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Science & Nature Programs

The Philadelphia Flower Show: A Preview of Spring

There’s no better way to sweep away winter than with an overnight escape to the horticultural paradise that’s the Philadelphia Flower Show. There’s no need to fight the crowds (or time): Spend 2 hours taking in the blooms before the show opens to the public, then enjoy a full day to explore the delights of the world’s largest annual floral exhibition.

Date of event
Depart: Sunday, March 1, 2020 - 10:00 a.m.
Return: Monday, March 2, 2020 - 8:00 p.m.

The Smithsonian Greenhouses and How They Grow

One of the joys of a Smithsonian visit in any season is the gloriously varied greenery and flowers that brighten your paths indoors and out. Get a preview of what spring will look like on the National Mall with a visit to the source of all that natural beauty: the Smithsonian Gardens greenhouse facility in Suitland, Maryland.

Date of event
Thursday, March 12, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

The Smithsonian Greenhouses and How They Grow

One of the joys of a Smithsonian visit in any season is the gloriously varied greenery and flowers that brighten your paths indoors and out. Get a preview of what spring will look like on the National Mall with a visit to the source of all that natural beauty: the Smithsonian Gardens greenhouse facility in Suitland, Maryland.

Date of event
Thursday, March 19, 2020 - 12:30 p.m.

National Geographic Museum Daytime Tour

You are invited to tour two wonderful exhibits concurrently on view at the National Geographic Museum: Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Dr. Jane Goodall and Women: A Century of Change. Both exhibits are well-timed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution that granted women the right to vote. 

Date of event
Friday, March 27, 2020 - 12:00 p.m.

Forgotten No More: Rediscovering Remarkable Women

Women have been making strides in their fields that have often being overlooked, uncredited, or forgotten by time. Celebrate Women’s History Month by spending a fascinating day with four experts who bring to light an array of remarkable women who have lived in the shadows of history far too long.

Date of event
Saturday, March 28, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

Alexander von Humboldt: His World of Nature

He has more species named after him than any other human being. Learn why from Eleanor Jones Harvey, senior curator at the American Art Museum, who examines the fascinating life of Prussian naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt, one of the most influential intellectuals of the 19th century. 

Date of event
Sunday, March 29, 2020 - 3:00 p.m.

Extreme Weather and Climate: Adaptation in a Changing World

Meeting the shock and awe of extreme floods, droughts, storms, and fires calls for plans and action—and authoritative scientific information. Roger S. Pulwarty, the senior scientist in the physical sciences division at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, examines the significance and sources of that information as countries, communities, and businesses make critical decisions in response to changing weather and extreme climate trends.

Date of event
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Forensic Science: Investigating the Real Profession

Victor Weedn, a leading expert on forensic science, offers a comprehensive introduction to the fascinating history of forensic science and its basic methods, current controversies, and future.

Date of event
Wednesday, April 8, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

An Immersion in Nature: Japanese “Forest Bathing”—Urban Style

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.

Date of event
Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - 8:45 a.m.

Sustainable Eating: Conscious Choices for Eating More Plants

How do we make informed food choices that are right for us and the planet—and are still delicious? Health and nutrition expert Sophie Egan leads a panel of chefs, restaurateurs, and a fellow food writer to explore how an emphasis on plant-based eating might offer one of the major answers.

Date of event
Thursday, April 16, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

The Best of Brooklyn

Brooklyn offers plenty of delights for lovers of art, music, nature, and of course, food. On this two-day visit, arts journalist and former Brooklynite Richard Selden introduces you to several of the borough’s top attractions.

Date of event
Depart: Sunday, April 19, 2020 - 7:00 a.m.
Return: Monday, April 20, 2020 - 9:30 p.m.

Composting 101

Composting can help to reduce waste, enrich soil, and limit the use of harmful fertilizers. Spend an afternoon with Niraj Ray, founder of Cultivate the City rooftop farm, and get tips on how you can start composting at home.

Date of event
Sunday, April 26, 2020 - 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Global Climate Justice: What Does It Mean?

The question of how to meet the challenges of climate change continues to take on an increasingly larger role in the worldwide debate about the future of our planet. Olúfémi O. Táíwò, an assistant professor of political philosophy and ethics at Georgetown University, provides an overview of these issues as he examines the range of pathways that are under discussion by communities, countries, and policymakers.

Date of event
Monday, April 27, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Hiking in Shenandoah National Park

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.

Date of event
Depart: Sunday, May 3, 2020 - 8:30 a.m.
Return: Monday, May 4, 2020 - 7:30 p.m.

An Immersion in Nature: Japanese “Forest Bathing”—Urban Style

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.

Date of event
Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - 8:45 a.m.

Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary

How can you tell a downy woodpecker from a hairy one? A Cooper’s hawk from a sharp-shinned hawk? Liana Vitali, naturalist and educator at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, shares tips, facts, and resources for dedicated birders and birding beginners alike.

Date of event
Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Galileo: Lessons from a Great Scientist

For Albert Einstein, Galileo Galilei was “the father of modern physics—indeed, of modern science altogether.” Astrophysicist Mario Livio examines Galileo’s monumental achievements in astronomy, mechanics, and the development of the scientific method.

Date of event
Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

The Bronx in Bloom: Gardens, Art, and Local Culture

Arts journalist Richard Selden leads a two-day tour to New York City’s northernmost borough. Discover the glorious New York Botanical Garden, vibrant neighborhoods like Riverdale, Little Italy, and City Island (it’s really an island), and great local eateries.

Date of event
Depart: Sunday, May 17, 2020 - 7:30 a.m.
Return: Monday, May 18, 2020 - 11:00 p.m.

Are Humans Naturally Good or Bad?

For centuries, philosophers have attempted to answer the question of whether humans are naturally good or evil without any definitive results. Evolutionary biologist Rui Diogo turns instead to the sciences, anthropology, history, sociology, and other fields to examine at what empirical data says about our basic nature—and offers some surprising insights into this age-old inquiry.

Date of event
Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Celebrating 50 Years: Smithsonian Magazine and Earth Day

Smithsonian magazine was launched in the spring of 1970—as was the first Earth Day—and from the start it has been the trusted go-to source on the natural world and environmental issues. Mark these anniversaries by revisiting some of the magazine’s first articles about how we understand our planet with the journalists, photographers, and other experts who brought these stories to life.

Date of event
Friday, May 29, 2020 - 7:00 p.m.

The Language of Butterflies: A Message of Hope

The fragile beauty and astounding endurance of butterflies have long fascinated us. Science journalist Wendy Williams looks at how scientists, gardeners, naturalists, and citizen scientists joined together to decipher the secrets of butterflies in order to protect them—and to learn what they might tell us about meeting the challenges of climate change.

Date of event
Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

A Mountain Rail Extravaganza

All aboard for an exciting multi-day rail journey through West Virginia’s breathtaking mountain scenery led by railroad historian Joe Nevin

Date of event
Depart: Friday, June 5, 2020 - 8:00 a.m.
Return: Sunday, June 7, 2020 - 7:30 p.m.

Spring in the Brandywine River Valley

The beautiful Brandywine region is an ideal destination for lovers of art, grand houses and gardens, and American history. Join Hayden Mathews, an environmental and cultural history interpreter, in locations in Delaware and Pennsylvania that vividly capture the area’s heritage.

Date of event
Depart: Sunday, June 14, 2020 - 7:30 a.m.
Return: Monday, June 15, 2020 - 7:00 p.m.