Stepping Out

Kids have a blast with bugs

Long Island Children’s Museum hosts a 'Bug Bonanza'

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Going “buggy” even before summer is in full swing? Then buzz everyone on over to Long Island Children’s Museum on Sunday, for a multi-sensory day devoted to the largest group of animals on the planet. The museum teams up with Lynbrook-based Arrow Exterminating, a leading pest control company in the region, for another edition of “Bug Bonanza,” which will leave visitors bug-eyed with excitement.“Bug Bonanza” was launched in 2009 and quickly emerged as one of the most popular events on the LICM calendar, with nearly 1,400 visitors immersing themselves in the world of insects, according museum spokesperson Maureen Managan. In developing the range of insect-themed activities, Program Director Aimee Terzulli notes “We know that bugs provide a great entry point to teaching children about natural science and encourages them to spend more time outdoors. Many children pick up bug fears from adults and we hope that this event will help all age groups overcome their concerns.”“Anytime you can add a dash of the ‘gross factor’ to a lesson you will have kids hooked, she adds.” The partnership between the museum and Arrow Exterminating in developing the program may surprise some folks. Why is a pest control company acting as a “bug advocate?  The answer lies in the company’s strong commitment to education and giving back to the community they serve.“It has been our great pleasure to support and participate in “Bug Bonanza” since it was begun over eight years ago,” explains Jackie Grabin, Arrow Exterminating owner and co-president. “Because we are local and family owned, we have always been focused on our communities. Since the beginning of our company, 70 years ago, one of our values has been education. For us, that means ongoing training for everyone at Arrow and even for other companies. So it’s a natural step for us to participate in a program aimed at educating young people through hands-on, fun activities. It gives us all great joy to be able to watch these young faces light up as they learn.”

Varied activities (or “insect-ivities” as museum staff likes to say) during the afternoon enable museum-goers to see, touch and even taste bugs, throughout the museum.“This is a great event to kick off summer,” says the museum’s Public Programs Manger Ashley Hodgson. “The program bridges the gap between fascination and hesitation for families in dealing with insects.”

Visitors can meet up with a team of Arrow entomologists) and some special “friends” that they’ll be bringing along, which could include a tarantula, mantis, and a Madagascar hissing cockroach. Entomologists will also appear on the museum stage for a 45-minute presentation, “Good Bug, Bad Bug,” at 1230 and 2:30 p.m., presenting some fascinating insect facts.

Kids can also create “Busy Bee” top hats to wear throughout the event, learn about insect anatomy while creating a light-up firefly and get buggy while getting their face painted to look like their favorite insect. Everyone will also want to stop by the Cricket Café to sample some edible insect treats.

Once back home those creepy-crawly creatures may not seem so creepy-crawly. “We want families to have a wonderful experience together,” says Hodgson, “and get a different perspective on the insect world and the environment and how insects help us.”

Bug Bonanza

When: Sunday, June 25, 1-4:30 p.m. Admission: $13, $12 seniors.

Where: Long Island Children’s Museum, Museum Row, Garden City. (516) 224-5800 or www.licm.org.