Welcome to the world of ‘Bugs,’ a fantastical new exhibit at Cal Academy

Prepare to be mesmerized by the wonderful world of arthropods with Bugs, a larger-than-life exhibit created by Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand and Weta Workshop, now open at California Academy of Sciences.

With ultra-detailed, larger-than-life models, video, hands-on activities, scientific specimens and immersive experiences, visitors will delight in the bizarre beauty of bugs, glimpse the world from their perspective, and learn just how they’ve evolved some of their amazing adaptations and behaviors.


A large-scale model of a beautiful orchid mantis demonstrates her dazzling camouflage in the Display chamber. (Mike O’Neill © Te Papa 2016)

Brightly colored and intricately designed models will transport you into the world of bugs, where you’ll explore the evolutionary genius of each species’ adaptations. Learn how the beautiful but deadly orchid mantis uses its deceptive display to lure prey, then tap into the power of the swarm by using teamwork to defend a Japanese honey bee hive from invading hornets. A huge, hypnotic zoetrope with 3-D printed models shows the precision flight of dragonflies as they hunt and pursue their prey.

See dozens of scientific specimens and dive deeper into groundbreaking bug science through hands-on activities. Discover the wonders of silk and explore how this incredible material is used in cutting-edge medicine and technology, and investigate bug-inspired technologies—from nanostructures to robotics to swarm intelligence. Explore the insect world through the eyes of the Māori indigenous people of New Zealand, and hear their stories of inspiration and learning from these tiny but impactful creatures.

After seeing the fascinating creatures at Bugsbe sure to check out the free-flying butterflies and live leaf-cutter ants in the Academy’s four story rainforest or say hi to the stinging species in the Venom exhibit. Plus, adults can visit Bugs after hours every Thursday night at NightLife.

Plan your trip today and meet nearly 40,000 creatures under one living roof. Every visit supports the Academy’s mission to regenerate the natural world.

// California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr. (Golden Gate Park); buy tickets at calacademy.org.

Awe-inspiring large models showcase how Japanese honeybees successfully defend their hive against a marauding hornet in the Swarms chamber. (Courtesy of Ontario Science Centre.)

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