Sunday, January 30, 2011

Duke Lemur Center

Our boys loved the lemurs at the Museum of Life + Science. So when we read that there was a Lemur Center devoted to these fun little primates, we decided to take the boys!

The Duke Lemur Center is a real gem for our area. It gains nationwide recognition as being the only place outside of Madagascar where over 233 lemurs live and are studied. The Lemur Center was established in 1966, is on over 85 acres near Duke Forest, and is the world's largest sanctuary for these endangered species.

Getting tours to the Lemur Center is easy. They are generally offered during the weekdays and we went on a 10:30 am tour. However, advanced reservations are required. There is a limit to how many people can attend one tour (15). So don't just show up; call ahead!

Prices are: $10 for adults, $7 for kids 3 - 12, kids under 3 free.

The entire tour was about an hour. The tour started with a well-produced entertaining video about the Lemur Center that lasted about 20 minutes. Our boys enjoyed that, and it was very informative.

After that, we loaded the kids in their strollers and were taken on a guided tour of the Center. The place is very impressive, and the lemurs engaging.

Our advice to you, however, is to go when the weather is warm. In cold or rainy weather, the primates snuggle up inside. And when they go inside the public can not get close access to them as you are not allowed inside the animal centers and down the halls. Out of the hundreds of lemurs there, we saw maybe 6 because they were all indoors. When the weather is nice, however, the lemurs come to their individual outdoor spaces and the public can get nice and close.

Since the lemurs were inside, our tour guide spent a lot of time talking to us while we stood watching the lemurs we could see. Which was fascinating information but not so intriguing for most kids. Luckily our guide was really laidback and seemed not to mind or even notice the boisterous kids.

After our indoor tour, we went over to the nocturnal house. This was where some very different, non-lemur animals live. The Center controls the light in the building, reversing night and day, so that the animals can be studied and the public can see these animals on the move. They were so interesting (including one animal that has a long finger which rotates 360-degrees)! Of course, you are asked to be somewhat quiet in the nocturnal house. So while our boys loved the action of these animals, keeping excited kids quiet was somewhat hard to do.

Our tour guide was so great -- very knowledgeable and friendly.

Everything here is stroller accessible.

They do have a nice gift shop so your child can take home a stuffed lemur all their own if you want.

I would go again, but I would certainly go in nice weather to get a look at those fun little creatures as they play outside.

We had a very tasty meal at Nosh afterwards.

Duke Lemur Center
On Lemur Lane, off of Old Erwin Road/Erwin Extension


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