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Science & Nature Programs
Smithsonian Sleepover at the Udvar-Hazy Center

Family Program: (Ages 8 to 14) Go on an interactive exploration of the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. Then roll out your sleeping bag and dream away in the halls of one of the world’s most famous museums!

Date
August 18 - 19, 2018, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Discover Your Backyard: Great Hikes Within and Around the Beltway

Whether you’re looking for a trail that offers great scenery, history, family fun, or a challenge to your hiking skills, Renee Sklarew and Rachel Cooper, authors of 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Washington, D.C., know all the right spots for your fall excursions.

Date
Wednesday, August 22, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Smithsonian Sleepover at the Natural History Museum

Family Program: (Ages 8 to 12) Go on an interactive exploration of the Natural History Museum and participate in hands-on crafts projects and games. Then roll out your sleeping bag and dream away in the darkened halls of one of the world’s most famous museums!

Date
August 24 - 25, 2018, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Smithsonian Sleepover at the Natural History Museum

Family Program: (Ages 8 to 12) Go on an interactive exploration of the Natural History Museum and participate in hands-on crafts projects and games. Then roll out your sleeping bag and dream away in the darkened halls of one of the world’s most famous museums!

Date
August 31 - September 1, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Historic Chestertown and a Cruise on the Schooner Sultana

Regional historian Hayden Mathews explores the rich heritage of this lovely Eastern Shore town, focusing on both land and sea. The day includes a cruise on a replica of an 18th century vessel, as well as an historic-district walking tour guided by Chestertown’s mayor.

Date
Sunday, September 9, 2018 - 8:00 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.
Theodore Roosevelt’s North Dakota: Badlands, Bison, and the Making of a Conservationist
5-Day Tour

The rugged landscape of western North Dakota was the setting against which Theodore Roosevelt transformed himself from an asthmatic 24-year-old into a robust outdoorsman—and a passionate lifelong conservationist. Experience that corner of the West—filled with dramatic vistas, vividly colored canyons, and wandering herds of wild bison—on an extraordinary 5-day tour that brings you into the heart of Roosevelt’s Badlands and the national park that bears his name.

Date
Depart from Bismarck, ND: Saturday, September 15, 2018 - 7:00 p.m.
Return to Bismarck, ND: Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 1:00 p.m.
The Biggest and Best Eyes on the Skies: Telescopic Revelations

Hubble. Chandra. Spitzer. Kepler. Over the years, these and other space telescopes have revealed the wonders of the cosmos to scientists and other stargazers. Sam Quinn, an astronomer with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, tells us what new wonders might be revealed by those amazing eyes in the sky.

Date
Monday, September 17, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Breakfast at the Zoo: A Date with Spike the Elephant

For Smithsonian Associates members at the Promoter ($100) level or below: Join us as we feature the National Zoo’s Asian elephant herd—and welcome its newest member, Spike—at this much-anticipated annual event. Enter the zoo before it opens to the public, enjoy breakfast, get up-close looks at the animals, and take in the memorable sights and sounds of Smithsonian’s wonderful zoo.

Date
Saturday, September 22, 2018 - 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Breakfast at the Zoo: A Date with Spike the Elephant

For Smithsonian Associates members at the Advocate ($175) level or above. Join us as we feature the National Zoo’s Asian elephant herd—and welcome its newest member, Spike—at this much-anticipated annual event. Enter the zoo before it opens to the public, enjoy breakfast, get up-close looks at the animals, and take in the memorable sights and sounds of Smithsonian’s wonderful zoo. This ticket option includes VIP access at the Mane Grill across from Lion and Tiger Hill from 8 to 9 a.m.

Date
Saturday, September 22, 2018 - 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Breakfast at the Zoo: A Date with Spike the Elephant

For Smithsonian Associates members at the Advocate ($175) level or above. Join us as we feature the National Zoo’s Asian elephant herd—and welcome its newest member, Spike—at this much-anticipated annual event. Enter the zoo before it opens to the public, enjoy breakfast, get up-close looks at the animals, and take in the memorable sights and sounds of Smithsonian’s wonderful zoo. This ticket option includes VIP access at the Mane Grill across from Lion and Tiger Hill from 9 to 10 a.m.

