The Duke Lemur Center in Durham is home to the world's largest and most diverse collection of lemurs outside of Madagascar. Formerly known as the Duke University Primate Center, The Duke Lemur Center was established to study these endangered animals, which are now the world's most threatened group of mammals. The Center houses, takes care of, and studies close to 250 individual animals, across 21 species, including lemurs, lorises, and tarsiers. Scientists study an array of disciplines from behavior and physiology to genomics and paleontology and focus intently on conservation biology and bridging the gap between the Center's living animals and the remaining species in Madagascar.

1.Mission & Tours

Mission & Tours  

The Duke Lemur Center offers a range of educational programs, scholarships, and workshops that aim to educate, inspire and encourage the public to take an interest in the plight of the lemur and help in the fight to save them. The Center also aims to promote a deeper appreciation of nature's biodiversity and a more in-depth understanding of the power of scientific discovery.

The Duke Lemur Center can only be visited by appointment, and it is necessary to book a guided trip in advance. Tours are conducted seven days a week and can be booked up to three weeks in advance for weekdays and five weekends in advance during the spring and summer months.

Tours include Lemurs Live! - An ideal trip for families and friends which explore the similarities and differences between the different lemur species and what characteristics make them some of the most fascinating animals in the world. Designed for ages seven and up, the tour highlights 10 different species of lemurs and promises an unforgettable lemur experience.

Lemurs Live! Twilight Tours are conducted during the cooler twilight hours when the lemurs become more active and lively, foraging for food, playing with other lemurs and performing their evening vocalizations. This tour also offers an exclusive opportunity to see the rare and endangered aye-ayes in their natural habitat and under natural light conditions.

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2.More Tours

More Tours  

Walking with Lemurs is an exciting 90-minute tour where visitors can walk freely among lemurs and interact with them in their natural habitat, while the Behind-the-Scenes Tour gives visitors the chance to get close-up views of the lemurs, see the Center as only staff members do and learn how it functions on a daily basis.

Lemur Keeper for a Day offers visitors the chance to experience the life of a lemur keeper first-hand and become a caretaker for a day, getting involved in all aspects of the daily husbandry such as feeding, cleaning, and general care.

Experience the Lemur Center through a different medium on the Painting with Lemurs Tour. This exclusive tour delves into the Duke Lemur Center's behavioral enrichment program and takes visitors into one of our new lemur housing areas, where they can watch lemurs painting!

A Photographer's Dream is one of the Center's most popular tours which offers a look at the Center, and it's individual residents through the eyes (or lens) of resident staff photographer, David Haring. Spend a morning traveling through the Center's natural habitat enclosures taking photographs of multiple species of lemurs with David and a few other photographers. This tour is geared towards photographers who are interested capturing the lemurs exhibiting their natural behaviors such as climbing, foraging, climbing, grooming and resting.

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3.Educational Programs

Educational Programs  

The Duke Lemur Center offers a range of educational programs for learners of all ages. Lemur Learning Labs presents an interactive, hands-on science experience with an array of activities and lab exercises, and the Lemur Learning Homeschool Academy offers a series of six study sessions designed for middle school-aged home-scholars, that include primatology, conservation, husbandry, environmental stewardship, training and research. The new Lemur S.C.O.U.T. program is designed for scouts and guides to deepen and enrich their understanding of lemur conservation.

The Duke Lemur Center also offers a variety of camps and workshops throughout the year, including Leaping Lemurs! Track out Science Camp for grades three to eight, Leaping Lemurs! Summer Science Camp and Leaping Lemurs! Play Wild Camp for all ages, and year-round Art and Writing Summer Camps.

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4.Plan Your Visit

Plan Your Visit  

The Duke Lemur Center is located at 3705 Erwin Road in Durham and can be visited by appointment only. Guided Tours are conducted seven days a week and can be booked up to three weeks in advance. The Center has a gift shop which is open to the public every day and sells a variety of lemur and animal-inspired gifts, books, souvenirs and other items.

Back to: Best Things to Do in Durham, North Carolina

3705 Erwin Road, Durham, North Carolina 27705, Phone: 919-489-3364

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Best Things to Do in Durham: Duke Lemur Center