Becoming Wild, A Morning for Families, Raptor Day

Ecologist Carl Safina: What Animal Cultures Can Teach Humans

Carl Safina, a MacArthur “genius” prize-wining ecologist and author, will speak on the dynamics of animal intelligence and the cultural lives of animals on Thursday, October 13, at 7:00 pm in the Vanderbilt’s Reichert Planetarium.

Safina’s lecture will draw heavily from his years of field research and from his acclaimed 2020 book Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace (Picador). In that book, Safina explores how new research in the fields of animal intelligence and emotion transforms our understanding of animal behavior and inspires us to think about the dynamics of non-human cultures.

“Culture,” Safina explains, “is information that flows socially and can be learned, retained, and shared.” Building on reports from his travels with leading wildlife and conservation biologists, his lecture will focus on three special species—sperm whales, scarlet macaws, and chimpanzees—with cultural habits that are as thought-provoking as they are remarkable.

As Safina guides us through these encounters with the inner- and social lives of animals, we might take several lessons from our non-human neighbors. In doing so, the hope is that we are compelled to become more considerate stewards of the natural world. Most importantly, we will be moved to ask, “who are our traveling companions in the journey of this planet—who are we here with?”

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Becoming Wild was named a best book of the year by The New York Times, Kirkus Reviews, and Christian Science Monitor. It also won the 2021 Nautilus Book Award in the category of animals and nature.

Carl Safina’s work has been recognized with MacArthur, Pew, and Guggenheim Fellowships, and his writing has won Orion, Lannan, and National Academies literary awards and the John Burroughs, James Beard, and George Rabb medals. He has a Ph.D. in ecology from Rutgers University.

Safina is the inaugural holder of the endowed chair for nature and humanity at Stony Brook University, where he co-chairs the steering committee of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and is the founding president of the not-for-profit Safina Center. He hosted the 10-part PBS series Saving the Ocean.

Vanderbilt Annual ‘Morning for Families’

The Vanderbilt will present its annual A Morning for Families event on Saturday, October 15, from 9:00, am to 12:00 pm. Admission is free, but advance registration is required. The event is exclusively for people with special needs and their families.

Free Registration


Spend the morning exploring the collections, grounds, gardens, architecture, and the Reichert Planetarium’s “Open Sky.” Activities include a preserved specimen touch table and crafts.

For more information contact Beth Laxer-Limmer at 631-854-5552 or

Lecture and Book Launch: ‘The Leak’

Robert P. Crease Examines Scientific Trust and Political Fallout

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum will host Robert P. Crease, author and philosopher of science, for an evening lecture on public trust in scientific institutions on Thursday, October 27.

Crease’s lecture will serve as a book launch for his latest publication, The Leak: Politics, Activists, and Loss of Trust at Brookhaven National Laboratory (The MIT Press), co-authored with former BNL Director Peter D. Bond. In The Leak, Crease reconstructs the events of 1997, when scientists discovered a small leak of radioactive water near the laboratory’s research reactor. He details how, despite posing no threat to public safety, the discovery sparked public outrage; drew the attention of politicians, activists, actors, and supermodels; and threatened the existence of the national laboratory.

Crease’s narrative retelling of “the leak’s” fallout offers a timely reflection on the gaps that still exist between social, political, and media understandings of science and, in doing so, examines how our institutions can build better trust with the publics they serve.

The lecture will take place at 7:00 pm in the Museum’s Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium. Tickets are available online at the Museum’s website. Members have FREE admission.

Copies of The Leak will be available for pre-order through the Museum’s gift shop.

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Robert P. Crease is the Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Stony Brook University, where he has taught for more than three decades. His research in phenomenology, the philosophy of science, and aesthetics has influenced countless scholars and helped bridge the gap between the arts and sciences. He has published, edited, or translated 16 books, including The Workshop and the World: What Ten Thinkers Can Teach Us about Science and Authority and World in the Balance: The Historic Quest for an Absolute System of Measurement. In 2021, Crease received the William Thomson, Lord Kelvin Medal and Prize for his contributions in explaining scientific ideas to humanities scholars.

Raptor Day: Meet Live, Rescued Birds Up Close

Raptor Day: The Bald Eagles of Centerport will be presented at the Vanderbilt on Saturday, October 8, in identical sessions – at 10:00 and 11:00 am and 1:00 and 3:00 pm. The event, which will benefit WINORR – Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation – and the Vanderbilt Museum will be held rain or shine in the Vanderbilt Celebration Tent. The event also will support Museum programs.

This one-of-a-kind event will feature a live exhibit of rescued raptors, with a bald eagle, golden eagle, owls, hawks, and more. WINORR houses the birds and rehabilitates them. This is an opportunity for visitors of all ages to get an up-close look at these magnificent birds that no longer can be released into the wild. Bring your camera!

The event includes activities for children, vendors, raffles, and the showing throughout the day of a short movie about the Bald Eagles of Centerport.

Tickets: adults $20, children 12 and under $10. Members: adults $10, children $5. All tickets include general admission to the Museum.

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JoyRide: Dave Matthews Tribute Band Returns 

JoyRide: A Dave Matthews Celebration will return to perform at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum on Saturday, October 8, from 7:00 to 10:00 pm, rain or shine. (If it rains, the band will play in the Vanderbilt’s large Celebration Tent.)

