Eat bugs, see bugs, be like a bug at the newest museum in New Orleans

Two summers ago my son was wild about cicadas. They were everywhere, and each time he found one of their shells he put it in an empty bottle. His exuberance was the type only four-year-olds can generate

There’s a museum in New Orleans with his name on it. Not literally, the museum is called Audubon Insectarium, but it’s the kind he would LOVE. This museum is the first new tourist attraction to open since Katrina changed the landscape of much of the city and is part of Audubon Nature Institute. I found out about it through this article in the Columbus Dispatch.

The landscape inside the Audubon Insectarium is bugs, bugs and more bugs–35,000 live ones and 15,000 mounted ones–or thereabouts. As people go from exhibit to exhibit, they learn about bugs from prehistoric times through today.

Built in the historic U.S. Custom House, the museum offers entertainment and creativity in how it displays its subject matter. For example, you can get an idea of what a bug’s world looks like through reconstructed tunnels that puts you in the bug’s perspective. Outside the bathrooms, you can see dung beetles roll waste into balls. In case you’re wondering-it’s not the waste from the bathroom. There’s also a chance to test your mettle against a cricket’s power. Can you pedal as fast as a cricket can hop?

Another exhibit is devoted to showing what insects people eat around the world and how they are cooked. That sounds like an exhibit Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods would swoon over. If you want to try an insect yourself, you can try some edible bug snacks. I’ve had chocolate covered grasshoppers before. The closest thing I can think of is Nestle Crunch bars.

Also, there is a section about pest control management and a live butterfly exhibit among other offerings.

Lest you think getting rid of all insects but the pretty kind, one of the main points the museum makes is that if it weren’t for bugs, nothing else would live. Remember the lyrics to the song, “There was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly?” It’s kind of like that.

There’s Breakfast with the Bugs on July 12. Notice it’s with the bugs, not eating bugs.