Mexican red knee tarantula

Big Bugs! to Invade the Minnesota Zoo Next Summer (2014)

In keeping with its tradition of providing a BIG summer experience, the Minnesota Zoo has announced a first-of-its-kind exhibit for summer 2014 – Big Bugs! Thirteen super-sized, animatronic bugs will invade the Zoo’s Northern Trail along with a live bug display and several fun, interactive elements. This FREE exhibit (with paid Zoo admission) will showcase a bug’s life and why they are important.   

In keeping with its tradition of providing a BIG summer experience, the Minnesota Zoo has announced a first-of-its-kind exhibit for summer 2014 – Big Bugs! Thirteen super-sized, animatronic bugs will invade the Zoo’s Northern Trail along with a live bug display and several fun, interactive elements. This FREE exhibit (with paid Zoo admission) will showcase a bug’s life and why they are important.   

The larger-than-life bugs, a new feature of Billings Productions of Allen, Texas move through the use of pneumatics, systems operated by compressed air. Some of the bugs are interactive, including the pincer-controlling stag beetle and the water-spraying bombardier beetle.    

Big Bugs! Lineup
Black Ants
Bombardier Beetle
Giant Devil’s Flower Mantis
Madagascan Sunset Moth
Orb-Weaver Spider
Say’s Firefly Stag Beetle   
Blue-Eyed Darner Dragonfly
Emperor Scorpion
Meadow Grasshopper
Mexican Red-kneed Tarantula
Red-tailed Bumblebee
Seven-spot Ladybird Beetle   

Big Bugs! at the Minnesota Zoo will run Memorial Weekend through Labor Day, 2014, and is made possible with support from the Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment.

Big Bugs! Fun Facts

  • Ants can lift and carry as much as 50 times their own weight.
  • Beetles account for close to a quarter of all known species of plants and animals.
  • One of every three bites of food we eat is produced by pollinating insects. Bees pollinate many of our vegetables, fruits and nuts.
  • The Madagascan sunset moth is admired for its beautiful iridescent wings. The amazing colors are not produced by pigment, but instead, light is split into different colors by thousands of scales on the moth’s wings, similar to how a rainbow is formed.
  • Dragonflies have excellent vision due to their huge, multifaceted compound eyes. Each facet in the eye perceives light in a slightly different way.
  • Young dragonfly larvae are voracious predators and great swimmers, living exclusively in the water until they emerge as flying adults.
  • The Mexican red-kneed tarantula can defend itself by flicking irritating hairs from its abdomen into the eyes of a predator.
  • Dragonflies are predatory, and can easily consume 30 or more mosquitoes a day!
  • The fearsome looking ‘antlers’ on a stag beetle are actually its jaws, which it uses in wrestling matches.
  • To defend itself, the bombardier beetle sprays a combination of chemical compounds that are highly irritating when mixed. The chemical reaction boils inside the beetle’s body and explodes out of it in a controlled stream, without harming the beetle. 

About the Minnesota Zoo
The Minnesota Zoo is located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America and is open year-round. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). For more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnzoo.org.