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SERC Public Tours

Free; Advance registration required

Smithson Society Tour

Did you know that trees breathe? That beaver ponds can teach us how to clean water? That there are zombie crabs in our rivers?  That invasive plants like Phragmites are impacting diversity along our shores? Welcome to the world of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, doing science in your backyard!

Experience an insider's view of SERC on one of our free public tours. Learn about SERC’s long-term environmental research on marshes, trees, water quality, and the impacts of carbon dioxide on our land, water, and air. During your tour, you'll walk across the marsh boardwalk and visit the beaver pond and weir, where scientists monitor stream pollution. You'll also go inside the Mathias Lab, the Smithsonian's first building to earn LEED-Platinum, the highest sustainability ranking given by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Tours are adult-oriented and will include walks on forest paths and marsh walkways. Tours may not be suitable for children under 12. Proper footwear is required (no flip-flops). Regrettably, our vans are not suitable for individuals with mobility issues.

SERC loves animals, but because we're an active research facility, we can't accommodate pets on tours. Please leave all pets at home except service animals.

All tours are approximately two hours long and start at 1:00pm at the Reed Education Center (directions). Tours are limited to 10 people and require advance signup. Larger groups, please contact Sarah Wade at to arrange a group tour. If you have questions or comments, or if the tour you wish to attend is at capacity and you would like to be added to a waitlist, send us a message at

Our autumn tours are currently finished for the season. Please check back in the spring for upcoming tour dates!

Thank you for your interest in SERC!