Taking a trip to the “bug museum” in Toms River
Toms River, NJ – If you’re into bugs or just looking for something different to do on the next rainy day in New Jersey, you might want to try out Insectropolis, a bug museum located on Route 9 in Toms River, NJ. The museum is owned and operated, oddly enough, by Ozane, a pest control company. A trip to the ‘bug museum’ as my daughter affectionately refers to Insectropolis is a great way to pass time indoors if your Jersey Shore vacation gets rained out.
Insectropolis offers both self guided and guided tours of their exhibits, starting off with an exhibit that introduces children to basic insect anatomy. Head, thorax and abdomens and continues through an educational introduction to the worlds of insects. Many thousands of specimens are on display including beetles, moths and butterflies, including large exotic species.
There are computer kiosks with bug laden learning games that tests the children’s abilities to identify bugs and challenge their ability to retain what they learn throughout the tour. There is a bug penetentiary where the most criminal of bugs are on display for all to see, including mosquitos, ticks, fleas and other disease carrying specimens that have plagued humanity through the years.
As you progress through the winding rooms of countless insects on display, you will eventually reach the ant tunnels, a carpeted play area where children can crawl through the tunnels just like the ants in the huge ant farm nearby. Dozens of different arachnids are on display in the spider room and you can watch each in their artificial ‘natural’ habitat as they spin webs, devour prey or just mill around their tanks.
Insectropolis is also home to a working glass behive where you watch the bees at work building their hive, storing their honey and caring for their larva. It’s truly an amazing site to sit and watch bees at work, just inches away with an inside viewing that you won’t get on National Geographic.
As the tour winds down there is a hands on station where children can hold hissing cockroaches, glowing scorpions and milipedes in which I was told “feels like daddy’s beard in the morning”. Insectropolis may not fill your entire day, but on a rainy day, it sure beats the local mall or waiting in the hotel room for the rain to stop. Their gift shop is also chock full of insect themed toys, plushies, puzzles, butterfly farms, ant farms and they even have edible insect delights. If you want to munch down some meal worms or suck on a lolipop with a scorpion filled center, it’s all at Insectropolis.
Visit www.insectropolis.com for more information.
About the Author
Phil Stilton is the publisher of GoKids New Jersey and editor of JTOWN Magazine and Toms River Magazine. Since 2007, Stilton has been writing about New Jersey’s vast wealth of family travel and tourism opportunities and is the primary sportswriter for the company’s print and online publications. Stilton is a lifelong resident of the Jersey with over 20 years experience in the newspaper and online media industry.