Bugging Out at Academy of Natural Sciences
Admittedly, my first reaction upon seeing most insects is to scream. I have had a longstanding belief that creatures with more than four legs should not exist-that is until Bug Fest! The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University hosts a two day event every August that celebrates insects called Bug Fest which educates visitors and has reshaped my understanding of them.
Each floor at The Academy has creepy crawlers. While each space may have bugs, they are actually not scary. Under the T. Rex are baby Praying Mantis as well as beetles! Each time you walk past the Auditorium, there is another program to attract your eye whether it is cooking with bugs or finding bugs with a canine. Upstairs, kids are making crafts, listening to story time or just observing unique and rare creatures. It is easy to understand why this has become a phenomenal annual celebration!
Bugs Out at Bug Fest
While this activity was incredibly simple, it will have one of the most lasting memories as we were led outside to Logan Square to go on a Bug Walk. Armed with a net, a vacuum and a square white cloth, we watched different techniques to find creatures in our backyard as well as learned interesting facts about each of them. This activity helps demystify bugs and develop an appreciation as well.
Observe Unique Creatures
The floors are filled with insects. Some tables have display cases of bees, butterflies and cicadas while others have live creatures that inspire your imagination. My favorite was the beetles like the rhinoceros beetle or the atlas beetle. You can watch Praying Mantis, Cicadas or Crickets. If your children or you have questions, the experts are there to answer them!
At Bug Fest, you don’t create the Jackson Pollock inspired paintings but the bugs take over this unique task. You can choose cockroaches or maggots to create these pieces of art that you can take home and hang on the wall.
Swallow a Bug
If you watched Indiana Jones, you might remember him eating insects. I am not talking about chocolate covered ants which have been highlighted on the cooking channel or scorpion lollipops which are actually sold in the Gift Shop at the Academy. At Bug Fest, we learned different bugs that can be consumed and recipes. In the main auditorium, we watched a cooking competition that offered insight, information and humor. Afterwards, we tasted crickets. Yes, I tasted a cricket. Needless to say that bucket list item will not be repeated.
There is so much to do at Bug Fest that while we missed the Cockroach Races and a few other activities, we had a fabulous time. More importantly, my family has a new perspective on insects. We are intrigued by these creatures even if their life cycle may inspire a science fiction movie. The Academy of Natural Science hosts Bug Fest in August and the activities are included with General Admission. I strongly recommend attending this event and remember you don’t have to eat the crickets unless you feel inclined.