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Science & Nature Programs

Baltimore-based chef John Shields guides home cooks in preparing dishes in the Chesapeake tradition that are tasty and healthy—and support the regional food industry’s efforts to protect the Bay.

Event date Monday, February 25, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

In a four-part series, listen to National Institutes of Health directors and scientific and medical experts discuss what is currently “hot” in biomedical research—and what it all means for our health and medical treatment today and in the future. This program features John Tisdale, Chief, Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics Branch, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Event date Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Inspired by the theme Wonders of Water, the 2018 edition of the world’s largest indoor flower exhibition—all 10 colorful acres of it—celebrates the beauty and life-sustaining interplay of horticulture and water. The legendary show is the perfect place for gardeners and flower enthusiasts to spend a day filled with beauty.

Event date Wednesday, March 6, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

When test results from a genealogical website showed that novelist and memoirist Dani Shapiro’s biological father was not the man who had raised her, she confronted some of the complicated ethical and moral questions that genetic testing can raise. In a conversation with biologist Carla Easter of the National Human Genome Research Institute, Shapiro discusses how she came to reconstruct—and come to terms with—a different version of her own identity.

Event date Wednesday, March 6, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Escape the winter cold and step into a floral oasis in the Kogod Courtyard with Orchids: Amazing Adaptations, featuring hundreds of stunning varieties. Join a Smithsonian Gardens staff member for a private view of the lush blooms before the space opens to the public.

Event date Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Escape the winter cold and step into a floral oasis in the Kogod Courtyard with Orchids: Amazing Adaptations, featuring hundreds of stunning varieties. Join a Smithsonian Gardens staff member for a private view of the lush blooms before the space opens to the public.

Event date Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Escape the winter cold and step into a floral oasis in the Kogod Courtyard with Orchids: Amazing Adaptations, featuring hundreds of stunning varieties. Join a Smithsonian Gardens staff member for a private view of the lush blooms before the space opens to the public.

Event date Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

A curious irrational number called the golden ratio, or phi (approximately 1.618, give or take an endless series of places) has come to represent the proportions of some ideally pleasing geometrical structures. Astrophysicist Mario Livio traces the story of this astonishing number from the ancient world to the present day, examining how it pops up in everything from the natural world to music and architecture.

Event date Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Enjoy the beauty of a spring morning on the 90-acre wooded oasis and national memorial in the middle of the tidal Potomac. Author and naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley leads a scenic walk around Roosevelt Island, focusing on its woodlands, wildlife, and history.

Event date Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Smithsonian Gardens greenhouse facility in Suitland, Maryland, home of Smithsonian Gardens’ Greenhouse Nursery Operations. Discover what it takes to keep the many gardens and interior plant displays looking their best all year round.

Event date Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Smithsonian Gardens greenhouse facility in Suitland, Maryland, home of Smithsonian Gardens’ Greenhouse Nursery Operations. Discover what it takes to keep the many gardens and interior plant displays looking their best all year round.

Event date Wednesday, April 10, 2019 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Renee Sklarew and Rachel Cooper, experts on the area’s hiking scene, lead a springtime walk through Huntley Meadows Park, the region’s largest freshwater marsh, followed by a glimpse into Alexandria’s colonial past at Gadsby’s Tavern and a visit to the city’s towering landmark, the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.

Event date Sunday, April 14, 2019 - 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Southern Maryland’s Calvert Cliffs are a vivid remnant of the Chesapeake Bay’s prehistoric past. Stephen Godfrey, a Smithsonian research associate and curator of paleontology at the Calvert Marine Museum, traces the fascinating history of the cliffs, discusses the amazing diversity of fossils that they preserve, and the picture they present of the Mid-Atlantic environment during the Miocene epoch.

Event date Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Medicinal plants have a long history across civilizations, and are garnering attention as the influences of herbalism and natural medicine move into the mainstream. Join Niraj Ray, founder of Cultivate the City, on the rooftop of its urban farm and learn how to utilize a diversity of these plants for both food and medical purposes.

Event date Sunday, April 28, 2019 - 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Animal behavior expert Frans de Waal’s fascinating explorations into the social and emotional lives of primates have revealed that humans are not the only species with the capacity for love, hate, fear, shame, joy, or generosity. Drawing on his newest book, Mama’s Last Hug, he examines the remarkable emotional continuity between our species and others.

Event date Monday, April 29, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

The National Arboretum, one of D.C.’s best-kept secrets, is home to 9 miles of winding parkland roads covering more than 450 acres. Enjoy a spring day outdoors during what is usually the peak blooming time for azaleas, dogwoods, and seasonal wildflowers.

Event date Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 9:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

In a two-day active getaway designed for outdoor lovers, explore Blue Ridge trails at the height of their spring beauty, and stay at an historic lodge on Skyline Drive that offers magnificent panoramic views of the mountain landscapes.

Event date Depart: Sunday, May 19, 2019 - 8:30 a.m.
Return: Monday, May 20, 2019 - 7:30 p.m.

Learn the benefits of quiet time spent in touch with nature as Melanie Choukas-Bradley, a certified nature and forest-therapy guide and author of The Joy of Forest Bathing, leads a 2-hour walk in the Smithsonian’s beautiful Enid A. Haupt Garden.

Event date Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.