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One of the animatronic displays at the Lawrence Hall of Science

It’s a bug’s life at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley. And as it turns out, it’s not so different from yours. The Hall’s Xtreme BUGS exhibit, which opened last week, shows just how much these tiny insects can teach us about ourselves, and the world. With giant animatronic displays and insect fossils, your kids will surely be buggin’ out at this new cool exhibit.

The Exhibit:
The Xtreme BUGS exhibit occupies the whole right half of the Hall’s upper floor. And the action starts the minute you step foot inside. Two giant animatronic insects, (a tarantula and vinegaroon) basked in green and purple light, greet visitors at the entrance. From there, you can wander the hall, packed with hands-on exhibits and yes, more giant insects. Little ones will love unearthing insect fossils in a mock archeological site, and brave souls will delight in the chance to hold the real-live thing.

Winding to the right, you enter Pauley hall, which has been transformed into a home for a dozen more animatronic insects. Those include a butterfly, a scorpion and a cockroach that you definitely wouldn’t want to run into in a darkened alley. Several of these displays are interactive; you can use one of the iPads provided to see the insects in various life stages and habitats. Don’t forget to check out the project tables located throughout the hall.

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Make-your-own lady bug craft table

More than Meets the Eye:
Bugs are a crucial part of the earth’s ecosystem. The Xtreme BUGS exhibit shows the many roles these tiny creatures play and just how much we depend on and learn from them. Did you know scientists were able to uncover many key facts about human genetics by studying the fruit fly? UC Berkeley students and scientists are continuing such research. They’ve collaborated with the Hall to create some one-of-a-kind exhibits.

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One of the animatronic displays at the Lawrence Hall of Science

Good To Know:
Many of the large-scale models move and make sound effects.  And with some over 15 feet tall, this can be a little overwhelming for some more sensitive children. However, there is plenty to do and see for children of all ages, though we found that the ideal age range for this exhibit is 4-10 years old. Expect to spend an hour in the BUGS exhibit, and an additional 1-2 hours exploring the remainder of the Hall.

The Lawrence Hall of Science is open everyday from 10 a.m. -5 p.m. The Xtreme BUGS exhibit is included in the regular admission price: $17/Adults;  $14/ages 7-18 and 65 and up; $11/kids 3-6; free children under 3 are free. Xtreme BUGS will be on display until September 1.

1 Centennial Dr #5200
Berkeley, Ca 94720
510-642-5132
Online: lawrencehallofscience.org

“Like” this story if you plan to visit this new exhibit and then let us know in the comment section below all about your trip!

— Melissa Bouse