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Premium Tours

Thanks for your interest in the DLC’s premium tours!

Our premium tour experiences are educational and unforgettable. Scroll through the images and descriptions below, then submit our reservation request form to book your space today!

Or, surprise your loved one with a gift certificate for a premium tour! These once-in-a-lifetime experiences make perfect gifts. Call (919) 401-7240 or email primate@duke.edu for more details or to purchase a gift certificate.

Need help deciding? See our helpful at-a-glance comparison of tour types or visit the tour homepage for a complete menu of options.

Please note that you must have a reservation to visit the Duke Lemur Center.

 

TOUR OPTION #5: Walking with Lemurs

Images + Videos

Ringtails and sifakas in their natural habitat enclosures. Photo opportunities abound!

Click here to watch a video of Drusilla and Julian's sifaka family at the start of a Walking with Lemurs tour, leaping out of their indoor enclosure into the woods (and through our cluster of guests!).

Additional footage of our free-ranging lemurs in their natural habitat enclosures is accessible via our "Meet the Lemurs" YouTube playlist. They're so amazing to watch in person!

Description + Pricing

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk in the wilds of Madagascar, watching in awe as lemurs leap through the trees around you? No need to travel halfway around the world – the DLC's Walking with Lemurs tour is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have that unforgettable experience right here in the forests of Duke University!

On a Walking tour, guests are guided through one of our 9 naturally forested habitats just as the animals' keepers set out to feed them in the morning, ensuring the appearance of leaping lemurs eager to eat their breakfasts. Though there will not be a barrier between you and the lemurs, the lemurs will not directly interact with any guests. We encourage natural behaviors from our lemurs, ensuring a safe and unique experience of what it would be like to wander the forests of Madagascar.

Please note that this is a seasonal tour offering based on warm weather forecasts, and can only be consistently offered from May 1 through October 15. If you're interested in an off-season date for this tour, we'll place you on a waitlist and notify you 24-48 hours before the tour if the weather forecast allows for a Walking with Lemurs tour type.

Pricing is $95 per person.

Additional details 

Because you'll be walking in a forested area, closed-toed shoes are required and long pants are recommended.

Groups will walk along an unpaved path and spend time with stationary lemurs while the animals are breakfasting, since lemurs can otherwise be hard to find or spot high in the treetops. Walking paths vary in length depending on which enclosure we've selected for your tour, as do the types and number of species within that section of the forest. Generally guests can expect to see 1-3 species in the forest itself, plus additional species in indoor (unforested) enclosures after the tour.

Because there are no barriers between you and the lemurs, we cannot allow canes, tripods, walkers, stools, or other similar items on our Walking with Lemurs tours. Some rascally lemurs can get too handsy with these "novel objects," which can pose a health and safety risk to both the lemur and the objects' rightful (human) possessors.

As on all of our tours, for your safety and for the well-being of our lemurs, there will not be any opportunities to touch the animals at any time.

Scheduling

This tour lasts approx. 90 minutes and is offered seasonally (see above) at 10:30 a.m. every day of the week (Monday-Sunday).

Because of the popularity and seasonal limitations of this tour, it tends to fill up several weeks in advance. Please submit our online form or call (919) 401-7240 to make your Walking with Lemurs reservation.

Restrictions

Age restrictions: Participants must be at least 10 years old. All participants must sign a legal release waiver, and participants age 10-17 must have that waiver signed by a legal guardian. Additionally, participants age 10-15 must be accompanied by a legal guardian. Please note that legal guardian will be included as a paying participant in the total tour cost. Tour participants age 16-17 can attend the tour with another legal adult, not necessarily a legal guardian.

Novel objects: Because there are no barriers between you and the lemurs, we cannot allow canes, tripods, walkers, stools, or other similar items on our Walking with Lemurs tours. Some rascally lemurs can get too handsy with these "novel objects," which can pose a health and safety risk to both the lemur and the objects' rightful (human) possessors.

