Events August 31-September 1: Prehistoric Prints, American Animals and a Peek Inside the Castle

This weekend, learn how man really came to walk the Earth, visit the newly opened American Trail and get a behind-the-scenes tour of the Castle

American Trail
Many of the animals along the American Trail, including the bald eagle, are part of a conservation comeback. Courtesy the National Zoo

Friday August 31, The Scientist Is In

You’ve seen the T-shirts: man evolved to walk on two feet–and then evolved to study how man evolved to walk on two feet. Meet Kevin Hatala, PhD candidate at George Washington University who studies the development of human locomotion and spends a whole lot of time looking at prehistoric footprints in Kenya and Tanzania. Join Hatala for the ongoing Human Origins Today discussion series for an open-ended Q + A session. Interested in evolution, biomechanics, gait? So is he and he’s happy to answer any and all your burning questions. 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Free. David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins, Natural History Museum.

Saturday September 1, American Trail

With its wide range of ecosystems, North America offers a dizzying range of biodiversity. But now, a walk along the coast is just a stroll along the Zoo’s newly opened American Trail. After renovations to existing habitats, including for the beavers and bald eagles, and a completely new sea lion and seal exhibit, the trail is finally open. Visitors can see wolves, pelicans and, of course, the playful seal and sea lions in their new state-of-the-art home, which includes a wave pool to mimic the ocean. Free. National Zoo.

Sunday September 2, Behind-the-Scenes Castle Tour for Members

The Smithsonian’s first and oldest building is home to a wealth of often undiscovered knowledge. Though now a vast research complex of 19 museums, libraries and research facilities, as well as the National Zoo, the Smithsonian was once just a single building. Get in-the-know with a behind-the-scenes tour that takes you to founder James Smithson’s crypt, the Secretary’s Parlor and the historic library. Many of these rooms are not open to the public but will be on view for members attending the tour. Learn about the history behind the development of the Smithsonian Institution. 9:45 a.m. Sundays. Free. Smithsonian Institution Building.

For a complete listing of Smithsonian events and exhibitions visit the goSmithsonian Visitors Guide. And download our new Visitors Guide & Tours App for both iPhone and Android. Additional reporting by Michelle Strange.

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