The Duke Lemur Center: A Visit

Let’s visit the Duke Lemur Center with Travel Blogger George Taylor. George shares some photos and information about his recent trip to the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, NC. Make sure to follow George’s theme park adventures over at ImagiNERDing.com.

I was invited to attend a special “crowning” of the two new ring-tailed lemur twins at the Duke Lemur Center back in June. The event was a tie-in with DreamWorks Animation series on Netflix, All Hail King Julien. The baby lemur was expected to be a boy and to be named Prince Julien. When twin baby girls were born, they were named Princess Julien and Princess Julien. Quite fitting. And quite adorable!

The Duke Lemur Center

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The Duke Lemur Center is located in Durham, NC. It’s the world’s largest habitat of Lemurs, outside of Madagascar. It was founded in 1966 as the Duke Primate Center, with over 200 primates. Currently, they house over 250 individuals, from 21 different species.

It is a research center with a major focus on conservation biology. You must book a tour in advance. The Duke Lemur Center offers plenty of different and amazing tours. 

Our first stop was the Tour & Visitor Center, which also functions as the Lemur Landing Gift Shop. Lemur Landing is a very short walk from the main parking lot and nice respite from the heat. The gift shop had a very nice selection of books, stuffed lemurs, toys, educational material, t-shirts and other types of clothing. We thought that the gift shop had cute items; we were not prepared for the cuteness overload of seeing real lemurs!

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After you pay for your tour package, you’ll be escorted by a tour guide. Our media visit was part of the LemurPalooza Celebration and you were allowed to experience the Duke Lemur Center at your own pace.

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A lovely mural at the Duke Lemur Center

You follow a path from Lemur Landing to the exhibit spaces. There are a few different areas that you can see, based on your tour. We spent most of our time with the two Princesses, since it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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In the image below, you can see the outside of the building that houses many of the lemurs, including the new twin ring-tailed lemurs. For parts of the tours, you can only see the Lemurs through the two layers of fences. For the media event, they let us go inside where the handlers were. It was very exciting!

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This is the nocturnal exhibit building. There was space for a limited number of people and there was a lengthy wait.

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The next area is the outdoor habitats. They are several silo-like buildings that house lemurs. It’s a very shady path that winds around the habitats. During our visit, several tour-guides were stationed around to answer questions. There are families of lemurs that live in a fenced-in area behind the silos. They are given free reign and rounded up, so to speak, whenever the weather gets bad or too cold for outdoor living.

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Obviously, not every shot is going to come out great! Still, it was an amazing experience to walk around and see the different species of lemurs. The tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and answered every question.

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I could never get my camera to focus past the fence to see the lemurs.

They do offer adoptions on the lemurs, which also includes a membership to the Duke Lemur Center.

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Overall, visiting the Duke Lemur Center was incredibly charming and a worthwhile trip. Make sure to call well in advance to book your tour. Most of the tours look like they’re less than a half of a day and you could easily combine it with a visit to another attraction near Durham.
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I just wanted to leave you with an image of the proud parents and the very tiny tail of one of the twins.

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Check out the trip report I did of my visit to the Duke Lemur Center on Communicore Weekly (the Greatest Online Show™)


When George Taylor isn’t covering travel for Carolina Blogging, you can find him writing and talking about theme parks, Disney and movies at ImagiNERDing and at Communicore Weekly, Communicore Weekly is a podcast that looks at Disney Parks, theme park history and themed entertainment (like Disney movies).

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