Tips + Ideas

Video Tutorial: How to Photograph Lemurs

This video tutorial by Tamara Lackey Photography (Chapel Hill, NC) is a fabulous resource for anyone visiting the DLC for a Walking with Lemurs tour and hoping to get great, professional-quality photographs! In it, Tamara shares tips for photographing fast-moving lemurs as well as capturing sharp portraits highlighting our lemurs' incredible eyes. The photos she gets are GORGEOUS, and her enthusiasm for lemurs is infectious!

Click the image below to be redirected to YouTube to watch the tutorial:

Here's what Tamara writes:

I never knew that lemurs were solar-powered creatures. I know this now. I also learned a whole lot more about these stunning animals in our newest episode, now live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEBkAI0Wmeg.

This reDefine Show episode is focused on how to photograph fast-moving subjects near and far, while also capturing sharp portraits (with a focus on otherworldly eyes) at very shallow depths of field. Check out Photographing Lemurs on Adorama TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEBkAI0Wmeg.

A huge thank you to the Duke Lemur Center for the amazing opportunity to spend some rather unique time with these seriously beautiful animals. Standing in the middle of acres of protected woods and getting to watch lemurs leap about in every direction is truly just an incredible experience. I had no idea that this is the second highest population of lemurs in the world, outside of Madagascar!

Photographed with Nikon D850 and D5 and 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8 & 105mm f/1.4.

As you enjoy the video, please bear in mind that Tamara is a Nikon Ambassador who visited us for a professional shoot -- with all the associated contracts and clearances. While her photography tutorial is valuable for all audiences, and especially for visitors wishing to photograph lemurs in our Natural Habitat Enclosures, the nature of her shoot was somewhat different from that of a standard Walking with Lemurs tour. If you'd like clarification, please call the Education Department at (919) 401-7240 or email primate@duke.edu. We'll be happy to help answer your questions!

 

TOUR OPTION #6: Behind the Scenes

Images

From left: observing leaf distribution and a training session; ring-tails watch their keeper from outside the AtyAla hallway. On this tour, guests are permitted inside the buildings’ hallways that are typically off-limits to visitors.

Description + Pricing

If you've ever wondered what goes on "behind the curtains" of a world-renowned primate research, education, and conservation center, the DLC's Behind the Scenes experience is the tour for you! Guests spend the majority of their tour in areas that are typically off-limits to visitors, seeing the DLC through the eyes of its dedicated staff. Participants also observe integral parts of the daily routine of working with the Center's amazing animals, such as training sessions and afternoon feedings.

This tour is a private booking for groups of 1-4 people over the age of 10. Each group will have its own guide, ensuring an experience catered to your group's particular interests. Closed-toed shoes are required. As on all of our tours, for your safety and for the well-being of our lemurs, there will not be any opportunities to touch the animals at any time.

This private tour has a flat fee of $320 plus tax. Your group can include up to 4 participants for this price.

Scheduling

This tour is offered daily (Monday-Sunday) at 1:00 p.m. and lasts approx. 90 minutes.

To make your reservation for this unforgettable experience, please submit our online reservation form by clicking the RESERVE NOW button below.

Age Restrictions

Participants must be at least 10 years old. All participants must sign a legal release waiver, and participants age 10-17 must have that waiver signed by a legal guardian. Additionally, participants age 10-15 must be accompanied by a legal guardian. Please note that legal guardian will be included as a paying participant in the total tour cost. Tour participants age 16-17 can attend the tour with another legal adult, not necessarily a legal guardian.

Tips + Ideas

 

TOUR OPTION #7: Painting with Lemurs

Images

From left: ruffed lemur Magellan paints a masterpiece; a finished painting by ring-tails Randy and Sophia; a finished piece by ruffed lemurs Halley and Ravo and their twins, Cosmo and Astro.

Want to see more? Check out these gorgeous images from Lara @ Pretty Connected, who painted with Halley, Ravo, Cosmo, and Astro in Nov '16.

