As I shared on my Instagram page a few weeks ago, bugs and I haven’t always been friends. We have been up close and personal, but more in a “my sister is trying to torture me by throwing worms in my hair” kind of way. Well, thankfully all of that has changed because of the Field Museum’s newest (and coolest!) exhibit, Fantastic Bug Encounters. Through this interactive and eye popping exhibit, you will see and undoubtedly appreciate bugs in a new way. Here’s a sneak peek (I don’t want to share too much because it is THAT good) of Fantastic Bug Encounters at the Field Museum.
This post is sponsored by the Field Museum. All opinions are my own.
Take On A New Perspective
Did anyone else love “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” when they were young? Well, as a parent the thought of that happening is absolutely terrifying, but when you check out the Fantastic Bug Encounters exhibit at the Field Museum, you basically get to shrink down to the size of a bug and see the world from their perspective.
While there are tons of additional activities, the focus of the Fantastic Bug Encounters exhibit is four interactive (and Instagrammable) chambers that bring you face to face with life sized animatronic bugs. Upon entering each chamber, you are told a story and truly engrained in the action, whether you are testing your reflexes against the orchid mantis, racing dragonflies, or taking part in a Japanese Honey Beetle battle.
As for the Jewel Wasp who I would swat away if I saw her when out and about with my family? Well, she’s the ultimate mom. Why? Because she zombifies her prey so that she can have living food for her young. And I thought constantly supplying snacks for my boys was annoying…
Explore “Hands On” Learning
So many museums claim to have “interactive” exhibits that solely involve pushing buttons to highlight technical terms that you need a PhD to understand. But not at the Field Museum. The Fantastic Bug Encounters exhibit has hands on learning for absolutely EVERYONE, from active little kids who will love going down the slides and listening to the unique noises that bugs make, to curious minds who want to use magnifying lenses to explore anything and everything.
I especially loved how after walking through each chamber, there were opportunities to showcase what you learned through games and hands on activities, as well as ways to talk to the experts—whether on the phone or in person!
And of course, where else can you go to experience a LIVE BUG ZOO? Yes, that’s right, at the end of the Fantastic Bug Encounters exhibit you can get up close and personal to Earth’s biggest superheroes (or you can make someone else do it while you take pictures—which is my signature move). There are 17 million insects in the Field Museum’s collections, much more than the number of residents in Illinois!
The Field Museum staff was so incredibly knowledgeable and patient with all of the guests during my media preview and taught me so incredibly much (I mean, did you know the difference between millipedes and centipedes that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the number of legs?!?!) and I can’t wait to go back and learn more about the bugs that play dead and can breathe underwater.
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One of the reasons why the Fantastic Bug Encounters Exhibit is so stunning and dramatic is because of the lighting. The room is dark and the different displays are lit up in colorful and creative ways, designed by the talented Weta Workshop. With that being said, if your small children are afraid of the dark, I would leave them at home or in a different part of the museum with a caregiver.
Strollers are not allowed, so I highly recommend baby wearing (such a great way to keep a baby soothed in a foreign environment as well) and noise cancelling headphones since some of the interactive chambers can be loud.
Be sure to bring your iPhone and camera, but remember to leave the flash off (especially around the Live Bug Zoo). You will still be able to get phenomenal pictures thanks to the strategic lighting throughout the exhibit—check out my Instagram feed for inspiration!
Take your time! There is so much to see, explore, and learn throughout the Fantastic Bug Encounters exhibit. I spent an hour on my own and only scratched the surface. So don’t feel like you have to race through everything. Take your time, go back to your favorite part, keep asking the Field Museum staff questions, and of course, take part in the fun interactive activities.
Remember, even if you can’t handle bugs in your house—you can most definitely handle them (literally AND figuratively) at the new Fantastic Bug Encounters exhibit at the Field Museum now through April 2020!
For my tips for navigating free museum days, click here.