Visitors to the Science Center of Iowa might feel like they’ve been hit by the shrink ray in the movie "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids." An exhibit opening today called Backyard Monster offers a bug’s-eye view of the world. Center spokeswoman Sally Dix says it puts visitors face-to-antenna with a host of huge, robotic insects.
Dix says there is a giant paper wasp, a beautiful 20-foot wide monarch butterfly that flaps its wings, and an 11-foot tomato caterpillar. She says people will feel as if they’ve been miniaturized in the oversized backyard setting where blades of grass are as large as trees and insects are gigantic.
Dix says there are interactive exhibits along with each giant bug, so kids can pull ropes to see how the muscles of a bee work to flap their wings, or too see how certain bugs make noises. She says folks should be on the lookout for two fighting atlas beetles, a tarantula and even a giant scorpion that’s prepared to strike its prey.
Dix says it will be a fun exhibit but kids will also get the chance to see that insects aren’t necessarily all that scary and there are plenty of interesting facts to learn about them. She says each figure contains a system of animated robotics that enables it to display lifelike movements like moving heads, flapping wings and creeping legs.
An extensive insect specimen collection is included with the exhibition that features real butterflies, beetles and a foot-long "walking stick" bug. Backyard Monsters will be at the Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines through September 4th. For more information, visit www.sciowa.org .