom
Information (including maps and photographs) about notable plants to observe this month at Duke Gardens.
Community Science & Identification Apps
Use these apps or websites to record your observations, participate in community science (also called citizen science) and identify some of the living things around you.
- ecoEXPLORE (browser only)
For children in grades K-8, ecoEXPLORE combines science exploration with kid-friendly technology to foster a fun learning environment for children while encouraging them to explore the outdoors and participate in citizen science. Duke Gardens is an ecoEXPLORE HotSpot!
- Project BudBurst
- Project BudBurst (browser only)
Plants tell a story about our changing climate. Phenology is the science of tracking a plant. The timing of a plant leafing, flowering and fruiting is affected by temperature, rainfall and day length. A worldwide network of citizen scientists is being created to track the changes in plant seasons, and you can join through Duke Gardens. The data will go into an international resource, the Plant Phenology Network, to assist scientists studying climate.
- Nature's Notebook
- Nature's Notebook (app available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store, also accessible through browser)
Nature's Notebook gathers information on plant and animal phenology across the U.S. to be used for decision-making on local, national and global scales to ensure the continued vitality of our environment. Scientists alone cannot collect enough data: They need your help. Nature's Notebook is a project of the USA National Phenology Network.
- Bumble Bee Watch
- Bumble Bee Watch (app available on Apple App Store, also accessible through browser)
Bumble Bee Watch is a collaborative effort to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees. Upload photos of bumble bees; identify the bumble bees in your photos and have your identifications verified by experts; help researchers determine the status and conservation needs of bumble bees; help locate rare or endangered populations of bumble bees; learn about bumble bees, their ecology, and ongoing conservation efforts; and connect with other citizen scientists.
- iNaturalist (app available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store)
iNaturalist.org is a place where you can record what you see in nature, meet other nature lovers, and learn about the natural world. Every observation can contribute to biodiversity science, from the rarest butterfly to the most common backyard weed. We share your findings with scientific data repositories such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to help scientists find and use your data. All you have to do is observe.
- eBird (app available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store, also accessible through browser)
eBird data document bird distribution, abundance, habitat use, and trends through checklist data collected within a simple, scientific framework. Birdwatchers enter when, where and how they went birding, and then they fill out a checklist of all the birds seen and heard during the outing. eBird data have been used in hundreds of conservation decisions and peer-reviewed papers, thousands of student projects, and to help inform bird research worldwide.
- GLOBE Observer
- GLOBE Observer (app available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store, also accessible through browser)
Welcome to GLOBE Observer, an international citizen science initiative to understand our global environment. Your observations help scientists track changes in clouds, water, plants and other life in support of climate research. Scientists also use your data to verify NASA satellite data. And by submitting your observations, you can help students of all ages do real scientific research as part of the GLOBE Program.
- Merlin Bird ID
- Merlin Bird ID (app available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store)
If you've ever wondered, "What is that bird?" let Merlin help you unlock the mystery. Merlin asks you a few simple questions about your observation and taps into eBird, a database with millions of sightings from birders around the world, to find out what species you're most likely to encounter. Browse Merlin's short list of photos to find your match. Listen to sounds, learn more about where the species lives, tell your friends about your new bird, then go find another bird to identify.
- FloraQuest (app available on Apple App Store; $7.99)
FloraQuest connects you with everything you need to know about naturally occurring plants in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic U.S.: interactive keys that use your location to streamline the process of identifying plants; an illustrated glossary to decipher botanical terms; full descriptions of species, varieties, subspecies, genera and plant families; references, identification notes, images, and distributions; and a way to record plants you find, with photos, dates and location, and browse others' records.