The Smithsonian Biology Conservation Institute, formerly named the National Zoo Conservation & Research Center, is a program of the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park that started primarily as a breeding center for endangered birds and mammals. Today, the 3,200-acre facility, located in Front Royal, Virginia, houses between 30 and 40 endangered species. Research facilities include a GIS lab, endocrine and gamete labs, veterinary clinic, radio tracking lab, 14 field stations, and biodiversity monitoring plots, as well as a conference center, dormitories, and education offices.
Scientists at the Smithsonian Biology Conservation Institute work on extensive programs in Reproductive Sciences and Conservation Biology. Their research pertains to the conservation of endangered species and ecosystems locally, nationally, and around the world. The primary goals of the research are to save wildlife, save habitat, and restore species to the wild. The program also promotes international training in conservation leadership. More than 2,700 government officials and conservation and wildlife managers from 80 nations have been trained by the staff in wildlife and habitat conservation methods, monitoring techniques, and policy and management skills.
The Smithsonian Biology Conservation Institute is located two miles southeast of the town of Front Royal, Virginia, on U.S. Hwy. 522 South (Remount Road).
The facility is open to the public once a year for the Autumn Conservation Festival. Visitors have the opportunity to interact with world-famous scientists one-on-one and learn about their fascinating research. Admission includes behind-the-scenes looks at endangered animals, live music, and special activities for children. The event is held rain or shine.