Description + Pricing

Lemurs love to paint, especially when we toss tasty treats like cranberries on their canvases! You'll be amazed by the artistic renderings of our ring-tailed Picassos and ruffed Van Goghs as they walk through paint and onto canvas in search of raisin and berry rewards. Participants on this tour are invited to choose up to 3 different colors of paint (all non-toxic, water based tempura) and watch the lemurs as they make their masterpiece. The best part is, you get to take the canvas home with you!

Please note that this tour does not involve any direct contact with the lemurs, and that guests observe the painting session from outside the enclosure. (Don't worry, you'll still have a fabulous view!) Fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and travel writer Lara of Pretty Connected booked a Painting with Lemurs tour this fall and wrote about the experience. Check out her post to see what it's like, and feast your eyes on those gorgeous paintings courtesy of ruffed lemurs Ravo, Halley, and their twins Cosmo and Astro!

Painting with Lemurs is a private booking for groups of 1-4 people over the age of 10. Each group will have its own guide, ensuring an experience catered to your group's particular interests. Closed-toed shoes are required. As on all of our tours, for your safety and for the well-being of our lemurs, there will not be any opportunities to touch the animals at any time.

This private tour has a flat fee of $260 plus tax. Your group can include up to 4 participants for this price.

Scheduling

This tour is offered daily at 2:30 p.m. and lasts approximately 60 minutes. While you'll see and learn about several species of lemurs as you walk through one of the main hallways in our animal area, most of your time will be spent watching – and laughing at the antics of! – the special lemur troop chosen by your guide to paint your masterpiece!

To make your reservation for this unforgettable experience, please submit our online reservation form by clicking the RESERVE NOW button below.

Age Restrictions

Participants must be at least 10 years old. All participants must sign a legal release waiver, and participants age 10-17 must have that waiver signed by a legal guardian. Additionally, participants age 10-15 must be accompanied by a legal guardian. Please note that legal guardian will be included as a paying participant in the total tour cost. Tour participants age 16-17 can attend the tour with another legal adult, not necessarily a legal guardian.

Tips + Ideas

 

TOUR OPTION #8: Lemur Keeper for a Day

Images + Testimonial

From left: Behind the scenes in the prep kitchen; distributing browse to sifaka; and enrichment for aye-ayes.

Want to see more? Read about Carrie's Keeper for A Day experience in Feb. '17 - and check out a gallery of images from that day, too! "I told my fiancé that besides the day he proposed, my day at Duke Lemur Center was one of the happiest of my life!"

Description + Pricing

The name says it all! Guests can experience a (half-) day in the life of one of our world-renowned lemur keepers in this unique program. Our staff have been learning the best ways to care for these unique and endangered primates for 50 years, and we can’t wait to share that knowledge with you! Participants will have the opportunity to participate in and observe all of the daily aspects of lemur care, including feeding, enrichment, and training. This experience immerses you in the role of lemur keeper for 3 hours, so expect to work hard and get dirty!

Closed-toed shoes are required. As on all of our tours, for your safety and for the well-being of our lemurs, there will not be any opportunities to touch the lemurs at any time.

This is a private tour, so you'll have your own personable and knowledgeable DLC tour guide all to yourself! Or, for even more fun, bring a friend or two -- they can join you on your tour for a discounted rate! The maximum group size is 3 people.

1 person – $400 plus tax
Each additional person – $250 plus tax (up to 3 total participants)

Read about Carrie's Keeper for A Day experience in Feb. '17 - and check out a gallery of images from that day, too! "I told my fiancé that besides the day he proposed, my day at Duke Lemur Center was one of the happiest of my life!"

Scheduling

This tour is offered every day at 1:00 pm. It runs ’til 4:00 p.m.

Keeper for A Day is an exclusive private booking for groups of 1-3 people over the age of 13. To make your reservation for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, please submit our online reservation form by clicking the "RESERVE NOW" button below.

Age Restrictions

Participants must be at least 12 years old. All participants must sign a legal release waiver, and participants age 12-17 must have that waiver signed by a legal guardian. Additionally, participants age 12-15 must be accompanied by a legal guardian. Please note that legal guardian will be included as a paying participant in the total tour cost.

