Get Buggy: 8 Museums to Learn All About Insects

Photo Credit: Insectropolis

My eight-year-old daughter, Clare, is definitely a get-in-the-dirt kind of girl. In the spring, she loves to go out into the backyard to find roly-polys and other bugs for her bug box. So I’m sure she’ll love going to a museum dedicated to all things insects. If you have little ones who are into bugs too, take a look at these eight museums around the country with a love for everything about bugs.

  • Audubon Insectarium (New Orleans, LA): Open Tuesday through Sunday, you and your kids can take in a daily cooking demonstration called Bug Appetit to sample exotic creations prepared by resident bug chefs, learn about insect courtship and life cycles in the Metamorphosis Gallery and even discover the insects that have been pivotal to the history of New Orleans.
  • Bug Museum (Bremerton, WA): Open every day, your kids can get up close and learn about millipedes, tarantulas, milkweed bugs and roly-polys. Stop by at 2 p.m. on weekends for a 45-minute educational Touch-A-Bug Workshop to learn all about why insects are good (and why not all insects are good) and how insects survive. Kids will also be allowed to hold the insects.
  • Insectarium (Philadelphia, PA): The nation’s largest insect museum, the Insectarium offers numerous educational demonstrations with loads of unusual insects. Learn about the role of insects in the ecosystem, check out a working beehive and see the natural habitats of various insects. If you live nearby, stop in Dec. 10 for “The 12 Bugs of Christmas” family sing-along.
  • Insectropolis (Toms River, NJ): Also known as the Bugseum of New Jersey, you and your kids will love this museum dedicated to, that’s right, bugs. Plan to spend at least an hour checking out hands-on exhibits, like Bug University (learn about bug basics, including taxonomy), WBUG Radio (learn how insects communicate with one another) and the Mud Tube (learn all about termites).
  • Insect Zoo (Los Angeles, CA): Located inside the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the mission of the Insect Zoo is to educate and inspire wonder about the world of insects. You and your family can check out 30 terrariums and aquariums, which are frequently updated with new insects. Plus, lots of opportunities to touch plenty of bugs.
  • O. Orkin Insect Zoo (Washington, DC): Head to the second floor of the National Museum of Natural History to observe live insects, watch a tarantula feeding demo and touch and hold the creatures on display. Take a look at this useful educators guide to help you better plan your trip to the Insect Zoo to maximize learning.
  • K-State Insect Zoo (Manhattan, KS): Take a guided tour for a chance to touch a variety of insects, including millipedes and walking sticks. You and your family can also learn from various educational exhibits, like a Tropical Nighthouse (Cave), Giant Leafcutter Ant Colony and a Tropical Rainforest.
  • Seattle Bug Safari: Have fun at this live bug zoo where you and your kids can experience the behind-the-scenes world of insects. Housing more than 50 different species of insects, you can get up close and personal with spiders, scorpions, centipedes and more. Check into the scout programs for a more in-depth look at insects, their behaviors and roles in our ecosystem.

Have you ever been to an insect museum? Or, have you been to a bug museum that’s not listed here? I’d love to hear about your experiences, so please let me know.