Autumn Conservation Festival

Autumn Conservation Festival has been cancelled due to weather


With the declaration of a State of Emergency in Virginia due to Hurricane Joaquin, we have made the tough decision to cancel the Autumn Conservation Festival at SCBI this year. More information to come.

Join us for an unforgettable day at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Chat with our world-famous scientists one-on-one and learn about their fascinating research that spans the globe. Scientists will also be on hand to help you explore the tools and technology they use to understand animals and their environments.

The festival offers scenic views of the beautiful SCBI campus, where you may catch a glimpse of bison, endangered cranes, and maned wolves. Meet the animal care staff and find out what it takes to care for and save critically endangered species. Explore SCBI's fascinating history and what makes it a one of a kind breeding and research facility. SCBI isn't just about saving animal species! You'll have the unique chance to find about our ecological programs, including BiodiversiTREE and Project NEON.

You will also learn about the partnership between SCBI and George Mason University (GMU) which established the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation. Its mission is sustaining global biodiversity by advancing the theory and practice of conservation biology with transformative, transdisciplinary education.

A parking pass is required for admission. SCBI Club members and Patron level members and above receive a complimentary parking pass. All other members must purchase a non-refundable pass online through Eventbrite beginning August 20 or at the gate the day of the event.

Advance Purchase Purchase at the Gate
Bicycle $10 $15
Vehicle (up to 6 passengers) $30 $40 (if available)
Mid-Size Vehicle (7 to 16 passengers) $50 $60 (if available)

Meet the Scientist

Location: Auditorium (Conservation Drive)

Saturday, October 3

11 a.m. - Jessica Deichmann, Conservation Education and Sustainability
12 p.m. - Tavis Forrester, Conservation Ecology Center
1 p.m. - Tremaine Gregory, Conservation Education and Sustainability
2 p.m. - Melissa Songer, Department of Conservation and Science

Sunday, October 4

11 a.m. - Mike Maslanka, Department of Animal Nutrition
12 p.m. - Alfonso Alonso, Conservation Education and Sustainability
1 p.m. - Matthew Richardson, Conservation Education and Sustainabilityy
2 p.m. - Nucharin Songsasen, Species Survival Center

Kiwi Presentation

Location: Dining Hall (Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. & 1 p.m.)

Video clips featuring SCBI achievements and milestones over the past seven years will be shown between kiwi presentations.

  • The opportunity to talk with our scientists and animal care staff
  • Access to SCBI's main campus and facilities
  • Staff chats and demonstrations
  • Special activities for children
  • Food and beverages available for purchase
  • Zoo-themed merchandise available for purchase
  • Vehicle parking

The Autumn Conservation Festival will be held rain or shine.

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal (formerly the Conservation and Research Center) started primarily as a breeding center for endangered birds and mammals. Today, the black-footed ferret, Eld's deer, and several species of Pacific island birds are being bred to maintain genetic diversity and provide reserves for highly endangered species.

Learn more about SCBI

SCBI is a large and hilly campus, and festival activities are scheduled throughout the facility. Appropriate attire for outdoor activities and comfortable walking shoes are highly recommended. This event will be held rain or shine.

Learn more about SCBI

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia (formerly the Conservation and Research Center) is not open to the public, except for scheduled training courses, the Autumn Conservation Festival (held annually in early October), and other occasional events.

View Larger Map

1500 Remount Road
Front Royal, VA 22630

From the East (Washington DC Area)

  • Take I-66 to the Linden/Route 55 exit (Exit 13)
  • Turn left at the bottom of the exit ramp
  • Turn right at the first stop light onto VA-55 West and go about five miles
  • Turn left at the first traffic light onto US-522 South/Remount Road
  • The main gate to SCBI Front Royal will be on your left in about two miles
  • Turn left into SCBI Front Royal

From the West (Winchester/Strasburg)

  • Take I-81 to I-66
  • Take the Front Royal/US-522 exit (Exit 6)
  • Turn right at the end of the ramp and follow US-522 South/Remount Road through Front Royal and for about two miles south of town
  • Turn left into SCBI Front Royal

The Autumn Conservation Festival will be held rain or shine. For questions about the event, email us.