Seven giant animatronic insects will descend on the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse next month for a summer-long exhibit on the zoo’s Wildlife Trail. The immense invertebrates will inhabit the wooded section of the trail from mid-June through Labor Day, presented by the Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. The exhibit will open with a special preview at the zoo’s Member Appreciation Night on June 12.
The BIG BUGS! exhibit comes a year after the Friends brought “Dinosaur Invasion: 101 Days of Dinosaurs” to the zoo for the summer of 2018. Friends of the Zoo President Janet Agostini said the dinosaurs were so popular that the Friends wanted to offer another exciting summer exhibit this year.
“The bugs will serve the same mission of educating our younger guests about science, nature and the amazing diversity of wildlife while adding an extra element of excitement to the wooded section of our Wildlife Trail,” Agostini said.
The featured creatures include orb-web spider, Madagascan sunset moth, blue-eyed darner dragonfly, red-tailed bumblebee, seven-spotted ladybug, a water-spraying bombardier beetle and a very imposing grasshopper.
“We thought placing them on the wooded section of the Wildlife Trail would create a really out-of-the-ordinary environment where you can appreciate insects on a new level,” Agostini said.
Zoo Director Ted Fox said the BIG BUGS! exhibit presents opportunities to educate visitors about the importance of insects, from their role in the food chain to vital jobs such as pollination and decomposition.
“It’s a great prompt for us to talk about invertebrates — animals that have no backbone — from worms to insects to marine creatures like our Giant Pacific octopus,” he said. “Seeing these larger-than-life bugs is really impressive and also helps connect people to nature, which is part of our mission as an accredited zoo.”
Updates on the BIG BUGS! exhibit will be posted at syracusezooevents.org/big-bugs and on the zoo’s social media. Information on how to become a zoo member is at www.syracusezooevents.org/members.
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is one of 233 institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), which requires its members to meet the highest standards of animal care, wildlife conservation, education and guest experience. For more information on AZA, visit www.aza.org.