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Overview: Tours + Educational Programs

COVID-19 update

The DLC will be temporarily closed effective Friday, March 13. All onsite tours have been cancelled, and the DLC is closed to visitors. We are continually evaluating our safety parameters, and we will update our website and social media accounts when reopening becomes possible. However, we have recently launched virtual (online) educational content and we invite you to explore these options instead.

To learn more about the DLC’s response to COVID-19 and the most up-to-date information on our reopening, please visit our coronavirus response FAQ.

Reservations essential

Thanks so much for your interest in touring the Duke Lemur Center! Please note that you must have a reservation in order to see the lemurs, and that you will not be able to see the lemurs unless you schedule one of our many tour options below. To determine which tour works best for you, please see the tour descriptions for pricing, age restrictions (if any), and other details.

How to schedule

For Public Guided General Tours taking place between now and April 30, 2020 — Please call the Tour Department at (919) 401-7240.

For Public Guided General Tours, Self-Guided General Tours, and Little Lemurs Children’s Tours taking place on or after May 1, 2020 — We’re transitioning to online ticket sales! Check availability and purchase tickets online via the Duke Box Office.

All other tour types, including Private General Tours and all Premium Tours, are scheduled using our reservation request form.  

About our tours

You can feel good about the tours you join and the products you buy in our gift shop! All tour revenue and merchandise purchases fund the Education Department and help pay for lemur care, housing, veterinary supplies, and conservation initiatives.

The DLC offers ten distinct tour types, catering to a variety of of ages, interest levels, and budgets — something for everyone! Additional details and instructions for making your reservation are listed below under each tour type. Please take a few minutes to review your options and determine the best tour experience for your group before making your reservation.

We are open year-round! The DLC Gift Shop and Tour Department are open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. ’til 4:00 p.m., except on rare occasions when we are closed for holidays, staff development, or inventory. We do not offer tours on Tuesdays.

No one, on any tour, is permitted any physical contact with our lemurs. As cuddly as they may appear, our lemurs are wild animals. For the safety of our animals and our guests, no visitors are allowed any physical contact with the animals. However, we do welcome flash-free photography – the lemurs can be quite photogenic!

General tours

General Tour (Public)

A broad introduction to the Duke Lemur Center, its threefold mission, and its residents, including about nine species of lemurs. Perfect for a wide audience! Adults $14 per person + tax. Discounts available.

Click the button below for more details on pricing, scheduling, and more!

General Tour (Private)

Similar to the public General Tour, except that you get a personable and knowledgeable DLC tour guide all to yourself! Perfect for academic departments, families, out-of-town wedding guests, and more. $180 + tax for each group (maximum 18 people per group).

Click the button below for more details!

General Tour (Self-Guided)

These seasonal (May-September) open house-style experiences utilize the same tour path as our General Tours and Little Lemurs tours but let guests view the lemurs at their own pace and according to their own interests. Because of this tour's flexibility, it's also a great option for families with young children.

Little Lemurs (Children Ages 3 to 8)

A general tour similar to Lemurs Live, but specially catered to children 3 to 8 years old. Perfect for "Mommy & Me" meet-ups, grandparents/grandchildren, and all the young lemur lovers in your life! $12 per person + tax.

This is a seasonal tour and is offered from October-April. From May-September, our Self-Guided General Tour is a flexible, open house-style option perfect for visitors young and old.

Premium tours

Walking with Lemurs

Enter the world of the lemur as your guide escorts you into the forest where there are no barriers between you and the animals! Be sure to bring your camera as this experience offers views of the animals unlike any other. $95 per person.

Behind the Scenes

Would you like a close-up view of the lemurs and to experience the Center as only staff members do? Join us on an exclusive tour of our updated facility and learn how the DLC functions on a daily basis! $320 per group of 4.

Lemur Keeper for A Day

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a lemur keeper? Here's your chance to find out! Join one of our amazing lemur caretakers for an afternoon and experience the life of a keeper firsthand. You'll be involved in all aspects of the daily husbandry of our endangered prosimian primates here at the DLC. Starts at $400 per person.

A Photographer's Dream

View the DLC through the eyes (or lens) of our resident staff photographer, David Haring. Enjoy a morning traveling through our natural habitat enclosures (typically three are visited) photographing multiple species of lemurs with David and five fellow photographers! $250 per person.

