Big Bugs invade Morton Arboretum

Bugs are invading Morton Arboretum, and the staff there couldn’t be happier. David Rogers’ Big Bugs exhibit of giant sculptures has returned to the arboretum for the summer, along with bug programs designed just for kids.

The 12 sculptures are built using natural materials including trees, dried branches, roots and green saplings. Families can view an oversized bee hive, ladybug, assassin bug, damsel fly, spiders, praying mantis, dragon fly, grasshopper and three ants.

“The biggest one, the ant, is 25 feet long and 10 feet high and weighs 725 pounds,” says Katie VanMetre, exhibit developer for Morton.

Docents will use bug-related props and storytelling techniques to engage families, she says.

Kids also are invited to become bug detectives as they explore the exhibit. They will receive a free bug detective guide and can take part in live insect displays and bug-themed storytimes in the Children’s Garden.

For the more adventurous, there’s even an edible insects program for the whole family. VanMetre, who tried dried crickets, says they’re not as bad as people think.

“They’re flavored. I had a sour cream and onion and there’s barbecue and cheese flavor,” she says.

Big Bugs will inhabit the arboretum until Sept. 8 and is free with admission. For more information visit

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