A Swarm of Summertime Family Fun at Exhibition of Giant BugsMorton Arboretum Visitors Become “Bug Detectives” With Fun, Informative Guide
LISLE, IL (May 20, 2008) – Parents can take advantage of a new antidote when kids get antsy for summer vacation fun. It’s the special experience of visiting the David Rogers’ Big Bugs Exhibition at The Morton Arboretum, now through July 20. The 12 gargantuan bug sculptures – built mainly of trees, dried branches, and other forest material – won’t bite, but the excitement they create is infectious!
Fact-finding through bug-finding is a blast with the Arboretum’s newest exhibition element: The Official Bug Detective Guide. Each free guide contains an Official Bug Detective Badge allowing “detectives” to make a “positive ID” of each other. The guides also feature fun word games, photographic “evidence,” and other “bug clues,” helping clever sleuths of all ages “track down” the bugs around scenic Meadow Lake and discover remarkable facts about them.
“This exhibition will engage the entire family. It will help mom, dad, and the kids see beyond the giant bug sculptures, discover the fascinating aspects of the real creatures, and learn how trees and bugs are dependent upon each other,” says Anamari Dorgan, Arboretum Manager of Interpretation and Exhibits.
After the exhibition heightens their curiosity, kids of all ages can make it a bug detective summer – continuing their fun and learning by exploring their own backyard, likely crossing paths with many of the bugs in the exhibition. To make their exploration even more intriguing, the Arboretum provides interesting facts and suggested activities via its website, www.mortonarb.org. Outdoor activity also helps kids develop a greater appreciation for trees and the natural world.
What else will children discover? Bugs are amazing: a strand of spider silk is stronger than a strand of steel of the same width. Honeybees communicate by dancing. The female praying mantids sometimes eat the males after mating. Grasshoppers can leap 20 times the length of their bodies.
Some of these facts are listed on the exhibition’s informational signs at each bug, and the creatures themselves will be hard to miss!
Making its international debut is an awesome Daddy Longlegs sculpture. At 17 feet in diameter, it weighs 450 pounds. Its body is made of willow; the eyes and long, spindly legs are red cedar.
“Daddy” has competition for “big man on campus” from Three Ants: 25-feet-long, 12-feet-wide, and 10-feet-high. Praying Mantis tips the scales at 1,200 pounds, and is carved of black locust into a sculpture that’s 18 feet by 20 feet by two feet. The other colossal creatures include Dragonfly, Damselfly, Grasshopper, Ladybug, Assassin Bug, Spider and Web, and Bee and Hive.
The fun continues in the Children’s Garden, where youngsters can step into the “Build-A-Bug Workshop,” and make their own bug and bug mask or hat to take home. Bug Festivals on designated weekends will introduce families to ladybugs, bees, and other fascinating insects through fun hands-on activities in the Children’s Garden.
The Ginkgo Restaurant offers “The Brown Bug Lunch,” - kids’ bug meals that come with a drink and a small toy.
For the whole family, there are bug-related art shows, talks, guided walks, and more, all listed at www.mortonarb.org.
Finally, the Arboretum Store offers nets, magnifying glasses, books on insects and more, providing children what they need to explore the Arboretum or their own backyard for bugs; and to develop kids’ understanding of how these fascinating creatures and trees rely upon each other for survival. There are also games and toys, such as bug bingo and insect puzzles, to further the learning process, but always in a fun way.
Families can make a day of it at the Arboretum – enjoying the beautiful tree collections from 42 countries, by hiking through 16 miles of trails; or bicycling or driving through the nine miles of paved roads. They can also “get lost” in the one acre Maze Garden, or learn about nature through play in the Children’s Garden.
The Morton Arboretum gratefully acknowledges Subaru, Contributing Sponsor of the David Rogers’ Big Bugs Exhibition.
Big Bugs is free with Arboretum admission, which is:
- $9 per person ($6 on Wednesday), ages 18-64
- $8 per person, ($5 on Wednesday), ages 65 and over
- $6 per person, ($4 on Wednesday), ages 3-17
- (Under age 3 is free)
- Parking is free.