If it walks, crawls or flies, there’s a good chances you will see it on display at the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in the Old New Orleans Customs House.
Utilizing the full 23,000 square feet of the historic, white marble columned structure in the 400 block of Canal Street, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium is the largest free-standing museum in the United States devoted to the 900,000-plus known species of insects and their relatives. It gives visitors up-close-and-personal glimpses into the lives of selected members of the largest grouping of living, visible, mobile organisms on earth. Featured are thousands of live insects, mounted specimens, interactive experiences and trained, expert personnel on hand to interpret the exhibits.
Among some of the features, attractions and highlights of the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium are the following:
- Field Camp introduces you to the exciting world of arthropods (animals – including insects — having segmented bodies and six or more jointed legs
- Life Underground shrinks you down to the size of the bugs themselves, with oversized exhibitry, gigantic animatronic insects and a trap door spider surprise.
- Insects of New Orleans uses the example of a French Quarter street to highlight local insect pests like the Formosan subterranean termite, love bugs, mosquitoes, the cockroach and more
- Cooking Show and Cultural Café offers an adventure in eating. A zany chef will introduce you to the joy of cooking with insects, and everyone gets to sample the treats – if you think you can handle it! If not, you can opt for more traditional fare in the insect-themed café
- Louisiana Swamp examines native insects and arachnids (spiders) that call the unique Louisiana swamps their home. Set around a recreated swamp habitat, this exhibit offers guided live animal encounters and features life-sized cypress trees
- Awards Night brings you into the middle of the action in this multi-sensory theater experience, featuring celebrity voices, animatronic hosts, gigantic high-definition film and special effects seating
- Hall of Fame showcases preserved examples of the biggest, fastest and most impressive insects. The traditional wood display cases in this area feature amazing insects in one of the most architecturally significant rooms of the old U.S. Custom House
- Metamorphosis is one of the most fascinating transformations that occurs in certain animal/insect species. This exhibit illustrates insect courtship, mating and life cycles. A working husbandry lab shows you how insects reproduce and grow
- Butterflies in Flight recreates a unique Japanese garden with free-flying butterflies of various species. Visitor interaction with the butterflies provides amazing, up-close encounters for all ages.
The Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium promises fun and education for all, from “roach races” to butterflies emerging from cocoons to talks from experts “in the field.”