Auckland for Kids visits BUG LAB at Auckland Zoo
PAST EXHIBITION – NO LONGER SHOWING
Note: The Bug Lab touring exhibition is no longer on at Auckland Zoo. The Bug Lab touring exhibition is on at the Discovery Place in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA from 8 December 2018 to 5 May 2019.
Auckland for Kids was invited to visit the new Bug Lab exhibition at Auckland Zoo in December 2017. Bug Lab is an exciting interactive science exhibition where you can see the world that bugs built. Bug Lab will appeal to the whole family. It is perfect for primary and intermediate school aged children, although older children, parents and grandparents will enjoy it too. Even kids who don’t like bugs will find this exhibition fascinating. We think that Bug Lab is a must see for Auckland children and families in the summer school holidays.
Bug Lab was created by Te Papa and Weta Workshop and their skillful design and craftmanship is apparent throughout the whole exhibition. It is a cross between a museum exhibit and a film experience complete with specially designed music and lighting to bring visitors on a journey.
Bug Lab has four magical chambers where you will meet the fascinating Orchid Mantis, Dragonfly, Japanese Honeybees and Jewel Wasp and learn their unique super power. A large-screen video on the exterior of each chamber tells the bug’s full story. Outside the chambers there are lots of interactive activities and challenges for the kids to do.
The Orchid Mantis is the fairest and deadliest of them all. The changing lights show how the mantis can easily blend into a garden of flowers so that its dinner will come right up to it. Seeing the Orchid Manits in such large scale lets the kids appreciate all the details that you don’t realise are there when you see them in life size. The kids enjoyed testing their speed to see if there reflexes were as quick as an Orchid Mantis.
The dragonfly is a flying ace. Our favourite part of Bug Lab was watching the dragonfly zoetrope where we were all mesmerised.
Japanese honey bees
The Japanese honey bees work together to overcome their enemies who are much larger than them. The honey bees are stunning to see at this scale. In the hive there is an interactive game to play where the bees are under attack and as a team you need to rub the pads to create enough heat to defeat the giant hornet and save the honey bees.
The jewel wasp is a killer brain surgeon. You enter the ‘operating theatre’ of the iridescent jewel wasp where you can learn how she turns a cockroach into a zombie – to feed the kids of course. The kids (and adults) can have a go at zombifying a coackroach too. The giant scale bugs created by Weta Workshop are so realistic that they are almost a bit scary. We left thinking we are pleased that the bugs in real life are not as big as the models.
The bombardier bettle is an genius of exoskeletons. The bombardier slide is fun, when the kids go down it simulates the gurgling.
The exhibition also features the stories of New Zealand insects like the pepetuna moth and mokoroa. There is lots to see, more than 40,000 hours of work went into creating the exhibition, and 2000 individual pieces were created for the exhibition. There are lots of hands on activities for children to enjoy in the exhibition too.
Bug Lab made me think about how fortunate Wellington is to have Weta Workshop and New Zealand’s national museum Te Papa collaborating to create exhibition. Visitors to Bug Lab can enjoy and learn from the combined skills of a museum and a film studio creating a very engaging exhibition.
The Bug Lab exhibition has closed at Auckland Zoo. The Bug Lab touring exhibition is on at the Discovery Place in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA from 8 December 2018 to 5 May 2019.