JoyRide’s seven musicians recreate the experience of a live Dave Matthews Band (DMB) show, complete with violin and horns. The group’s goal is to recreate the experience of a DMB live show, complete with violin and horns. DMB fans know their concerts are musical journeys filled with tight musicianship, extended jams, and fun.

Tickets: $30 in advance; $40 at the door; members $30 (online or at the door). BYO chair and picnic. Doors open at 6:00.

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JoyRide fans say the band’s performances are the next best thing to actually being at a DMB show. JoyRide will play all the hits that the casual DMB listener will be familiar with, as well as the deep tracks that hardcore fans know and love.

JoyRide originated in New Jersey, quickly gained a reputation for energetic shows, and became a sought-after act by venues still able to provide live music. Fans are amazed by how faithfully JoyRide reproduces both the music and live experience of DMB.

Seasonal Fun: ‘Mr. Vanderbilt’s Spooky Science Lab’

The Vanderbilt Museum Education Department will offer Mr. Vanderbilt’s Spooky Science Lab, a program for children in grades 2-5 on Friday, October 21, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.

Join us for some creepy fun! We’re turning off the lights for a scavenger hunt in the collections galleries and will create jars that can be used in any spooky Halloween display.

Registration is online only. Cost: $20 / $18 for members. For more information, call 631-854-5552.


“Kids love exploring the collections in the dark with flashlights,” said Beth Laxer-Limmer, associate director of education. “They notice things they might usually miss – like a hawk’s hooked beak or the spines on a sea urchin.”

Another ‘Thankful Thursday’: A Gift from BAE Systems

The Vanderbilt Museum & Reichert Planetarium invite you to enjoy a FREE, family-friendly planetarium show on Thursday, October 6. The evening is the second in a series of Thankful Thursdays, made possible by generous funding from BAE Systems.

Stars: The Powerhouses of the Universe will be shown at 7:00 pm. Journey to the farthest reaches of the galaxy and experience both the awesome beauty and destructive power of stars. This exciting program is narrated by actor Mark Hamill, who portrayed Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.

Online registration is required.


After the show, the Vanderbilt Observatory will be open to the public. An astronomy educator will invite guests to look through a telescope at the night sky (weather permitting).

‘Storytime Under the Stars’ for Children Returns

The Vanderbilt Museum’s Storytime Under the Stars program, the second in a series, will be offered on Sunday, October 30, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. A live narrator will be at the front of the theater reading selected picture books, with pages projected onto the Planetarium dome for families to enjoy the illustrations and follow along.

Between stories, an astronomy educator will explore seasonal constellations visible from here on Long Island. All children are invited to wear their comfiest pajamas and bring their favorite stuffed animals. The admission fee is $8 per person and $6 for members.

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Erin Bennett, Planetarium Education Coordinator, said, “Storytime Under the Stars brings classic storybooks to life, and will introduce families to new favorites, too. We’re excited to revitalize this popular planetarium program using our state-of-the-art digital projectors. Join us for a magical and memorable night out with the whole family.”

See Classic Porsches, Studebakers at Vanderbilt

The Porsche Club of America (Metropolitan New York) and the Studebaker Driver’s Club (Long Island Chapter) will show classic automotive designs in upcoming car shows at the Vanderbilt Museum. Cars will be displayed on the estate grounds with a spectacular view of Northport Bay.

The Porsche club will hold its first Oktoberfest Concours on Sunday, October 2, from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. The band Die Spitzbuam will be playing Oktoberfest favorites.

The Studebaker club show is set for Sunday, October 9, from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Visitors pay only general Museum admission. There is no extra charge to attend the car shows. Adults $10; seniors (62 plus) and students with ID $9; children 12 and under $7.

Walk & Talk Tours: Architectural Details, Famous Ironwork

Come for an intriguing walking tour of the Vanderbilt Estate with knowledgeable Museum educators. Learn about the history of the Eagle’s Nest estate; Warren & Wetmore’s design and exterior architectural details of the 24-room Spanish Revival mansion; and the striking ironwork of Samuel Yellin, considered the greatest iron artisan of the early 20th century.

The next Walk and Talk Tour, created by the Vanderbilt Education Department will be Saturday, October 22.

Tickets, which include general admission, are available for purchase only at the door: Adults $16, seniors/students $15, children under 12 $13, and Members FREE.

Beth Laxer-Limmer, associate director of education, said, “The grounds are beautiful at this time of year and the walking tour is a perfect way to be introduced to the history of the estate and collections. There is an abundance of beauty in the eclectic architecture and the unique details that reflect William Vanderbilt’s interests.”

William K. Vanderbilt II (1878-1944) spent summers at his Eagle’s Nest estate and mansion on Northport Bay between 1910 and 1944. He and his wife, Rosamond, hosted intimate gatherings and entertained well-known guests, such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Pierre Cartier, Conde Nast, Charles Lindbergh, and the Tiffanys. Eagle’s Nest is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Vanderbilt Bricks Mark Milestones, Memories

Celebrate your family, a loved one, a special anniversary, or other milestones and memories by sponsoring a commemorative brick with a custom engraving. Your donation will help the Vanderbilt Museum to bring outstanding science, history, and art education to more than 25,000 students annually.

Your message will be displayed permanently in one of the brick walkways around the Vanderbilt Mansion and Terrace, or on the grounds of the beautiful waterfront Estate.

For more information, call Debbie Stacel at 631-854-5579, or email:

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