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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Bug exhibit has the right creep factor



I tagged along on a recent school field trip to see MOSI's new "Bugging Out" exhibit, which just crawled in for a three-month stay, and after I stopped twitching my nose and scratching my head at the sight of thousands of swarming bugs, I gained a new respect for nature's workhorses. You can read my review here.

There's a hands-on exhibit with real ladybugs in one case, a real ant farm in another and an art center to make bug relief pictures. There's also a lovely butterfly video special effect where butterfly images flutter around and land on a kid's shadow of his head or hand until he shakes them off. On weekends there is a bug chef, cooking up crickets and mealworms for, well, meals. And there's a race track ready for bug races.

bugart.jpgBeyond the play area (that only seemed to interest our group for about 20 minutes) is the insect artistry of Jennifer Angus, right, who builds patterns and scenes with beautifully colored insects pinned directly to a wall in repeating patterns. This one impressed the adults the most, as they marveled how those bulbous cicadas we hate so much in the summer could be turned into a sunburst pattern worthy of a quilt.

What really made the trip worth it, in my view, was IMAX theater's nature documentary Bugs! A Rainforest Adventure hosted by Judi Dench. Dame Judi was an ideal voice to tell the up-close story of the life cycles of a praying mantis and a butterfly from their birth to their inevitable demise in the tropical rainforest of Borneo. The photography is stunning and  I actually found myself caring deeply about the mantis.

The bug lessons had the right impact, it seems, because I noticed the kids walking carefully around the picnic tables at lunch, for fear of stepping on a bug. They begged to visit MOSI's butterfly house next, even before the raucous Kids in Charge room.

A MOSI day isn't cheap, however. (But they do have a $5 Day coming up May 1)  Admission is $3 more than regular admission, and you get the "Bugging Out" exhibit and the IMAX movie for $23.95 for adults, seniors $21.95, kids 2-12 $19.95.

The exhibit runs through May 31, at the museum, 4801 E Fowler Ave. in Tampa; You can learn more about Angus' work at

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Thursday, March 10, 2011 12:28pm]


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