Date
Saturday, September 22, 2018 - 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Breakfast at the Zoo: A Date with Spike the Elephant

For Smithsonian Associates members at the Advocate ($175) level or above. Join us as we feature the National Zoo’s Asian elephant herd—and welcome its newest member, Spike—at this much-anticipated annual event. Enter the zoo before it opens to the public, enjoy breakfast, get up-close looks at the animals, and take in the memorable sights and sounds of Smithsonian’s wonderful zoo. This ticket option includes VIP access at the Mane Grill across from Lion and Tiger Hill from 10 to 11 a.m.

Date
Saturday, September 22, 2018 - 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Historic Chestertown and a Cruise on the Schooner Sultana

Regional historian Hayden Mathews explores the rich heritage of this lovely Eastern Shore town, focusing on both land and sea. The day includes a cruise on a replica of an 18th century vessel, as well as an historic-district walking tour guided by Chestertown’s mayor.

Date
Sunday, September 23, 2018 - 8:00 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.
Maryland: A Fertile State for Dinosaur Fossils

Ray Stanford, a self-taught fossil hunter, accidentally found the tracks of five dinosaur species in the parking lot of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt. Stanford, who has tracked dinosaurs for 25 years, talks about the amazing diversity of fossils preserved within Maryland, from Ice-Age mammals to fossils hundreds of millions of years old.

Date
Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Along the Anacostia

Kick off DC Outdoors, a new series of local hikes, by celebrating the centennial of Anacostia Park and the rich history of the riverfront community in Southeast Washington that borders it. The day includes hiking along some of the Anacostia’s most scenic spots.

Date
Monday, October 8, 2018 - 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Fall Landscape Photography on the Potomac: An Environmental Photography Experience

Described as a national treasure, the 15-mile stretch of the Potomac River from River Bend Park to Roosevelt Island is the focus of shooting assignments in this course. After a classroom orientation session, photographers record fall’s progress from both Maryland and Virginia locations in this beautiful and ecologically significant area.

Date
Friday, October 12 to December 7, 2018 – 10:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. (no class Nov. 23)
Hiking for Photographers

Explore close-in sections of Virginia’s river-hugging Potomac Heritage Trail as you capture images of fall splendor on a series of outings for photographers who are experienced hikers.

Date
Friday, October 12, 2018 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Morning hikes on Sunday, October 14 to November 11, 2018
Evolution In Warp Drive: The Science of Star Trek

Have you ever wondered why most alien life depicted on Star Trek strongly resembles us Earthlings? Come explore the possibility of humanoid or other forms of life on other planets with Mohamed Noor, a professor of biology at Duke University—and lifelong Trekkie!

Date
Thursday, October 18, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Beefeater and the Birds: Meet the Tower of London’s Ravenmaster

As Halloween draws near, spend an evening with Christopher Skaife, the ravenmaster at one of the world's eeriest monuments. He’s responsible for the care of the Tower of London’s remarkable ravens, and he has some fascinating stories to share about one of the world’s most unusual jobs.

Date
Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Astronomer Royal Looks to the Future

British cosmologist, astrophysicist, and Astronomer Royal Martin Rees believes that, too often, our approach to what lies ahead is constricted by short-term thinking, polarizing debates, alarmist rhetoric, and pessimism. Drawing from his new book On the Future: Prospects for Humanity, Rees discusses how we can use science to solve critical problems while avoiding its dystopian risk.

Date
Thursday, October 25, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary: A Fall Panorama

Join an overnight tour to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, the 2,600-acre sanctuary that is the world’s first refuge for birds of prey and an international center for raptor conservation. Get a chance to see eagles, falcons, hawks, and osprey soaring high over a mountaintop preserve that glows with fall foliage.

Date
Depart: Friday, October 26, 2018 - 7:30 a.m.
Return: Saturday, October 27, 2018 - 6:00 p.m.
Nature, History, and Art in Fairfax County

Join Rachel Cooper and Renee Sklarew, authors of 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Washington, D.C., as they lead a fall excursion to the Lorton, Virginia, area to explore a trio of distinctive sites in Fairfax County: Mason Neck State Park, American statesman George Mason’s mansion Gunston Hall, and Lorton Workhouse Art Center.

Date
Saturday, November 3, 2018 - 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Underground Virginia: Caves of the Shenandoah

Find out why Virginia’s caves never fail to dazzle visitors during a visit to realms of wonder eons in the making in the scenic Shenandoah Valley. With Gregg Clemmer as your guide, explore two of the region’s great caverns—Shenandoah Caverns and Luray Caverns—from their stone columns and draperies to jagged helectites and dog-toothed spars. 

Date
Saturday, November 10, 2018 - 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.