San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Exhibits
Exhibition Overview
Programs and Activities
Field Guide to local spiders
Teacher's Guide in English
-- ENGLISH  /  SPANISH
Related Links
SDNHM Entomology Department Historical Highlights
Backyard Monsters

This exhibition closed January 1, 2006.
Buggy FAQ's
Butterfly ID Test
Draw-a-bug activity
  Bug drawings by kids
Robotic butterfly

Robotic scorpion

beetle Robotic insects to walk
Backyard Monsters, the Museum's newest featured exhibition, will give museum visitors a bug's-eye-view of life. Giant, robotic insects, up to 11' high and 22' long, with lifelike motion, are paired with interactive learning displays and one of the world's largest private specimen collections. Along with the exhibition, the Museum will also feature the giant-screen film, A Rainforest Adventure–Bugs!, that combines incredible footage with cutting-edge IMAX® technology to deliver a fantastically entertaining and enlightening experience about the little guys in life.

"With giant animatronics, like the 12-foot-high tarantula, or the monarch butterfly with a 19-foot wingspan, Backyard Monsters and the Bugs! film give visitors a 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' feeling. Imagine encountering everyday creatures found in your backyard, only you're about a quarter of an inch tall!" says Deputy Director of Public Programs, Jim Stone.

Upon entering the 6500-square-foot exhibition hall, visitors will feel miniaturized in the giant backyard setting. Blades of grass are the size of trees and insects are, well, huge. Visitors should be on the look out for two fighting atlas beetles, and a tarantula that the visitor can control! Make the giant spider lurch forward, rear up and snap its fangs into fighting position. Visitors can also watch a fantastic monarch butterfly beat its beautiful wings, and a dangerous-looking scorpion prepare to strike its prey. Each figure contains a system of animated robotics that enables it to exhibit lifelike movements such as moving heads, flapping wings, and creeping legs.

Hands-on interactive displays give visitors the opportunity to build a bug, create a bug orchestra, and take a robotic insect for a walk. The specimens in the exhibition include very large, very beautiful and very weird insects from around the world and from San Diego County. The Museum has planned a variety of buggy events, including family movie nights, summer camps, lectures, field trips and more.


Backyard Monsters is developed and circulated by Adventure Edutainment, LLC. A Rainforest Adventure–Bugs! is an SK Films release.

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