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Overview: Tours + Educational Programs

Thanks 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. Reservations for the Lemurs Live (option #1), Little Lemurs (option #3), and Enrichment (option #4) tours are made by calling (919) 401-7240. Reservations for Private Lemurs Live (option #2) and all premium tours can be made by submitting our online reservation request form.

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! Our seasonal (warm-weather) tours are the Twilight Lemurs Live tour, Enrichment: More Than Just A Toy!, and the Walking with Lemurs tour. All other tour options are available throughout the year.

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

Option #1: Lemurs Live (Public)

A broad introduction to the Duke Lemur Center, its threefold mission, and its residents, including about 9 species of lemurs. Perfect for a wide audience! Click the button below for more details on pricing, scheduling, and content.

Option #2: Lemurs Live (Private)

Similar to the public Lemurs Live 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. Click the button below for more details!

Option #3: 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!Click the button below for more details on pricing, scheduling, and content.

To make a reservation, call (919) 401-7240 and please be sure to leave a message. We're often busy leading tours or assisting guests in-store and can't pick up the phone, but if you leave us a voicemail, we'll happily return your call.

Option #4: Enrichment: More Than Just a Toy!

Join us for a brand new tour this summer – Enrichment: More Than Just a Toy! One of the most important aspects of lemur care at the DLC is enrichment. Whether it’s weaving the perfect hammock out of fire hose, creating a puzzle feeder from cardboard boxes, or simply spraying a funny new smell in their habitat, we know our lemur enrichment! While we share the knowledge we’ve gained over more than 50 years of caring for lemurs, we’ll be handing out treats and toys to some of the lemurs along the way.

This tour is seasonal. Click the button below for more details on pricing, scheduling, and content.

To make a reservation, call (919) 401-7240 and please be sure to leave a message. We're often busy leading tours or assisting guests in-store and can't pick up the phone, but if you leave us a voicemail, we'll happily return your call.

PREMIUM TOURS

Option #5: 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.

Option #6: 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.

Option #7: Painting with Lemurs

Experience the Lemur Center through a different medium! Join us on this exclusive tour and learn more about the Duke Lemur Center’s behavioral enrichment program. We'll not only take you behind the scenes into one of our lemur housing areas, but also highlight some of the activities we do to improve the daily lives of our lemurs -- like painting, which you'll get to witness firsthand! $260 per group.

Option #8: 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. $400 per person.

Option #9: 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.

 

Additional Educational Options for Students

Pair a Lemur Learning Lab with your tour of the Duke Lemur Center for a well-rounded science experience that provides students with “hands-on, minds-on” activities and lab inquiries grounded in the North Carolina State Curriculum Standards.

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.

Tours are not offered on Tuesdays.

Seasonal vs. year-round tours: A small number of tours are seasonal (available only during warm weather -- Twilight Lemurs Live, Enrichment, Walking with Lemurs), but most tour options are available throughout the year. Behind the Scenes and Painting with Lemurs tours are particularly well-suited to cold weather, as the majority of time is spent inside the DLC's animal housing buildings -- which are heated to a toasty 72 degrees.

Directions

The Duke Lemur Center is located at 3705 Erwin Road in Durham, NC less than 10 minutes from Duke’s West Campus. For 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!

Commonly 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.

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 see our Position Statement on Pet Lemurs 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. We kindly ask that you refrain from bringing other beverages or snacks on the tour.

Lemur landing gift shop does sell cold beverages for $1.00 and frequently stocks light snacks for $.75-$1.50. 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.

Enclosures

The DLC has two types of enclosures: Natural Habitat Enclosures (NHEs) and 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.

Guests on our Lemurs Live and Little Lemurs tours – and Lemurpalooza attendees – see only the outside areas of these enclosures, whereas guests on our Behind the Scenes, Painting, Walking, and Keeper for A Day tours see the lemurs’ outdoor and indoor areas.

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.

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 Lemurs Live, private Lemurs Live, Little Lemurs, Painting with Lemurs, and Behind the Scenes. 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 and Painting with Lemurs tours.

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 Lemurs Live, Private Lemurs Live, and Little Lemurs 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.

Durham hotels, restaurants, and attractions

For a list of hotels and inns, restaurants and coffee shops, and more fun things to do in Durham, please visit the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau website.

Comparison chart

The chart below is useful for comparing tour options at a glance. If needed, you can click on the chart for a larger view. After enlarging, simply click the ‘back’ button in the upper left corner or your browser window to return to this page.

When scheduling your tour, please use the best method of contact noted in the “How to Schedule” section for that particular tour. Scheduling methods are noted in the chart below and in the tour descriptions. Please note that using more than one method of contact to reach us can create confusion and delay our response time.

Click anywhere on the chart for a larger view.

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! 

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