This summer, you can have an aMAZEing time weaving your way through a new temporary exhibit at Brookfield Zoo—Amazing Arachnids. The interactive and engaging experience, which opens May 26 and continues through September 3, features two components: Art and Science of Arachnids and Mission Safari Maze. Kidlist will be checking it out before the opening to share inside info with you! So stay tuned. In the meantime, you can keep reading below to get a preview from the zoo.
Throughout the exhibit’s palette of bright and inviting colors, Art and Science of Arachnids invites zoogoers to discover the marvels of eight-legged critters featured in three themed areas that highlight their unique characteristics and significance in several genres. The art-themed portion of the exhibit illustrates the importance of arachnids in music, literature, and film. The culture-themed space focuses on arachnid conservation, folklore, and mythology. The final section explores arachnids in relation to science and medicine. In addition, 100 live arachnids, including the tiger rump tarantula, emperor scorpion, the alien-looking tailless whip scorpion, the beautiful peacock tarantula, burgundy goliath birdeater, and goliath pinkfoot tarantula are displayed amongst the three sections, making it the largest public collection of arachnids in North America.
“Amazing Arachnids offers people the opportunity to gain an understanding about a group of animals that has made a huge impact on human culture throughout history, whether in art, music, film folklore, the list goes on,” said Andre Copeland, interpretive programs manager for the Chicago Zoological Society, which operates Brookfield Zoo. “Fear of spiders is probably one of the most misguided issues and leads to a lot of misconceptions. By coming to the exhibit, we hope our guests will be encouraged to learn about the different species and to gain a better understanding of arachnids that could then lead to a greater appreciation for them.”
A variety of hands-on interactivities and opportunities for guests of all ages enhance the experience. These fun and entertaining components include weaving a web, assembling puzzle pieces to create a unique spider, learning an Italian folk dance called the Tarantella, and controlling the movements of a tarantula at the Arachnid Mobility station that features two computer monitors. In the Arachnid Art Gallery, zoogoers can view 10 beautiful arachnid images by world-renowned German arachnid photographer Julian Kamzol.
Additionally, animal care staff will bring the nuances of the species to life with amazing facts and lively tales during spontaneous Zoo Chats. Guests will not only get up-close views of various arachnids, they will also learn what arachnids eat, how they survive in the wild, what are their natural predators, and how—as individuals and families—they can help play a vital part in preserving arachnids and their habitats.
Another component of Amazing Arachnids—Mission Safari Maze—is a maze experience that blends education along with physical activity, making it a unique learning adventure for guests of all ages. The interactive attraction connects guests to the stories and strengths of 16 species of animals that can all be seen at Brookfield Zoo. Animals include the bison, Amur tiger, Andean condor, bald eagle, black rhinoceros, black widow spider, Blanding’s turtle, Bornean orangutan, emperor scorpion, green-winged macaw, Indian peafowl, Orinoco crocodile, peacock tarantula, red knee tarantula, reticulated giraffe, and white-bellied pangolin.
As zoogoers enter, they spin one of four giant colorful spinning wheels featuring a total of 48 missions or tasks that link guests with one of the animals featured in the neon green 3,500-square-foot maze. After spinning a wheel, zoogoers are then challenged to move through the immersive attraction that engages them to learn about the different traits of the species and how people can protect them. Throughout the maze there are play-and-learn interactives, including a climb-on spider web, jungle vines, swinging bars, and a monorail zip slide. Youngsters and families can play over and over again with a new adventure each time, all the while lending more and more meaning to their subsequent journey around the zoo to see the animals with which they now have a personal connection.
The cost for Amazing Arachnids is $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 3-11 and seniors 65 and over. Brookfield Zoo members receive half off admission price. General zoo admission is $21.95 for adults and $15.95 for children ages 3-11 and seniors 65 and over. Park in $14. For further information, visit CZS.org/Arachnids.