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Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Top 6 Tourist Attractions in Durham, North Carolina (2024)

Durham is a great destination for tourism as it has various visiting places, and each place has a unique past and culture. The city of Durham seems small but when you actually visit it, you will get the real idea. It boasts some of the breathtaking nature spots and fascinating historic sights of the country. You can learn about the American tobacco industry and catch your favorite Durham Bulls playing game. The Durham city has a wide variety of top-notch restaurants to choose from. The city has its own magical charm that’s why some of the scenes of Harry Potter movies were shot here. One of the most amazing things about Durham is that you could be enjoying your lunch on the beach in the afternoon and then the next moment you can be hiking in the countryside. This makes it a perfect place for traveling purposes.

Top 6 Tourist Attractions in Durham, North Carolina

So, if you guys are planning to visit this city then keep reading. Here are some of the top tourist attractions in Durham that you must not skip if you are here.

1. Duke Lemur Center:

Duke Lemur Center is known to be the world’s largest sanctuary for endangered and rare prosimian primates. Located on Erwin Road near Duke University, the center is scattered over 80 acres of land. Only 90 primates were there in the center which were shifted to Duke University from Yale University, when it was opened in 1966. Now there are about 250 primates. Open hour tours are only available when you make a beforehand reservation. It is a fun place to visit with your pals or family and in fact kids will also love it. The staff here is very friendly and professional. You can even click pictures with animals here. The center also hosts various interactive and great events. One of them being Lemurpalooza – where visitors bring blankets and some other items and are introduced to primates. Till now, the center has served around four thousand primates. You surely won’t regret it if you visit the Duke Lemur Center.

Best Time To Visit Duke Lemur Center in Durham: It opens every day from 9am to 4pm.

2. Sarah P. Duke Gardens:

Sarah P. Duke Garden lies in the heart of the city at Anderson Street on the West Campus of Duke University. The garden is scattered over 55 acres of land and there are 5 miles of pathways, alleys, and walks throughout the garden. It is made after the name of Sarah P. Duke who was the wife of one of Duke University’s benefactors, Benjamin N. Duke. This Garden is a memorial for her. Plenty of attractions are there in the garden such as a small pond, fountain, seven stone-walled terraces and 2500 colorful plant species. After the pandemic, many amendments were made here. You can also enjoy the food at The Terrace Cafe which serves a variety of salads, sandwiches, coffee, sides, cold beverages, snacks, and ice cream. In the month of November, the cafe closes but reopens at the end of March. There are no entry fees to visit the garden but Duke University Parking & Transportation charges $2 per hour for parking at Duke Gardens. Bathroom facility is available in the Doris Duke Center open from 9am to 5pm daily.

Best Time To Visit Sarah P. Duke Garden in Durham: Opens Monday to Sunday from 8am to dusk. On weekends, try to go early or before 10 am as the parking lot fills up really soon.

3. Eno River State Park:

Eno River State Park is only about 10 miles from downtown Durham and considered to be the best place if you want to get away from the chaos of the city and want to have some peaceful moments. It preserved almost nine miles of the Eno River, situated along the West Point of the Eno city park. This park is scattered over 4200 acres of land and ends up in the fall lake. Previously, this area was under the Native American Tribes. In order to protect from the development, Eno River State Park was created in 1972. The natural beauty of this park is magnificent, you will be able to see animals like birds, beavers, deer, turtles, fish and many more. Springtime wildflowers can be seen here too along with some other beautiful flowers. It is best known for various outdoor activities such as canoeing, camping, hiking, swimming, and fishing. There is a 24 miles long hiking trail where you can enjoy your summer day by doing something adventurous. During the hiking, you’ll see Cole Mill, Buckquarter Creek, Eno Quarry, Eno Trace, Cabelands, Cox Mountain, Holden Mill, Fanny’s Ford, Pump station, Laurel, and Shakori. The most common fishes that you’ll find while fishing are bluegill, roanoke bass and largemouth bass. Such a nice place for a family picnic. Unleashed dogs are prohibited here. They also provide clean washroom facilities. If you’re visiting this place, then don’t forget to capture the most amazing “suspension bridge”.

Best Time To Visit Eno River State Park in Durham: It opens every day from 7am to 9pm.

4. Museum of Life and Science:

If you’re done with visiting all the adventurous places and want to know about something informative then this city also has some of the really great museums, one of them being the Museum of Life and Science. It was formerly known as the North Carolina Children’s Museum and the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science. It was established in 1946 and the president of the museum is Carrie Heinonen. It is located on West Murray Avenue north of downtown Durham. The museum of life and science is a natural science museum which is scattered over 84 acre of land and features many hands-on exhibits. The museum comprises plenty of attractions in several buildings. Some examples are the main building, dinosaur trail, Catch the Wind, a magic wings butterfly house, Bioquest, farmyard, Explore the Wild, indoor exhibits, earth moves, outdoor exhibits, Hideaway Woods, sprout cafe, and the 2 ft narrow gauge Ellerbe Creek C.P. Huntington train ride. It was reconstructed in the early 1990s. Since after the reconstruction, the southern tract is largely devoted to administrative buildings and parking. The main attractive thing about this museum is its Aerospace exhibit in which various NASA space programs artifacts are displayed. Everything about this museum of life and science will leave you amaze.

Best Time To Visit Museum of Life and Science in Durham: It opens from Tuesday to Sunday: 10am to 5pm. It remains closed on Monday.

5. Falls Lake State Recreation Area:

Falls Lake State Recreation Area is located ten miles east of Durham and along the falls lake’s shoreline. It is scattered over 1200 acres of land which acts as a great spot for camping and trails for hiking. The recreation area provides hiking and boating activities for residents of the surrounding communities. Only a few campgrounds are open after  November 30th or before March 15th, making it a great place to visit in summers. It is considered one of the largest recreational facilities in the state. It is a very beautiful place where you can visit your family, kids, and friends. Don’t forget to carry your camera with yourself to capture the serenic view and the area.

Best Time To Visit Falls Lake State Recreation Area in Durham: You can visit it from 8am to 8pm from Monday to Sunday.

6. Museum of Durham History:

Museum of Durham History is considered to be one of the best tourist locations in Durham as here you will get to learn about the interesting histories and incredible tales of the city’s people, places, and simple things that foster and create curiosity. The museum displays a gallery on Durham stories, an exhibit on Durham’s historic timeline. It also has plenty of information on Durham’s historical sites as the sole reason for creating this museum is to let other people know about the history of the city and its communities. About 150 faces of Durham are held by the museum. Free admission is allowed. If you’re in the city of Durham, then your trip won’t end without visiting this museum.

Best Time To Visit Museum of Durham History: Tuesday to Saturday: 10am to 5pm, Sunday: 1pm to 5pm. Another thing to note is that the museum opens late on the Third Fridays.

Escape the bustle of everyday life and plan your trip to this landlocked and gorgeous city filled with all types of adventurous, serenic and relaxing places. So, whenever you plan to make a trip to Durham, then definitely explore these top tourist attractions in Durham which are mentioned above.

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