Top 6: Bug and Insect Museums

Museums are still the best destinations to discover the marvels of the human age from art and design to history and technology. Bugs and insects also have their piece of the knowledge gathering pie. Here are six bug and insect museums too exciting to miss.

6. Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion
Fun for science lovers of all ages, the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion is home to thousands of species of butterflies, arachnids, bees, and tropical plants. From exhibits that mirror tropical rain forest environments to an all-encompassing peek inside the metamorphosis of a butterfly inside their chrysalis chamber, the exhibits are designed by entomologists and reviewed by teachers to offer an entertaining and accurate interactive insect experience.

5. U.S. National Tick Collection
As annoying and troublesome as ticks are to you and your pets, they still must be categorized and studied. Since 1990, The U.S. National Tick Collection on the campus of Georgia Southern University has been a vital resource patronized by public health organizations in their ongoing research in studying the pathology of ticks and the diseases attributed to them. Comprised of over a million tick specimens from across the world and a vast catalog of tick books and research data, it is the leading destination for knowledge on the parasite.

4. Bohart Museum ​of Entomology
Free to the public, the University of California, Davis Bohart Museum ​of Entomology is open to the public and an active work site in researching and documenting bugs and insects. Containing more than seven million specimens of land and water arthropods, it ranks at the seventh largest insect collection in the United States and offers interactive sessions where visitors can handle samples and discover their inner entomologist.

3. Insectropolis
Lovingly called “The Bugseum of New Jersey,” the Insectropolis is an interesting view into the lives of bugs and insects. The perfect destination for school field trips and adult exploration, themed exhibits document the inner workings of termites, tarantula tactics, and insect warfare. And if you can’t make it the museum, they also have an outreach program to bring the displays to interested facilities for onsite presentations. On-demand bugs. Wow!

2. Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
The nation’s largest bug and insect museum is in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium is a shrine to arthropods and offers hands-on exhibits to get visitors engaged and interactive with the bugs and insects we typically shy away from. A large den housing an “immersion theater” puts you in the shoes of an insect in the wild amongst the tall grass and threatened by trapdoor spiders and birds. An indoor butterfly garden echoes the beauty of these flyers while you can handle the delicate caterpillars they emerged from during their metamorphosis.

1. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Lastly, we couldn’t top out our list without naming the bug museum we’re most proud of (and a bit biased about), the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The Washington, D.C. institution is not only the premier destination for marvels of natural history but also the home of our O. Orkin Insect Zoo. Yes, we have a museum exhibit you can visit that echoes our fascination and tireless work in the world of bugs and insects. Visitors can handle and work with live insects, attend tarantula feeding demonstrations, and journey through millions of years of insect evolution via engaging videos and photographs. Hope to see you there!

“Insectarium” Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion
“The U.S. National Tick Collection (USNTC)” Georgia Southern University
“UC Davis Bohart Museum ​of Entomology” Bohart Museum ​of Entomology
“Insectropolis” Insectropolis
“Audubon Nature Institute” Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
“Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History” O. Orkin Insect Zoo

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