Field trips and more

Field Trips (All Ages)

Our talented tour guides are skilled at adapting educational material to any age group, from elementary students to undergrads.

Science Camps (Grades 3-8)

The DLC’s science camps offer an incredibly unique opportunity for 3rd- through 8th-graders to experience the world-renowned Duke Lemur Center in an up-close and personal way! Beginning in 2019, we are revitalizing our camp offerings to provide even more amazing content for the lemur lovers in your troop. Each camp is a full five-day week jam-packed with curriculum-based learning — and lemurs, of course!

Scout Troops

If you’re interested in visiting with a scout troop, please click the S.C.O.U.T. link HERE. As a Lemur S.C.O.U.T., your child will be equipped with the educational tools to protect lemurs, our earliest primate ancestors and the world’s most threatened group of mammals!

Wild Workshops (Varying Age Groups)

Attention serious lemur lovers and science enthusiasts: we have an amazing new educational series for you! Wild Workshops are offered throughout the year and focus on different subject connected to the DLC's work here and in Madagascar. We’ll do a deep-dive into subjects like our conservation breeding program, enrichment and play, lemur nutrition and digestion, and so much more! Each workshop offers customized programming for a recommended age group based on the subject we’re exploring.

 

Visitor FAQ

How to See the Lemurs

To see the lemurs, all guests must have a reservation on one of the many tour options we have available. Learn more about our tours via our tours homepage or by calling (919) 401-7240. If you do not have a tour reservation, unfortunately you will not be able to see the lemurs while you're here. Tours fill quickly, so please call in advance.

You do not need a reservation to visit the Lemur Landing Gift Shop, which is open daily from 9:00 a.m. 'til 4:00 p.m. Parking is simple and free.

Hours

The Duke Lemur Center is open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. ’til 4:00 p.m. all year 'round. The tour department and Lemur Landing Gift Shop close occasionally for holidays and for staff development. A list of closure dates is available HERE.

Because the Education Department does not offer tours on Tuesdays, those are often staff work days and the Lemur Landing Gift Shop may be closed for short stretches of time. If you hope to visit the gift shop on a Tuesday, you are welcome to call us beforehand to confirm that we’ll be open: (919) 401-7240.

Directions

The Duke Lemur Center is located in Duke Forest, less than 10 minutes from Duke’s West Campus. For our GPS address and directions to the Duke Lemur Center, please click here.

Can I Touch a Lemur?

Nope! As cuddly as the animals may appear, our lemurs are wild animals. For the safety of the lemurs and our guests, no visitors are allowed any physical contact with the animals. However, we do welcome flash-free photography – the lemurs can be quite photogenic! (See the "Frequently Asked Questions" tab below for the best tours for photos.)

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to call ahead to visit the DLC and see the lemurs? Yes, all tours are by appointment only. Please visit our tours homepage to make your reservation.

What is your weather policy? Tours will go on rain or shine with the exception of threats of lighting in the forecast. Please dress accordingly.

How long do tours last? Lengths vary by tour. Please visit our tours homepage and click on your tour type to learn more.

Do I get to touch a lemur on the tour? Nope! As cuddly as the animals may appear, our lemurs are wild animals. For the safety of our animals and our guests, no visitors are allowed any physical contact with the animals. However, we do welcome flash-free photography – the lemurs can be quite photogenic!

What is your cancellation policy? We kindly request 48 hours advanced notice for cancellations.

I have a scheduled tour, but notice restricted access signs on Lemur Lane. If you have a scheduled tour or would just like to visit the gift shop during business hours, please follow Lemur Lane  past the restricted access signs until you reach our parking lot.

Can I take pictures during my tour? Yes, of course! Lemurs are extremely photogenic, and we encourage taking photos for personal enjoyment and to share online! Note, though, that photography is permitted only for noncommercial use and that photos should not be sold, reproduced, transferred, distributed, or otherwise commercially exploited in any way UNLESS the photographer has received permission from the Lemur Center and the Duke University Office of News and Communications. We also cannot allow professional photographers (or guests more generally) to set up tripods/monopods or alternate lighting. If you have questions, please reach out to us and we’ll be happy to clarify further.

