Exhibition Overview

What is Xtreme BUGS?

Enveloped in the larger-than-life landscape of Xtreme BUGS, you will be transported into a vivid, dynamic and awe-inspiring new environment. Surrounded by giant, larger-than-life animatronic insects, this up-close look at the bizarre physical characteristics of bugs and the science behind their mind-boggling behaviors will inspire, surprise and educate you and your family.

Xtreme BUGS taps into the natural visceral discomfort many of us experience when we think about bugs. These tiny creatures have an amazing ability to make us squirm – our skin crawls and a sense of foreboding arises. You are invited to walk through the lens of a bug’s eye and shift their perspective from “ew” to “awe” about the fascinating little creatures that share our ecosystem.

Any creature in large numbers can be scary: a murder of crows, or a stampede of buffalo, for example. Swarms of bugs are especially unnerving – just ask anyone who has found themselves in a cloud of mosquitos!

But for tiny creatures like bugs, gathering in mass populations is a matter of life and death. Bugs come together in Xtreme Populations to survive. Ladybugs stack together by the millions to hibernate and stay warm through the winter. Dragonflies assemble and travel amazing distances on the jet stream to find suitable climates for each stage in its life cycle. Xtreme BUGS explores the science of survival and the many ways bugs rely on mass populations to serve their needs.

Xtreme BUGS seeks to educate the guest on the Xtreme nature of bugs that we may not often consider. By exploring why bugs look and behave as they do, Xtreme BUGS offers a new way of seeing the tiny creatures we often consider pests.

Bugs have a critical role to play in our environments. Bees pollinate more than a third of all crops for human consumption. Spiders provide some of the best pest control for the common household.

By sending you into an environment where the bugs are larger than we are, the experience invites fresh perspectives. The exaggerated size of each animatronic model offers an up-close look at the bizarre structures, features and physical characteristics of these (usually) tiny creatures.

Not only are the bugs larger-than-life, so are their naturalistic settings. You will experience how the world would appear from a bug’s eye view. Vibrant backdrops illustrate bug habitats found around the world. From a dewy rainforest floor to the expanse of sub-Saharan Africa, a gentle meadow to a boggy burrow, each giant, moving bug is surrounded by exhibition elements like giant mushroom caps and blades of grass.

Engaging interpretive content weaves together the science behind each bug’s amazingly Xtreme capabilities. From dragonflies that can see in almost every direction at once, to Orb Weaver spiders with silk as strong as steel and Leaf-Cutter ants that can carry 50 times their own body weight, the experience delivers a series of memorable discoveries.

what will you learn?

  • The story of superorganisms: Ants, bees, and wasps are known for their ability to act as a team to achieve a “win” for the entire colony. This enables them to survive in the same way a single organism would.
  • The story of insect migration: The entire population of some butterflies, dragonflies and moths travel astounding distances in response to changes in their environment such temperature, food or precipitation.
  • The story of insect hibernation (diapause): Even insects need to survive the winter. Similar to the sleep-like state of animal hibernation, true survive hostile conditions by entering a state called diapause. Colonies of 40,000,000 ladybugs practice communal hibernation by stacking on top of each other to share heat.
  • The story of emergent behavior. Sometimes swarms of bugs seem to emerge out of thin air, but science shows it’s actually the result of a complex communication system about food, water, weather or mates.
  • The story of solitary predators. While most bugs rely on Xtreme Populations to survive, many spiders and scorpions are actually solitary predators with Xtreme survival skills. But, there’s an exception to every rule.