A stay at home Mum who doesn't stay at home much; too many exciting things to be discovering in this city...
Published June 3rd 2014
Covering all thing Creepy and Crawly
If you have a preschool or primary school aged child, and particularly if that child happens to be a boy, you will no doubt be quite familiar with the world of insects, bugs and arachnids. It seems these little critters are overwhelmingly fascinating to the young, so we parents have unwittingly got dragged into the action. Even my 18 month old was caught recently with a dead 8-legged wonder in her sweaty little paws, much to her delight (at least she was stopped before it reached her mouth!).
So where can you go in Melbourne to indulge the insect whims of your littlies? There are a few places which will capture the interest of any young entomologist and send any arachnophobes running for the hills. As tried and tested by my 4 year old bug-hunter, here are a few suggestions:
Bugs Alive! (@ Melbourne Museum) The bug gallery at the Melbourne Museum is highly impressive. With both living and dead specimens of all kinds of minibeasts, insects and spiders and a huge amount of information, your child will be kept busy for hours. Our favourites include the live tarantulas – huge and hairy, which are only visible when you light up their hidey holes, the sound effect buttons (who knew that spiders made noises?) and the footage of old horror movies such as, '8 Legged Freaks' and 'Starship Troopers'. The giant red back hanging from the ceiling also made a big impression. For more information click here.
Wear a hat when you walk through The Butterfly House
The Butterfly House (@Melbourne Zoo) For something a little less horrifying, the butterfly house is a fascinating experience for even the very youngest entomologists. You may need to shed a few layers as you enter (think tropical rainforest humidity) and it's a good idea to don a hat as the butterflies tend to settle on them. There are hundreds of butterflies flitting around this enclosure, many of them big, bright and beautiful. There is also a section at the far end displaying caterpillars and chrysalises, so you can throw in a bit of educational stuff about life cycles if you feel so inspired. For more information click here.
Pond Dipping (@ Cranbourne RBG) For water-based bugs, head out to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne. There are frequent Family Days and scheduled events which include the chance to try your hand at pond dipping. Your eager environmentalist can drag a net through the water and take a look at their finds under a microscope. A helpful staff member should be able to help you identify what has been found if you're a clueless as we were. Find out when the next pond dipping sessions are by following the What's On section of the RBG Cranbourne website.
Giant Insects (@ Melbourne's playgrounds) We have stumbled upon several playgrounds which feature gigantic bugs and are great fun for the youngest members of the family. Tatterson Park in Keysborough will shrink you as you walk through the huge magnifying glass at the entrance, so that the ants, spiders and ladybirds you encounter will be almost as big as you are. Bundoora Playspace in Bondoora Park has some beautiful insect rockers for the tinies, as well as more massive ants to clamber over. A giant snail will greet you in the middle of the maze at Murrumbeena Park and a huge butterfly will float overhead if you venture into Hays Paddock – the all abilities playground in Kew.
So there you have it; some fascinating insect experiences for you and your bug-lover to uncover together. I am sure there are many more out there, so let us know if you've discovered an incredible insect activity that will capture the interest of Melbourne's children.
Kezpa, this is the web page which the Melbourne Museum currently has on its website regarding the bug gallery. It details the temporary and permanent exhibitions which are on display at the moment throughout the museum. I believe there are some comments on the page which were posted in 2010, but this is definitely the most up to date link available.