Education and scientific research have been basic activities in the garden ever since the start. As an official municipal establishment, horticulture and recreation have also been important components. Since 1936 the garden has an active collaboration with Gothenburg University.

Gothenburg Botanical Garden has a growing education department which delivers outdoor education for children and adults. Every year approximately 10,000 students take part in different activities in the garden. Outdoor education has many benefits; it improves concentration and enhances learning ability, reduces stress levels and increases the amount of physical activity. The Botanical Garden has a new educational area where school children are able to partake in gardening programmes. There is a recent investment in a new shelter and a long term planning for a new education centre.

An educational playground invites children to learn about the evolution of plants in a playful way. From 2006 garden therapy has been added as another important activity in the Botanical Garden.