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Science & Nature Programs
Gardening for Mother Earth

This Earth Day, celebrate Mother Earth with Niraj Ray, founder of Cultivate the City, a D.C. organization of urban farmers dedicated to locally grown food. Take a tour of one of Cultivate the City’s community gardens as you gather tips on how to garden and leave the planet a better place.

Date
Sunday, April 22, 2018 - 2:00 p.m.
Spring at the National Arboretum
All-Day Tour

Enjoy a spring day at the Arboretum, during what is usually the peak blooming time for azaleas, dogwoods, and seasonal wildflowers. The day includes a combination walking and bus tour to visit popular collections on the Arboretum grounds, a picnic box lunch on site, and special guided tours of the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum and the National Herb Garden.

Date
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 9:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past

Massive technological innovations now allow scientists to extract and analyze ancient DNA as never before. Geneticist David Reich examines how these developments have transformed our understanding of our lineage as modern humans.

Date
Thursday, April 26, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles
Weekend Tour

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Sunday, April 29, 2018 - 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles
Weekend Tour

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Sunday, April 29, 2018 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The Heart of a Comet

Jim Zimbelman, a planetary geologist at the Air and Space Museum, examines how a new explosion of insights expanded and deepened our earlier knowledge of comets, now seen as frozen remnants from the formation of the solar system.

Date
Monday, April 30, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles
Weekend Tour

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Sunday, May 6, 2018 - 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles
Weekend Tour

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Sunday, May 6, 2018 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The Truth About Exercise: Separating Myths from Realities

How many push-ups should you be doing a day?  Does swimming or weight-lifting help reduce your risk of heart disease? Internist and author John Whyte offers the latest information and recommendations you need to know about what exercises you should—and should not—be doing.

Date
Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles
Morning Tour

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Friday, May 11, 2018 - 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles
Afternoon Tour

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Friday, May 11, 2018 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Where the Buffalo Roam

The story of the American Plains bison looms large in our country’s history—and has a link to the Smithsonian’s past and present. Staff members of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the American Indian Museum provide insights into the scientific and cultural significance of the bison, and conservation efforts developed for this endangered species.

Date
Thursday, May 17, 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
May 18 - 19, 2018, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Adventures on the C&O Canal
Overnight Tour

Explore the man-made wonders of the C&O Canal, as well as natural beauty of spring along the Potomac River, guided by writer and local historian Garrett Peck. Highlights include the Monocacy Aqueduct, the canal town of Williamsport, the Paw Paw Tunnel, and an overnight stay in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, site of America’s first spa.

Date
Depart: Saturday, May 19, 2018 - 8:30 a.m.
Return: Saunday, May 20, 2018 - 6:00 p.m.
Open House at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
All-Day Tour

The Edgewater, Maryland, headquarters of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center is the site of some of the longest-running environmental projects in the world. Get the most out of the facility’s once-a-year open house by becoming part of a tour that includes special opportunities not available to the public during the event.

Date
Saturday, May 19, 2018 - 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Oysters of the Rappahannock: New Directions for a Virginia Industry
All-Day Tour

Environmental historian Hayden Mathews leads a tour that examines how Virginia’s once-declining oyster harvest was revived through innovative developments in commercial farming and aquaculture in Chesapeake Bay. A visit to a 119-year-old family business that was among the pioneers in that resurgence offers a chance to see—and taste—the robust oyster industry of today.

Date
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Innovations in Military Medicine: Breakthroughs in Healing From the Battlefield

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan produced some remarkable new treatments and technologies in combat-casualty care, many of which are finding their way into civilian healthcare. Military doctors who served during the wars discuss the genesis of these advances and their potential applications beyond military medicine.

Date
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Facing Fear

Why do our bodies and minds react the way they do when we’re in danger? Joseph LeDoux, a professor of science at New York University, discusses the impact of recent research into the neurological and emotional roots of fear, and why it might change our pharmacological and behavioral approaches to helping people reframe this emotion.

Date
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles
Weekend Tour

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Saturday, May 26, 2018 - 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles
Weekend Tour

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Saturday, May 26, 2018 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 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
June 1 - 2, 2018, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Exploring Mars: What’s Next?

Join Kelly Beatty, senior editor for Sky & Telescope magazine, for an examination of the Red Planet from afar and up close—including a 3D tour that puts you right on the dusty Martian surface.

Date
Monday, June 4, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Learning to Learn: The New Science of Learning

There’s much new to learn about how we learn. Join author Ulrich Boser as he shares some highly effective—and surprising—practical strategies to freshen up our brains and make learning stick.

Date
Thursday, June 7, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Finding Paradise in Montgomery County: Sugarloaf Mountain and the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve
All-Day Tour

Did you know there is rural beauty nearby to Washington that rivals the English countryside or Provence? Spend a June day with author and naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley as she shares some of her favorite places in a slice of paradise bordering the Frederick County line.

Date
Friday, June 8, 2018 - 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Unnatural Selection: Katrina van Grouw’s Evolutionary Illustrations

Katrina van Grouw, natural science illustrator and author, fuses science and art in her beautifully illustrated new book, Unnatural Selection, which illuminates evolutionary patterns in wild and domestic animals.

Date
Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Lost Texts Revealed: Ancient Manuscripts Meet High-Tech Imaging

Palimpsests—text and drawings on parchment that had been scraped off and overwritten—can hold secrets of the original writing beneath their surfaces for centuries. Michael B. Toth discusses how the international teams of researchers he leads use advanced imagining technologies to reclaim and share precious texts once thought lost forever.

Date
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Serengeti Spectacle

Veteran safari guide Russell Gammon brings to life the story of the world’s most massive animal movement: the annual migration of 1.2 million wildebeest across the savanna between Kenya and Tanzania as they follow life-giving rains.

Date
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
A Natural History of the Mid-Atlantic: Stories of Calvert County, Maryland
All-Day Tour

Environmental historian and storyteller Hayden Mathews interprets the many layers of the county’s natural history as he leads a tour to Battle Creek Cypress Swamp, Calvert Marine Museum, and Flag Ponds Beach and Nature Center. 

Date
Saturday, June 16, 2018 - 8:45 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.
The Science and Culture of Bread

What makes a pain de mie fluffy, a baguette crisp, or a loaf of sourdough chewy? Nora Velazco and Omar Quazi, head bread bakers at the Mount Vernon shop called a baked joint, offer the answers as they share their passion for bread making and its science, history, and rich cultural traditions.

Date
Monday, June 18, 2018 - 6:30 p.m.
Strange and Curious Smithsonian Jobs: Smithsonian High and Low

Meet two scientists whose research on ecosystems takes them from the tops of the forest canopy to the ocean floor: Chris Meyer, research zoologist and curator of marine invertebrates at the Natural History Museum, and Jess Parker, senior scientist in forest ecology at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. 

Date
Thursday, June 21, 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
June 29 - 30, 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
July 6 - 7, 2018, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Niagara Falls: A Summer Spectacular
3-Day Tour

One of North America’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders is the perfect destination for a visit that includes all the don’t-miss attractions of Niagara Falls—and a memorable dinner in one of Ontario’s most historic and charming towns.

Date
Depart: Thursday, July 12, 2018 - 7:00 a.m.
Return: Saturday, July 14, 2018 - 8:30 p.m.
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
July 14 - 15, 2018, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
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
July 28 - 29, 2018, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
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.
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.
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.