Tips + Ideas

 

TOUR OPTION #9: Photographer’s Dream

Description + Pricing

2018 dates: May 4, 2018 and June 1, 2018. 

See the Duke Lemur Center through the eyes (or lens) or our resident photographer, David Haring! David has been documenting our lemurs for over 30 years, and his photographs have been featured in countless publications, articles, calendars, and website. He has the world's largest collection of photographs of the world's largest collection of lemurs!

On the Photographer's Dream tour, you'll enjoy a morning traveling through our natural habitat enclosures photographing multiple species of lemurs with David and 5 fellow photographers. Participants typically visit three natural habitat enclosures (versus just one on our standard Walking with Lemurs tour), seeing the widest variety possible of our forested animals. This leisurely paced experience is catered to photographers who're interested in capturing the lemurs exhibiting natural behaviors such as foraging, climbing, resting, and grooming. You'll have time to set up the perfect shot and enjoy the company of fellow photographers of all experience levels.

This highly exclusive tour is offered only twice annually: May 4, 2018 and June 1, 2018. Because you'll be walking in a forested area, closed-toed shoes are required and long pants are recommended. As on all of our tours, for your safety and for the well-being of our lemurs, there will not be any opportunities to touch the animals at any time.

$250 per person plus tax. Maximum of 6 participants.

Scheduling ** New Dates Announced! **

This highly exclusive experience is only offered a few times annually, and dates are announced as they are available. When offered, this tour runs 9:30 a.m. 'til 12:00 noon, and includes time in at least three different natural habitat enclosures with multiple species of lemurs. Interested parties should email primate@duke.edu to be added to an email list that receives advance notice of new dates, and for the opportunity to reserve spots before the general public.

New Dates Just Announced! The Photographer’s Dream experience is available on Friday, September 21 or Friday, October 5 9:30am-12pm. These tours fill quickly. 

To reserve your space on this highly exclusive tour, please submit our online reservation request form by clicking the RESERVE NOW button below.

Age Restrictions

Ages 10 and above. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

 General information

Releases + Waivers

All participants and/or guardians of minors participating in specialty tours and the Keeper for a Day experience are required to complete a Release and Waiver agreement prior to the experience.  Please review, sign and bring the waiver with you on the date of your scheduled experience, or take the time to familiarize yourself with it prior to the tour and fill it out upon check in.  All participants are to encouraged to arrive at the Center 15 minutes prior to your tour time. Individuals cannot participate without a signed waiver.

Walking with Lemurs release and waiver

Behind the Scenes release and waiver

Painting with Lemurs release and waiver

Keeper for a Day release and waiver

Photographer's Dream release and waiver

Tour Deposits

The Duke Lemur Center will hold a deposit of 50% of the total cost for each premium tour or group tour. A group representative must provide credit card information to hold the spaces for the tour. You must call to make any changes to your reservation at least 48 hours in advance of your tour. Group that cancel with less than 48 hours until their tour or no-show will be charged the 50% deposit. Groups that arrive with fewer participants for the tour without having notified the Duke Lemur Center 48 hours in advance will be charged the full amount of spaces booked.

Public vs. Private Tours

On the Tour Comparison Chart HERE, tours that are reservable per person are public tours open to anyone who requests a reservation. Unless you book all 8 spaces on a Walking with Lemurs tour, for instance, you'll be on the tour with people outside your group. Tours that are reservable by group, on the other hand, are private bookings exclusively for you and your invitees.

Planning + Directions

General information for planning your trip to the DLC is available via our 'Plan Your Visit' webpage.

The Lemur Center is situated in Duke Forest less than 10 minutes from Duke's West Campus. Step-by-step instructions are available online.

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 outdoor areas of these enclosures. 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.

Weather Policy

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.

Will I get to touch a lemur?

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!

Additional options

To explore additional tour options, please visit our general tours webpage or return to the tours homepage.

Questions?  

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

General information for planning your visit, as well as answers to frequently asked questions, is available via our ‘Plan Your Visit’ webpage.

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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