By Sharon Kennedy Wynne
Times Staff Writer
Harry, a 3-inch-tall praying mantis and the star of New Orleans' newly opened Audubon Insectarium, is making a stop in Tampa this weekend as part of a three-week tour sponsored, oddly enough, by Terminix.
The tour de insect arrives today and will feature four days of bug races, bug cooking and a bug petting zoo at Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry.
Those brave enough also can compete in cricket spitting contests and sample insect-related dishes prepared by David George Gordon, author of The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook.
"Insects are fascinating creatures, and our world wouldn't be what it is today without them," said Tom Brackett, Terminix president.
Harry may not be aware of what Tom does for a living, but Brackett said the sponsorship came about because "as a company that has always worked to advance the awareness and understanding of insects, we hope that Harry and his friends will give parents and children a new appreciation for nature's smallest wonders."
The Audubon Insectarium is a 23,000-square-foot facility in New Orleans' historic U.S. Custom House. The venue is the largest freestanding museum of its kind in the United States and is the first major attraction to open in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina.