Insectropolis Shows Nature’s “Cool Bugs” in Toms River, NJ

TOMS RIVER – Founded by the original family of local bug killers Ozane Termite and Pest Control, Insectropolis is a colorful and intimidating “bug zoo” designed to educate children and adults alike.

Curator Jesse Herdman said the Koerner family wanted to draw attention to “cool bugs” while making sure their company took care of the bad ones.

This time of year, summer camps take over the building after it hosted school groups during the school year, because as Herdman simply puts it, kids love bugs.

“They are not yet conditioned like us ‘grown-ups’ to have bad experiences with insects in our homes,” he said. “Children see them as part of nature and as these fascinating little beings.”


Photo courtesy of Jesse Herdman

What can visitors find in Insectropolis? All types of creatures, from fossilized arthropods to large living insects like centipedes, scorpions, hermit crabs and, yes, tarantulas.

Some of them play lead roles in one of the most popular “bugseum” offerings, a touchscreen presentation. Here, the curious can caress the species on display or simply watch if they wish.

“Most visitors are very excited about the tactile presentation because there aren’t many places where you can pet a tarantula or a giant centipede,” Herdman said.


Photo courtesy of Jesse Herdman

Herdman is particularly enthusiastic about the variety of exotic and mundane species in Insectropolis, as he stated that insects tend to get larger and more colorful in the tropics.

In addition, there is an observation area to observe a real colony of bees at work.

Kids even get to dig tunnels and act like bugs themselves, among other games and activities available at the museum.

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Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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