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walking tours

A statue of Charles Darwin (and finch) created by sculptor Pablo Eduardo overlooks the harbor on the campus of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Photo courtesy of CSHL

By Tara Mae

Scientific study is a perpetual testimony to the feats and foibles of human nature, intricately intertwined in ways that continue to be excavated by inquiring minds bold enough to imagine. 

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), which has largely been a titan in such innovative investigations, will offer a series of walking tours on select weekends from Saturday, May 20, through Sunday, August 27, starting at 10 a.m. The hour and a half long tours will traverse the past, present, and future of the complex and its work therein. 

“We are most excited to get people to the Laboratory who have always wondered what goes on here. So many have heard about us, driven by us, read about us, but they have never dug deeper. This walking tour is the chance to learn who we are,” said Caroline Cosgrove, CSHL’s Community Engagement Manager.

Conducted by trained tour guides, including Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, the walks strive to bridge the gap between the physical realm and scientific theory. 

“These tours encompass the stunning grounds, the Lab’s history, and our current facilities and work. Community members, whether they have a background and interest in science, can come and learn from current graduate students about the world-renowned work going on in their very backyard,” explained Cosgrove. 

Probing CSHL’s ongoing research and program development for plant and quantitative biology, cancer, and neuroscience, the tours will encompass details about its historic and modern architecture, Nobel legacy, and identity evolution. Additionally, these scenic, scholarly strolls explore the practices and procedures of CSHL, with behind-the-scenes sneak peaks into the inner workings of scientific investigation. 

“As long as the tour guide’s laboratory is open and available, folks get a walk through and see the student’s own lab station,” Cosgrove said. “Whether it’s a cancer research lab, a neuroscience lab, a plant research lab, you get to see where all the magic happens.” 

Established in 1890, CSHL’s North Shore campus is a beacon of biology education, with 52 laboratories and more than 1100 staff from more than 60 countries. Eight scientists associated with CSHL have earned a Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. This internationally recognized center of scientific research is also a local history and education site, where students of all ages and backgrounds come to study. 

“History has been, and will continue to be, made here. Please come get to know us,” said Cosgrove. 

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, One Bungtown Road, Cold Spring Harbor offers walking tours on May 20 and 21, June 24 and 25, July 29 and 30 and Aug. 26 and 27 at 10 a.m. Tours begin in the lobby of the Grace Auditorium. Tickets are $5 per person. To order, visit www.cshl.edu/public-events/tour-cshl/. For more information, call 516-367-8800.

Stony Brook Post Office

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization will host a Holiday Secrets of Stony Brook Village Walking Tour on Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 10:50 a.m. and again at 2:50 p.m.

Participants will experience the unheard stories of some of Stony Brook Village’s illustrious residents and customs through time. This includes “Astor Orphan” Alida Chanler Emmet and the extravagant parties that she hosted at her estate, the Mallows; the origins of the Stony Brook Village and its traditions of gift giving though the centuries; and the forgotten story of painter Ruth Hawkins Mount Seabury who was born on Christmas Day in 1808 and the only sister of the three Mount artists.

The holiday cheer can continue after the walking tour, as the Mirabelle Tavern at the Three Village Inn (c. 1751) and Pentimento Restaurant will be offering ticket holders drink or dessert specials with the purchase of food items.

Tours will leave from the Stony Brook Post Office, 111 Main St., Stony Brook. Tickets for this event are $15 per person and includes fresh hot chocolate from Stony Brook Chocolate Works. Reservations are required by calling 631-751-2244.