Take the Kids: Insectropolis
Got a kid who’s really into bugs? Here’s everything you need to know about Jersey’s bug museum.
© Dave Lesser
Insectropolis is a nice, short excursion if you're looking for something to do with the kids. If your child is interested in insects, there is a lot to be learned here.
Cost to Enter: $8.00 per person. Free for children 2 years old and under. There is a group rate of $6.00 per visitor, for groups of 15 or more (though the group rate may not apply for special events).
Where Is it?: 1761 Route 9, Toms River
How Much Time You Need: You’ll need about an hour to see it all.
Food Options: Other than the flavored honey straws and freeze-dried bugs in the gift shop, there is no food for sale. So make sure you either eat before you go, or pack snacks for later.
When to Go: We went on a Monday afternoon and there were only one or two other families there. I was told that the museum can sometimes be crowded during the school year on weekday mornings, because it is a popular field-trip destination. It is a small location. If you plan on going then, call ahead to be safe. There are also special events throughout the year, like the Halloween Boo at the Zoo with Scooby Doo (which takes place inside the small zoo inside Insectropolis).
What to Bring: You may want to pack snacks (though freeze-dried bugs are tastier than you'd expect). I recommend the salt and vinegar variety, but good luck getting the kids to eat them! Since it isn’t a whole day experience you don’t need much more than your basic supplies.
Best for Ages: There is a lot of reading required in order to fully engage with the exhibits. Elementary school-aged children are the perfect audience for Insectropolis. If you’ve got younger kids, be prepared to do a lot of reading aloud to give them a full experience.
What You Should See and Do: The museum is a continuous loop, broken down into small rooms. Although each room has an exhibit name and different focus, as long as you keep walking you’ll see it all.
INSECTROPOLIS ZOO: Features a bunch of live creepy crawlies (kept safely behind glass). Look for lizards and tarantulas and more. During scheduled presentations, the animals come out of their cages as they get discussed. And there’s time to actually touch them, which is a must-do, and a highlight of the entire place. If your children don't love petting the tarantula, cockroach and scorpion, they'll love being way too creeped out to do it!
THE MUD TUBE: Billed as the place where kids can "see a glimpse of what's happening underground," its kind of like crawling around and pretending to be a bug.
THE HIVE AIRPORT: This exhibit sometimes shows bees going to and from their hive via a clear pipe on the wall.
ROCK STATE PRISON: It’s is a tongue-in-cheek look at the "mass murderers" of the insect world where you can read about the "crimes" of different species.
THE CATERPILLAR CAFE: Insects may be small but they play a big role in the food chain. Use touch screen computers to learn how caterpillars use their senses to grab snacks and watch Mother Nature in action at their aquatic insect tank.
RUBBER TREE PLANT: How can an ant climb a rubber tree plant? Teamwork, of course! Bring the kiddos to spy on the live carpenter ants as they work together to dig tunnels.
For more information, visit insectropolis.com.