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Duke Lemur Center, Durham

4.5
#8 of 32 in Things to do in Durham
The Duke Lemur Center (DLC, formerly the Duke University Primate Center) was originally established as an opportunistic collaboration between two biologists, one who was studying maternal behavior in mammals at Duke University and the other who was at Yale, studying biochemical genetics in lemurs. Together, the two investigators conceived the idea of establishing a primate facility in Duke Forest that would combine their research perspectives in order to explore the genetic foundations of primate behavior. The National Science Foundation rewarded their initiative by providing the funds to build a living laboratory where lemurs and their close relatives could be studied intensively and non-invasively. In 1966, the nascent DLC was founded on 80 wooded acres, two miles from the main Duke campus. The DLC assembled the largest living collection of endangered primates in the world, both in numbers of species and in number of individuals. Over its history, the DLC has housed, cared for, and made available for study nearly 4000 animals across 31species of non-human primates including lemurs, lorises and at one point, tarsiers (together, colloquially referred to as prosimian primates). Today, it houses nearly 250 individuals across 21 species. The scientific endeavors at the DLC span a remarkable array of disciplines, from behavior and genomics to physiology and paleontology. Conservation biology is also a major focus and provides the conceptual and operational bridge between the living collections of the DLC and its outreach activities in Madagascar.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
268 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • August 14, 2017
    Most of the year center is for private tours and don't know if I would have wished to pay for the higher fee so going during the summer for self guided was a great introduction. Young people were at e...  more »
  • August 8, 2017
    Since you don't often see Lemurs outside of Madagascar ( and they don't travel well) this is an ideal opportunity to learn more about these prosimian primates. They are amazing creatures and each spec...  more »
  • August 6, 2017
    We bit the bullet and paid the $ to do the 'Walking with Lemurs' tour and are so glad we did! With a limit of 8-10 people the experience is very intimate. We went in the ringtail and sifaka enclosure ...  more »
Google
  • July 1, 2017
    We just finished the Lemurs Live Twilight Tour and found it very enjoyable! This is the guided tour showcasing numerous types lemurs in enclosures. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable and entertaining making the tour interesting for the wide range of ages of guests in our group. The enclosures were very well kept and you could tell that the staff at the Lemur Center truly loved the lemurs. I would definitely recommend this as a great family outing.
  • June 4, 2017
    My family and I certainly enjoyed seeing up close and learning about these cute, unique animals that only live in Madagascar besides this special facility at Duke. Great efforts have been made to create a natural environment for them. Staff members are very knowledgeable and friendly. Great family outing to reserve. !
  • June 6, 2017
    We did the walking with lemurs tour today and absolutely loved it! We live in Missouri and are so glad we made the trip.
  • January 20, 2017
    What a cool place!! My family and I took the basic group tour which lasted about an hour and I learned so much! Our tour guide really knew her stuff! They offer more expensive tours where you can actually interact with the lemurs and if I get a chance to go back that is what I will do!
  • August 17, 2016
    The Lemur Center gives you unprecedented access to witness the great work being done here and time to get up close with their furry residents. This is not a zoo, it’s a living, breathing, research facility for Lemur monkeys, which adds to the experience in many ways. Immediately you'll be able to tell that the guides are very passionate about the work they’re doing here as they walked you around the facility and educate you on its purpose. Our guide was extremely well spoken and informative. The Lemur monkeys were pretty cool and there were many different types. One of the most interesting were the nocturnal monkeys that the group had to go into a dark room with red light to witness. If you’re in the Durham area, make sure that you put this on your list of things to do. Keep in mind you do need reservations and they fill up quickly, so call as soon as you know you’ll be in the area. Also, this review is specifically just for the tour. They offer many different types of programs that we will be sure to check out when we're in the area again. A great experience for the entire family.

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