Which tour is best for photos? Our Walking with Lemurs, Photographer's Dream, and Keeper for a Day tours provide the best photo opportunities of our lemurs! Photos are still possible on our General Tours and Little Lemurs Children's Tours, but be advised that the lemurs will be in their indoor/outdoor housing areas (not free-roaming in the forest) and must be photographed through mesh wire. See the "Enclosures" section below to learn more about how the DLC's lemurs are housed.

Do lemurs make good pets? No. The Duke Lemur Center is against all trade in pet primates, and against the holding of any prosimian -- lemurs as well as lorises, bushbabies, and pottos -- as a pet. (Please CLICK HERE for information on why.) This is one of many reasons the DLC does NOT allow guests to touch our lemurs, and why our staff do not touch the lemurs and lorises except when necessary for caring for the animal. This helps us avoid interactions and imagery in media that could promote the idea of lemurs as pets. Lemurs may be habituated to us, but in reality they are undomesticated, wild animals.

Weather

Most tours have an outdoor component. Please dress accordingly for weather.

Rainy days: Tours will go out rain or shine provided there is no lightning or thunder in the immediate area.  Umbrellas are welcome. If you would like to reschedule your visit due to weather, please call 919-401-7240. Group and specialty tours must reschedule 48 hours hours prior to the tour date or they will forfeit their deposit.

Hot days: There are shaded areas on the tour path and we avoid standing in the direct sun for long periods of time. We now have benches along the tour path for resting. Water is welcome and encouraged on the tour.

Cold days: The lemurs are allowed outside access anytime the weather is 45 degrees or above.  This does not guarantee that the lemurs will choose to be outside, however, as they always have access to indoor heated areas of their enclosures as well.  If there is not good viewing outside, then we will bring you into two indoor viewing areas.

On cold or rainy days, some of our lemurs will choose to stay cozy in their indoor enclosures. While this is healthiest and best for the individual lemur, it does make it more difficult sometimes to see them on general tours!  As we are first and foremost an educational, not entertainment, facility we will never “force” our lemurs to come out into public view. Our guides will do their best to show you as many species as possible and will share information about each lemur even if he or she isn’t visible on the tour path that day. We strive to provide a fabulous and educational experience for all visitors within the constraints of working with live animals.

Gifts

Gift certificates are available for all of our tours except the Photographer's Dream. To purchase, please call (919) 401-7240 or stop by the Lemur Landing Gift Shop seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. 'til 4:00 p.m.

We also stock an array of unique and highly giftable merchandise, perfect for lemur lovers young and old! Products range from cuddly lemur stuffies (including a sifaka and an aye-aye made exclusively for us!) to apparel, paintings by lemurs, and native Malagasy products. Please stop by the Lemur Landing Gift Shop seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. 'til 4:00 p.m.

Food and Beverages

You are welcome to bring water on your tour. For the health and safety of our lemurs, we kindly ask that you refrain from bringing other beverages or snacks on the tour.

Lemur landing gift shop sells cold beverages for $1.00. We don’t have a restaurant or cafe, but there are many restaurants within five minutes of the DLC where you can dine before or after your tour. A list of eateries, including top-rated restaurants and local favorites, can be found on the Discover Durham website.

Enclosures

The DLC has two types of enclosures: 1. Natural Habitat Enclosures (NHEs) and 2. Indoor Enclosures with Outdoor Yards. On Walking with Lemurs and Photographer’s Dream tours, guests will see lemurs in their NHEs. All other tours focus exclusively on the indoor/outdoor enclosures. Above, guests at Lemurpalooza watch lemurs playing and lounging in their outdoor yards.

Our indoor/outdoor housing areas are specially constructed for the physical and mental health of our lemurs. Each family group of lemurs is housed within a large set of interconnected enclosures and has multiple indoor rooms available to them (heated and cooled, depending on season), which are connected to multiple outdoor yards. For example, a family of 4 lemurs has access to at least 4 ‘sets’ of indoor/outdoor areas, totaling 8 individual enclosures. Different doorways lead into and out of these areas, creating ample space for natural movement and play and giving the animals privacy — away from each other, or away from public view — whenever they desire it. These spaces also help facilitate lemur research (all non-invasive) and care by allowing us to temporarily close off individual rooms within each family’s set of enclosures. This flexibility is brilliant for managing breeding groups and especially new moms and infants, as infant survival rates are significantly higher when mother and baby are separated from the group for a few days and gradually reintroduced when the infant is less vulnerable. Wire fencing between enclosures allows these lemurs to be separate and safe, while also maintaining visual and olfactory contact with the rest of their family.

