The Terrace Gardens in June 2021. Photo by Sue Lannon.
Welcome to Sarah P. Duke Gardens! The grounds are open from 8 a.m. to dusk 365 days a year, and admission is free. Our address is 420 Anderson St., Durham, NC, 27705. Our main information line is 919-684-3698. Here is our staff contacts page.
Know before you go
- University parking at Duke Gardens is $2 per hour. Please see this page for more information.
- Parking lots often fill to capacity by 10 a.m. or earlier when the weather is nice. Please see this page for information about overflow parking options.
- Duke Gardens offers guided walking and trolley tours from March through November. Visitors are also welcome to use our self-guided visit resources.
- Restrooms located in the Terrace Gardens and Culberson Asiatic Arboretum are open during visiting hours.The Doris Duke Center restrooms are also open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Please see this page for more information about our hours of operation and related policies.
- See our "getting here" page for directions and public transportation information.
- Dog-walking is welcome before 10 a.m. or after 5 p.m. Dogs must remain on a leash 6 feet or shorter. More information here.
- We suggest that you wear clothing with sun protection, as many parts of the Gardens have full sun exposure.
Duke Gardens is a wonderful place to gather!
Many groups have specific registration processes. Click the following links to learn more and start the process if your group is interested in:
- preK – 12th grade school or other youth group visit
- Duke University visit or partnership
- other college or university visit or partnership
- community partnership
- portrait & special occasion photography
- special event rental in the Doris Duke Center or Angle Amphitheater
- tours of Duke Gardens
All other groups are welcome to visit while following our group visitation policies:
- Visits must take place entirely during open hours: 8 a.m. to sunset.
- Groups of more than 25 people total must split into smaller groups inside the garden.
- No commercial use of Duke Gardens is allowed, and groups cannot charge a fee for a gathering taking place in Duke Gardens.
- Classes or other instructor-led programs are not allowed except through formal partnerships with Duke Gardens. To learn more about university and community partnerships, see the links above.
- Groups cannot reserve or block off any locations for your exclusive use. We do not rent outdoor areas of the garden, aside from the areas adjoining the Doris Duke Center as part of Kirby Horton Hall rentals.
- You may bring blankets or mats to sit on, as well as any personal items that you carry in. Materials and equipment that are not allowed include tables & chairs, mics & speakers, signs, decorations like balloons/banners, confetti, and games/sports equipment. You may bring in your own portable chair in the case of accessibility needs.
- Any food must be brought in by members of your group; catering and delivery are not allowed. Cooking and alcohol are not permitted.
- Collect all waste and be prepared to take it out with you. Do not leave behind or dispose of any materials in the garden except by placing them inside designated trash & recycling cans.
- All regular visitation policies also apply to groups.
We strongly encourage walking, biking or taking shared transportation to get to Duke Gardens. Parking at Duke Gardens is often extremely limited and cannot be guaranteed. Nearby campus overflow parking may be available on weekends. Visit our “getting here” page for more information about these options.
For a more in-depth explanation of these policies and how they might apply to your group (including picnics and painting & other art activities) please click here to see our full group visit policies page.
- What should I bring with me?
We suggest that you bring sunscreen and insect repellant. There is a drink vending machine outside the Doris Duke Center, and a water fountain with a bottle-filling faucet in the lobby. If you bring food or drinks, please carry your trash out with you.
- May I play Frisbee, climb trees or go swimming in the ponds?
No. Frisbees, balls and other sports equipment and activities are not permitted in the Gardens at any time, in order to protect the plant collections as well as fellow visitors. Tree climbing is also harmful to the plants and is prohibited. And although the snapping turtles and leeches would love for you to go swimming in the ponds, we value your safety and do not allow it. Please see additional policies here.
- May I feed the ducks and fish?
Please do not feed the waterfowl or fish, as food intended for humans can be harmful to their digestive systems and also pollute the ponds. We feed them every morning, so you can be assured that they are happy, healthy and well fed, even when they tell you otherwise.
- May I schedule a portrait session or do a video shoot?
We are once again scheduling photo sessions. Please see our photo policies page to inquire about a reservation. Video shoots at Duke Gardens must be requested at least 30 days in advance and require special approvals from the Gardens and the university. Please email email@example.com for further information video requests or if you're a member of the news media.
- May I fly a drone?
Drone flights are prohibited in Duke Gardens. If you have university project proposal involving drone footage in the Gardens, please see Duke’s Webdam multimedia archive, or apply in advance for permission via Duke’s drone flight request form. Proposals will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must adhere to all university drone policies.