The Art & Science of Arachnids

Spiders, Scorpions and So Much More!

May 28, 2021 - January 2, 2022

Freeman Gallery, Level 1

This is not a typical “bug” exhibit.
This is a PEOPLE exhibit,
with some really awesome art and really interesting arachnids.

The Art & Science of Arachnids features 3 themed cubes which hold 100 live arachnids. The Science Cube discusses arachnids that are not spiders or scorpions, deadly spiders of North America, and arachnids in medicine. The Arts Cube illustrates the connection we have with arachnids in film, literature, and music. Various flip panels allow interaction with the guests. The Culture Cube highlights arachnid folklore and mythology, arachnid conservation, and arachnids as food. But the arachnophobes need not worry—you can enter without ever engaging with a live arachnid, but we bet you won’t want to miss them.

 

In addition, Guests can:

  • Weave their own spider web with Arachne a giant model of an orb weaver spider
  • Marvel at the macro photography art exhibition by famous German photographer, Julian Kamzol
  • Build a predator robot or a prey robot to explore predator/prey relationships
  • Conduct hands-on experiments in the Spider Lab
  • Relax with a good book in the Cob Web Corner
  • Learn about the types and properties of silk. Try on a Kevlar vest
  • Discover the adaptations of Fangs, Stingers, and Claws
  • Learn how arachnids grow
  • Assemble an Arachnid with large puzzle pieces while learning arachnid anatomy
  • Dance the Tarantella, an Italian folk dance
  • Control a video image of a tarantula and coordinate its 8 legs walking forward and backward, faster and slower
  • Compare your size to that of prehistoric and modern-day arachnids
  • Meet live arachnids in the Arachnid Arena

Plan Your Visit Today

The Art & Science of Arachnids is included with admission to the Science Center. Additional tickets are required for the Irene P. Flinn Giant Screen Theater, Dorrance Planetarium, and featured exhibition. Children under 3 are always FREE.

 

Frequently Asked Questions 

We need to define dangerous. If you mean “deadly”, then no. Deadly arachnids are termed “medically significant”. There are no medically significant arachnids in the exhibit for normal, healthy, adult people. However, many of them are fast. If you are bitten (or stung by one of the scorpions) it will hurt – a lot.

The arachnids are housed in a cube. The cube has a ceiling and uses your gallery floor. The cube locks. So even if the arachnid escapes from its enclosure, it will be contained within the cube. Speaking of the enclosures; all enclosures are 5, 10, or 20-gallon aquariums. They have screen lids, which are screwed down to lock them in place. Access to the enclosure is through a small port and allows for cleaning, feeding, and watering. So the arachnids are pretty secure.

The arachnids eat live crickets, that you can order through various providers online. You could feed other items such as Dubai roaches, various larva or worms, or small vertebrate animals. We don’t like the idea of uneaten roaches (even though these are the most healthy option for the arachnids) running around the enclosures; guests may think they are not being kept clean. The larva and worms are sometimes uneaten and set up “house” in the enclosures. We personally don’t like the idea of feeding small vertebrate animals to the arachnids, so we don’t recommend it. Also, your guests may not like seeing frogs, lizards, mice, etc eaten by large arachnids. They will eat between 1 and 6 crickets a week, depending on the size and type of arachnid.

We treat arachnids as fish and do not recommend “free” handling. The dangers to the arachnid if they are dropped are life-threatening. Dangers to the handler if bitten outweigh the positives for free handling arachnids. However, we can supply you with a set of arachnids to use for presentations and show you how to transfer them into clear, plexiglass containers that allow for close-up viewing and meet and greets.

We have purposefully included art in the exhibit. All Build 4 Impact exhibits focus on animal-human cultural connections and art is a huge part of the culture. The art in the exhibit includes formal art such as the gallery of images by artist and photographer Julian Kamzol. Informal art includes arts and crafts made by guests, weaving, and dancing. Other art includes an entire cube dedicated to Arachnids in the Arts, which highlights Arachnids in Film, Literature, and Music. 

No. The exhibit was purposefully designed with warm, inviting colors and without references to spooky, dark, Halloweeny images or themes. In fact, people could go through the exhibit and avoid seeing a live arachnid if they chose too.

Science is presented throughout the exhibit. The live specimens and the species identification cards highlight biology and natural history. There is an entire cube dedicated to the Science of Arachnids. Arachnids in medicine, medically significant spiders of North America (no live specimens), and types of arachnids are highlighted in this cube. Arachnid Conservation, Science of Silk, Adaptations of Fangs, Stingers, and Claws, Molting are all featured. In addition, robotic predator-prey simulations are available and an entire Spider Laboratory with 2 experiments are included.

There are 100 live arachnids in the exhibit. Some are spiders, some are scorpions, some are other types of arachnids.

Mites, ticks, harvestmen, pseudoscorpions, whiptail scorpions, tailless whip scorpions, solfugids.

The Art and Science of Arachnids is a bug exhibit about PEOPLE. The exhibit has 3 live arachnid display cubes holding 100 live arachnids. This is the largest exhibit of live arachnids in North America. Each display cube has a theme, the themes are: Arachnids in Science, Arachnids in the Arts, and Arachnids in Culture. In addition, there are over 15 interactive activities for all age levels as well as a formal photography exhibition from a world-renown German artist. You should not expect to be scared, freaked out, or see dark barn cobwebs or Halloween-type images.