Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Get bugged

Sawtooth Botanical Garden presents annual bug zoo exhibit

Express Staff Writer

The Sawtooth Botanical Garden's 6th annual Bug Zoo Exhibit is a fun learning experience for all especially for Madelin Dunn. Photo by Willy Cook

The nature of education and the education of nature are best demonstrated with live exhibition, especially when it comes to bugs. The Sawtooth Botanical Garden in Ketchum takes bug education very seriously but always makes sure children and adults have a good time learning.

The sixth annual Sawtooth Botanical Garden Bug Zoo exhibit will open with the annual Bug Zoo Festival on Sunday, April 27, from 1-5 p.m. with games, crafts, snacks, a butterfly house and bug zoo exhibit. The festival is $5 for members, $7 for non-members and free for adults accompanied by children.

The bug zoo exhibition features over 40 native and exotic insects from around the world and will remain open through Saturday, May 10. Admission is free and open to the public weekdays from 2:30-5 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"This year we have borrowed a couple of green walking stick bugs from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.," said Sawtooth Botanical Garden Educational Specialist Allison Kennedy. "What's interesting is the males have wings and the females don't."

Kennedy said some very interesting exotic bugs would be present at the garden, including the beautiful yellow lubber grasshopper, which is rampant in the southeastern United States. There will also be giant African millipedes and bumblebee millipedes, which are fun for children to hold.

"We will have hissing cockroaches and silk worms," Kennedy said. "In addition there will be Monarchs and Tiger swallowtail butterflies for the butterfly house. It's a domed greenhouse converted for butterflies for the bug zoo."

As for creepy crawlies, there will be plenty of them, including 35 species of insects and spiders such as the emperor scorpion and the desert hairy scorpion, which are scary and rarely seen by people.

"This year we divided the exhibit into ecosystems," Kennedy said. "The Wood River High School Architecture Academy helped with the theme in the fall and came up with the theme 'books and movies' such as "Grouchy Ladybug, "Eliza and the Dragonfly, "Antz" and "A Bug's Life."

Last year there were 1,400 visitors to the bug zoo and for the festival day there were 300 visitors. The garden had over 1,000 kids come through for field trips.

"It's a great resource and teachers really love it," Kennedy said. "It incorporates very nicely in their curriculum."

The Sawtooth Botanical Garden is located south of Ketchum on Gimlet Road just off Highway 75. For more information, call 726-9358.

Get Buggy Night

The Sawtooth Botanical Garden will have an evening for children only on Friday, May 9, from 5:30-10 p.m. Kids will be parent-free and able to enjoy games, songs and crafts led by Enthuse 4-H teen leaders. The cost is $40 per family and dinner is included. Proceeds from Get Buggy Nights help to support the 4-H Enthuse Teen Leader Group and the Sawtooth Botanical Garden's children's programs. To register, call the garden at 726-9358.

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