Four-year-old Jake Stainbrook said grasshoppers are his favorite insects because he likes to catch them.
“But I couldn’t catch that one!”
Jake pointed to a grasshopper the size of a Volkswagen that crouched nearby. Every few minutes the huge insect made a whirring sound, leaped up on its hind legs and spread its wings.
Jake and his parents visited the Museum of Arts and Sciences Sunday to see “The World of Giant Insects!” a new exhibit of giant robotic bugs. The exhibit includes six giant insects, including two battling Atlas beetles that clank like tanks, a grunting stick insect, a squirming swallowtail caterpillar and a sinister-looking praying mantis. There are also three giant insect heads with moving mouth parts, including a mosquito head that pierces a patch of faux human skin on a regular basis.
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“The World of Giant Insects!” opened Saturday in conjunction with Bug Day, the museum’s annual entomology festival. Experts showed off their insect collections, kids made bug crafts and adventurous snackers sampled crickets.
Museum Personnel Administrator Lisa Fisher said the giant insects made Saturday’s Bug Day the most popular family event the museum has hosted in more than 10 years, drawing about 1,000 people.
Sunday’s crowd was bigger than usual as well. By 2 p.m., one hour after the museum opened, 97 visitors had arrived.
“To have cars already out that far on a Sunday is wonderful,” Fisher said. “We hope it continues like this all summer.”
The exhibit is scheduled to be on display through Oct. 10 and includes interactive displays called Bug Bytes, which are true/false statements printed on small doors.
Lifting the door reveals the answer.
For example, one Bug Byte says, “Only female bees, wasps and ants can sting.”
Naomi Lassiter and her 10-year-old son, Michael Vaughan, came from Warner Robins to see the exhibit.
Michael said the giant insects were “a little scary.”
Lassiter said, “I like the information — some of it is surprising.”
“I do not like bugs,” she said. “But learning some of the information about them makes them not so scary after all.”