Who, What, Where, Now!
Sawtooth Botanical Garden Welcomes Spring with the Bug Zoo
Photography by Hailey Tucker
The Sawtooth Botanical Garden welcomed the month of May with the opening of its 9th Annual Bug Zoo and Festival. The Zoo offered an educational glimpse into the life of bugs with more than 25 different species of insects present for children and adults to watch, read about and sometimes even touch.
The exhibit and festival on Sunday were packed with families oohing and aahing as they made their way through the various sections. Festival activities included face painting, cupcake decorating and an adopt-a-bug station along with other insect-themed activities.
Allison Marks, Sawtooth Botanical Garden education director, said there were numerous new bugs added to the exhibit this year. Some of the new insects included Bean beetles, Black and Red grasshoppers, the Orb-weaver spider, Milkweed bugs and a Black Widow.
Marks said they buy most of the bugs from the Carolina Biological Supply Company and then pick them up in the mail a few days before the exhibit begins.
“They just come FedEx,” Marks said with a laugh.
The Garden also receives a few from Arizona and then digs the rest up out of the Garden’s greenhouse, Marks said. And, unlike a regular zoo, once the exhibit ends, children are allowed to “adopt” the bugs and take them home as pets. Everything from the beetles to the tarantula goes.
Marks said education is the main goal of the Zoo. And with Garden employees and volunteers standing around almost every corner to help teach children about the bugs, the exhibit was educational for most of the adults in the room as well. Not only could visitors see bugs up-close that are usually only seen scurrying across the floor, but also every table offered factoids and a wealth of information on each insect.
“A lot of these kids are just learning to observe, and I think that learning to look is fundamental to learning about science and nature. So I hope kids will learn to look a little bit closer after coming to the Bug Zoo,” Marks said.
Marks said the turnout has continued to increase every year at the Zoo and that while she loved seeing returning visitors, she was very excited to see new faces as well.
Marks said the Garden loves putting the Bug Zoo on and is thankful for the community’s support of the festival over the years.
The Bug Zoo exhibit will remain open at the Garden daily until May 14, 2011. Weekdays, visitors can see the Zoo anytime from 1:30 to 5 p.m., and on weekends, it will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Entry is free, although donations are encouraged.
For more information on the Sawtooth Botanical Garden or their up-coming kid’s summer camps, visit www.sbgarden.org/index.html.