To keep our lemurs physically and mentally engaged, the indoor/outdoor enclosures are re-branched and re-furnished often to give them new layouts to explore, and special and varied enrichment activities are provided daily. These help promote natural behavior like foraging and promote not just physical health but also mental stimulation and all other aspects of the well-being of the lemurs under our care. Learn more about the DLC’s enrichment and training program on our Behind the Scenes tour.

What will you see on each type of tour? Guests on our General Tours and Little Lemurs Children's Tours – and Lemurpalooza attendees – see only the outdoor areas of these enclosures. Guests on our Behind the Scenes and Keeper for a Day tours go inside the buildings, and thus are able to see the lemurs’ outdoor AND indoor living areas. In warmer weather, a large number of our lemurs get to free-range in large forested Natural Habitat Enclosures while also retaining access to their indoor/outdoor enclosures. Guests can see lemurs in their NHEs on the Walking with Lemurs tour.

Accessibility

Wheelchairs, canes, and walkers

The DLC's paved tour path and gift shop are ADA accessible. Tours using this path include Public General Tours (Guided and Self-Guided), Private General Tours, Little Lemurs Children's Tours, and Behind the Scenes Tours. You are welcome to bring wheelchairs, canes, and/or walkers for these tours, although the presence of any novel object, especially wheelchairs, may affect lemur behavior and result in lemurs choosing not to cooperate as nicely on tours. This applies especially to Behind the Scenes experiences.

If you or a member of your group will be using a wheelchair, cane, or walker on your tour, please let the staff at Lemur Landing know when making your tour reservation.

Above, guests wander the summer tour path during an open house. The summer path is gently sloped, with brick pavers.

Service dogs

We welcome service dogs on Public General Tours (Guided and Self-Guided), Private General Tours, and Little Lemurs Children's Tours, which are along the paved tour path described above. Please note, though, that while most of the tour path is open to them, the service dogs themselves will not be able to enter the animal housing areas visited on these tours. These areas include the Nocturnal Building (summer and winter tour path) and a section of the Miaro building (winter tour path only). This is because of the risk of disease transmission and is important for the safety of the dogs and the DLC’s lemurs.

Guests with medical restrictions or special needs, such as the need to be accompanied by a Service Dog on a tour, must let the staff at Lemur Landing know when making the reservation. Please be aware that, like all novel objects, the presence of a Service Dog may affect lemur behavior. If you have questions, please call us at (919) 401-7240 - we'll be happy to help!

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a Service Animal is “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.” Therapy dogs, emotional support dogs and companion dogs are not Service Animals as defined by the ADA. Because the DLC houses endangered primates, we cannot allow pets onsite.

Nut allergies

If you have allergies, please be aware that the DLC keeps peanuts, peanut butter, and tree nuts onsite for lemur food and training rewards. If you are allergic to nuts, please tell the staff at Lemur Landing when booking your tour. Some tour types, such as Behind the Scenes and Keeper for a Day, are more conducive to coming into contact with nuts than other tour types are.

No Pets, Please

For the safety of our lemurs and because the Duke Lemur Center has no pet accommodations such as dog-walking areas, we cannot allow pet animals anywhere on the DLC grounds – even inside your vehicle. For our lemurs’ health and safety and for your pet’s, please leave your pup at home. After your visit to the DLC, we recommend taking him to one of these dog-friendly Durham destinations instead!

Durham Hotels, Restaurants, and Attractions

For a list of hotels and inns, restaurants and coffee shops, and fun things to do in Durham, please visit the Discover Durham website and the Durham Destination Guide.

For more places to visit on Duke's campus, check out these recommendations. The Duke Lemur Center is approximately 2.5 miles from Duke Chapel and Cameron Indoor Stadium, and approximately 3.5 miles from Duke Gardens and the Nasher Museum of Art.

 

Questions?

If you’re hoping to reserve space at Lemurpalooza, our twice-annual Adopt a Lemur event, please visit the Lemurpalooza webpage or email the Adopt a Lemur Program Coordinator, Susan, at susan.fitzgerald1@duke.edu.

If you have other questions, please call the Lemur Landing front desk at (919) 401-7240. We’ll be happy to help!