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Duke Lemur Center, Durham

4.5
#2 of 10 in Parks 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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Duke Lemur Center Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
329 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Lemurs are an endangered species, and the Duke Lemur Center is the only place keeping then from becoming extinct. Their natural habitat is Madagascar, and the destruction of their forests there is cre...  more »
  • Duke Lemur Center is a tourist attraction, but also a research institution. A lemur may define the cuteness of an animal, however, human is literally bringing lemur close to extinction... Conservation...  more »
  • The lemurs are so cute - and the lemur center is not like a typical zoo - you get a tour from a scientist that studies the lemurs and knows their behavior. It's worth a stop if you can get tickets.  more »
Google
  • What a great experience! While the center itself may be a bit awkward to find, my GPS was accurate. If you drive yourself, there is ample parking. Make sure you come property dressed for the weather. If it's raining, you might get wet and muddy. The tours were prompt and informative. Everyone that worked there was friendly and knowledgeable. They have a plethora of lemurs which is a true treat in North America! A definite must-stop if you're in the area.
  • My family had a wonderful time! The tour guide was knowledgeable and the tour was interesting. Regarding some of the negative reviews: This is not a zoo, it is a research facility that offers tours to the public.
  • Had a phenomenal experience. They make you feel at home, and most importantly it was fun!
  • After years of waiting, I finally got to see the lemurs. Totally worth the wait! The tour starts with a short informative video, then a walk to see some of the lemurs in their outdoor homes. It's a little tough to get a picture of them in the enclosures, but their cuteness is apparent even from far away. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable. By the end, you can't help but pick up a couple souvenirs to bring home (plus it supports the research efforts). Highly recommend!
  • What a fantastic facility with great access to the lemurs! During the summer they have open house weekends when the lemurs are viewable in enclosures and also indoors in the nocturnal house where those lemurs who are active at night are on a flipped schedule from our own. During the summer they don't offer first this where you can see the lemurs in the forest outside of the enclosures which I'm sure is fantastic.
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