Bugs are a Blast!Exhibition Showcasing Gargantuan Bugs At The Morton Arboretum Thrills, Inspires Learning
LISLE, IL (March 31, 2008) – You’ll be smitten, but not bitten.
Bugs are a blast if you know what they’re all about, and what they look like. You’ll have no trouble seeing David Rogers’ Big Bugs at The Morton Arboretum April 25 through July 20. Rogers’ gargantuan creations are designed to help kids discover backyard bugs. The effect is a role reversal of dimension and perception where the bugs tower above us all, instead of vice versa, according to Rogers.
These 12 sculptures are built mainly of trees, dried branches, green saplings, and other forest material. The huge bugs – one is 25-feet long – amaze all visitors, spurring youngsters to learn more about the world we share with bugs, and how they help trees.
“Many trees and insects are dependent upon each other,” says Kunso Kim, Arboretum Curator of Living Collections. “They evolved together. Insects pollinate trees, enabling them to reproduce, while the insects receive nourishment from the pollen,” Kim says.
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.
Fact-finding through bug-finding is fun. Bugs fly, wiggle, crawl, and even hop. They are colorful, come in different sizes and shapes, and have wings, antennae, and other body parts that we don’t have.
The mesmerizing exhibition provides several ways for families to help kids of all ages to become “bug detectives.” To start, they visit the Arboretum, and receive a free bug detective guide that makes it fun to take an adventurous tour of all 12 bugs around the Meadow Lake area. The guide contains a map and fun “clues” to stimulate each “detective’s” bug examinations, and encourage further exploration and learning.
The fun continues in the Children’s Garden, where youngsters can step into the “Build-A-Bug Workshop, ” daily through June 6: weekdays 1 – 4 p.m. and weekends 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., and daily June 7 through July 20: every day 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Youngsters 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 will prepare kids’ bug meals. For the whole family, there are bug-related art shows, talks, guided walks, buggy merchandise, and even an “insect orchestra.” (See the full schedule of events.)
Youngsters are then urged to continue their bug exploration by being bug detectives in their own backyard, where they will likely cross paths with many of the bugs in the exhibition. To make their exploration even more intriguing, the Arboretum provides interesting facts and interactive activities via its website, www.mortonarb.org.
The backyard exploration provides children a gateway to get back outdoors. Studies show kids today spend far too much time indoors either by playing video games, watching television, or surfing the net.
“The backyard exploration can be incredibly beneficial to children. The skills they develop, and the exercise they get while outdoors are essential to their healthy growth and development of all five senses,” says Katherine Johnson, Arboretum Children’s Garden Manager. Outdoor play also helps develop a greater appreciation for trees and the natural world.
What will children discover? Bugs may surprise them in how they make our lives better. And they’re so 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.
The Morton Arboretum gratefully acknowledges Subaru, a 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.