New exhibit emerges

Graphic by Kaitlyn Patterson '20.
Written by Jennifer Conboy

The Insectarium opens its Butterfly Pavilion to the public

The Insectarium in Northeast Philadelphia already has nearly 50,000 insects on display, and has recently debuted a brand new 7,000-square foot Butterfly Pavilion. What began as an extermination company called Steve’s Bug Off is now a three story museum filled with insects and various interactive exhibits.

The Insectarium, the largest exhibited arthropod museum in the country, opened its long anticipated Butterfly Pavilion on Feb. 24. According to their website, guests from all over were invited to witness the unveiling of one of the largest pavilions in North America featuring snacks, live music, and thousands of butterflies.

Owner Steve Kanya created the museum in 1992 when he began bringing interesting insects that he found while exterminating to his business. He brought guests in to see them, and then decided to turn it into an experience for the general public. The Insectarium has been in business for the last 25 years. Tour guide Mike O’Leary said it will offer plenty of butterflies to enjoy.

“We will have up to 500 species of butterflies on display at any given time,” O’Leary said.

Aside from just displaying the butterflies, the Insectarium is also in the process of growing their own milkweed for the insects. It will be used in the Pavilion particularly for the Monarch butterflies, as museum coordinator Jeanette Apsis said they are essential for the Monarchs to survive.

“There’s only one plant the Monarch will lay its eggs on, and one plant the caterpillars will munch on, and that would be milkweed,” Apsis said.

Graphic by Kaitlyn Patterson ’20.

The Monarch butterfly population has decreased by 90 percent, and the Insectarium is hoping to do their part to bring the numbers back up and save the Monarch butterflies, according to entomologist of the Insectarium John Cambridge.

Aside from the Butterfly Pavilion itself, the addition to the Insectarium also includes a café, as well as a room that will function as both a cafeteria for school field trips and a place for educational lessons from the Insectarium staff about the insects.

Guests can also visit the gift shop that is well stocked with plenty of insect memorabilia. There are necklaces with bug replicas and comforters printed with all different kinds of bugs.

The Insectarium is constantly looking for ways to expand their facility according to staff. They hope to offer a location for prom, wedding, graduation, and other special occasion photos around the Butterfly Pavilion.

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Jennifer Conboy

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