Bug Festival

Saturday, January 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturday, January 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Calling all entomologists, future entomologists, and lovers of all things bugs! The museum is hosting Bug Festival 2023 on Saturday, January 28 and we want to see YOU here at VMNH! Admission rates apply.

What to See & Do!

Bug Festival 2023 features the museum's scientists and researchers showing-off a huge variety of preserved (not alive) specimens from the museum's entomology (insect) collections, most of which are rarely exhibited to the public! A list of preserved specimens is listed below!

Displays also include live insects (listed below), fossil insects from the museum's paleontology collections (some of which you can view under a microscope), as well as preserved herpetology specimens, including preserved specimens of Virginia reptiles and amphibians that feast on insects...yummy!

Not to be outdone, the museum's mammalogy team will show-off a variety of preserved specimens of their own, highlighting some of the mammals that feast on invertebrates!

For the brave and adventurous, Bug Festival 2023 will feature a "Bug Tasting Station", in which - well - the name should speak for itself!

The Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) will be on-hand during the event to exhibit its "Tub-O-Bugs", which features live macroinvertebrates - like stoneflies and crayfish - that visitors can see and touch! Additionally, DRBA will feature a handful of its own preserved specimens to show off!

Finally, Bug Festival 2023 also features bug-themed crafts and activities for children, balloon animals, face painting, and food trucks! Be sure to stop by the Museum Store for bug-themed items available for purchase!

Preserved Specimen Displays!

Neptune’s goblet sponge
Cliona patera; Family Clionaidae – clionaid demosponges

Giant sea spider
Order Pantopoda – sea spiders

Giant tailless whip scorpion
Charon grayi; Family Charontidae - tailless whip scorpions

Giant tropical centipede
Scolopendra sp.; Family Scolopendridae - centipedes

Giant tropical millipedes
Order Spirobolida - "round-backed" millipedes

Order Mantodea

Yellow-winged walkingstick
Tagesoidea nigrofasciata; Family Lonchodidae – lonchodid walking sticks

Giant walkingstick
Phasma gigas; Family Phasmatidae – walking sticks

Northern walkingstick
Diapheromera femorata; Family Diapheromeridae- stick insects

Leaf insect
Cryptophyllium westwoodii; Family Phylliidae- leaf insects

Tropical and temperate cicadas
Family Cicadidae- true cicadas

Empress cicada
Megapomponia imperatoria; Family Cicadidae- true cicadas

Tropical lanternfly
Cathedra serrata; Family Fulgoridae – fulgorid planthoppers

Common bed bug
Cimex lectularius; Family Cimicidae- bed bugs

Tropical locusts
Family Acrididae – grasshoppers and locusts

Eastern dobsonfly
Corydalus cornutus; Family Corydalidae – dobsonflies and fishflies

Violin beetle
Mormolyce phyllodes; Family Carabidae – ground beetles

Tropical jewel beetle
Megaloxantha bicolor; Family Buprestidae – jewel beetles or metallic wood-boring

Tropical stag beetle
Odontolabis dalmani; Family Lucanidae – stag beetles

Goliath beetles
Goliathus sp.; Family Scarabaeidae - scarabs

Five-horned rhinoceros beetle
Eupatorus gracilicornis; Family Scarabaeidae; Subfamily Dynastinae – rhinoceros

Hercules beetles
Dynastes spp.; Family Scarabaeidae; Subfamily Dynastinae – rhinoceros beetles

Harlequin beetle
Acrocinus longimanus; Family Cerambycidae – longhorn beetles

Tropical long-horned beetle
Petrognatha gigas; Family Cerambycidae

Titan beetle
Titanus giganteus; Family Cerambycidae

Sabertooth longhorn beetle
Macrodontia cervicornis; Family Cerambycidae

Exotic weevils
Eupholus spp.; Family Curculionidae- weevils

Milkweed butterflies
Subfamily Danainae; Family Nymphalidae- brush-footed butterflies

Longwing butterflies
Heliconius spp. Family Nymphalidae- brush-footed butterflies

Clearwing butterflies
Tribe Ithomiini; Family Nymphalidae- brush-footed butterflies

Family Papilionidae – swallowtail butterflies

Morpho butterflies
Morpho spp.; Family Nymphalidae - brush-footed butterflies

Madagascar sunset moth
Chrysiridia rhipheus; Family Uraniidae – swallowtail moths

White witch moth
Thysania agrippina; Family Erebidae – erebid moths

Hummingbird moths
Family Sphingidae- hummingbird moths

Atlas moth
Attacus atlas; Family Saturniidae – silk moths

Giant Ichneumon
Megarhyssa spp. Family Ichneumonidae- ichneumonids

Jewel wasps
Family Chrysididae

Cow killer
Dasymutilla occidentalis; Family Mutillidae- velvet ants

European hornet
Vespa crabro; Family Vespidae- yellowjackets and hornets

Eastern cicada killer
Sphecius speciosus; Family Crabronidae- crabronid wasps

Red-footed cannibal fly
Promachus rufipes; Family Asilidae- robber flies

Puff adder
Bitis arietans

Green Mamba
Dendroaspis angusticeps

Live Specimen Displays!

Desert millipedes
Orthoporus spp.; Family Spirostreptidae – spirostreptid millipedes

Giant vinegaroon
Mastigoproctus giganteus; Family Thelyphonidae – whip scorpions

Tailless whip scorpion
Paraphrynus sp.; Family Phrynidae - tailless whip scorpions

Emperor scorpion
Pandinus imperator; Family Scorpionidae- burrowing scorpions

Mexican redknee tarantula
Brachypelma hamorii; Family Theraphosidae – tarantulas

Mexican golden red rump tarantula
Brachypelma albiceps; Family Theraphosidae – tarantulas

Horrid king assassin
Psytalla horrida; Family Reduviidae- assassin bugs

Children's Activities!

In addition to all of the specimens on display, the event will feature a variety of bug-themed children's activities led by the museum's education team, as well as face painting and balloon animals!

Admission is only...

  • $10/Ages 18-59
  • $5/Ages 3-17
  • $5/Seniors 60+
  • FREE for children under 3
  • FREE for VMNH Members
  • FREE for members of ASTC Passport participating institutions
  • FREE for EBT card holders who present their EBT card and official photo ID
    • Free EBT card holder admission is made possible by The Institute of Museum and Library Services and Hooker Furnishings.

**Admission is available at the gate. Groupons are accepted. This is primarily an indoor event. Please note all displays, activities and offerings listed are subject to change. In the event of significant winter weather, this event may need to be postponed. If necessary, a tentative weather date of Saturday, February 4, 2023 is scheduled.**

Bug Festival 2023 is sponsored by The Helen S. & Charles G. Patterson Jr. Charitable Foundation Trust.

map of Virginia and surrounding areas

Please Visit Us Soon


Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 4pm
Sunday - Monday: Closed


$10 for ages 18-59
$5 for ages 3-17, seniors 60+, and college students
FREE for children under 3, museum members, and members of ASTC participating institutions

We had a great time looking at the exhibits. There are a number of interactive things (not available during Covid, ...

Debbie G.

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