My son has become fascinated with bugs this summer which makes it the perfect time to visit The Academy of Natural Sciences! Last year, he might have gotten bitten by entomology when we visited Bug Fest. I was thrilled to learn that The Academy would host the Xtreme Bugs exhibit which focuses on these creatures. It highlights 20 massive and colorful animatronic bugs that make learning fun and engaging. An exhibit like Xtreme Bugs removes the stigma and fear associated with these creatures to replace it with knowledge, appreciation and understanding.
Mommy University Presents Favorite Spaces at Xtreme Bugs
Xtremely Cool Bugs
The most awesome feature of this unique exhibit is the numerous animatronic bugs that are the size of a small pony. Once you enter the space, children will be greeted by a Leaf Cutter Ant and a Seven Spotted Ladybug. While I am perfectly happy ignoring any size of a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, my favorite was the Firefly. My kids, however, were fascinated with the African Fat-Tailed Scorpion and the Orchid Mantis.
Live Animal Demonstrations
On Wednesdays and on weekends at 11:45am, invertebrates will be on display in the Xtreme Bugs space. We were lucky to see an actual Vinegaroon which is cool because it is also one of the animatronic bugs in the exhibit. The best part is that kids can ask questions and see the diversity of bugs firsthand. Don’t be surprised if the Carts of Curiosities located around the Academy are focused on bugs as well. Before we entered the temporary exhibit we were able to hold an arthropod and investigate how scorpions glow when a flashlight is beamed at them.
Is it called mimicry if the kids dress up as bugs? Probably not, but we can certainly call it fun. At the Extreme Bugs exhibit, kids have access to a lot of costumes to try on and pretend to be whatever six (or eight) legged creature they want.
Solve a Puzzle
The massive wall display asks children to pick up magnetic bugs and place them in the appropriate ecosystem. Where do pollinators thrive? Where do decomposers live? Where do stick bugs belong? Children can test their knowledge of what they are learning while also enhancing visual-motor and problem solving skills!
Dig it Up
In the back of the exhibit space is a table where kids can use brushes to locate fossils of bugs! As much as my kids are getting older, I forget how relaxing it is for them to play with a sensory table like this and still learn.
This new exhibit at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University runs until January 21, 2019 offering a whole new experience for families to enjoy together. This is the perfect place to explore this summer as families will bug out over all the immersive experiences. Don’t forget to also check out the butterflies and insects on display at Outside In which are both perfect complements to this engaging space.
By Monica Atkins
This post was first published July 22 at MommyUniversityNJ.com.