Welcome to the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center



Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 through Sunday, May 22, 2011



To book your field trip, call 251.208.6880. Click here for more information on school group rates and policies.

If you thought there were already big bugs in Mobile, think again! Opening Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011 is Giant Insects, the Gulf Coast Exploreum’s newest interactive traveling exhibit. Giant Insects features six oversized robotic bugs, three giant mechanical insect heads, an insect art gallery, a live insect zoo, preserved specimens, special lab activities and MORE.

There’s a bug infestation taking place at the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center this January, and the giant praying mantis leading the group of bugs is desperately searching for a name! The Exploreum launched the “Name an Insect” contest, inviting the public to pick a name for its praying mantis, which will be one of six oversized robotic bugs on display during the upcoming Giant Insects exhibition.

Does your child have a birthday in February, March, April or May? Book them a Bug Blast Party at the Exploreum for a birthday they will never forget! Our Bug Blast Parties include admission to the Exploreum and Giant Insects for 30 guests, a themed cake, a special party room, the chance to meet some of the bugs, unique decorations and MORE! CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION OR CALL 251.208.6881 TO BOOK YOUR PARTY TODAY.


Chinese Praying Mantis - This 19-foot leaf-like insect (60 times life-size) gets its name from its praying position either at rest or waiting to make a kill. An intimidating hunter, the praying mantis has a voracious appetite, feeding on insects and even lizards, frogs and birds. Praying mantids will also eat each other - a female mantis will sometimes eat the male after mating which provides the female with the large amount of protein needed for the production of eggs.

Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar - Representative of one magical stage of metamorphosis, this 15-foot wiggler (30 times life-size) is at the larval stage of the swallowtail butterfly. Growing in five stages, a caterpillar sheds its skin as it gets bigger, attaches to a leaf and becomes a pupa. A chrysalis forms around it, providing protection for several months while it develops adult legs, mouthparts and wings. The final result is a beautiful butterfly.

Atlas Beetles - Two (2) male horned beetles battle each other in mortal combat. From the order Coleoptera, meaning “sheath wing,” these 11-foot beetles (40 times life-size) have two armor-like wings that cover and protect the transparent wings used for flying.

Desert Locust - The desert locust is best known for their mass destruction capabilities. The swarms of desert locust may invade more than 20 percent of the total land surface of the world. This 15-foot robotic locust (70 times life-size) demonstrates the locust’s powerful legs that enable it to jump phenomenal distances, up to 40 times the length of its body.

Stick Insect - These insects are often hard to see with their protective camouflage. Predators often overlook them as their appearance and motion mimic branches and twigs. This stick insect is 21.5 feet in length (120 times life-size).

Mosquito, Bee and Dragonfly Heads - Magnifying glasses four feet in diameter will give visitors the experience of seeing the features of a mosquito, bee and dragonfly up close. Hands-on controls allow visitors to manipulate mouthparts to see how these insects chew, suck and feed.


Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches
Chinese Praying Mantis
Milkweed Leaf Beetle
Hercules Beetle
American Grasshopper
Wolf Spider
Rosy Knee Tarantula
Tobacco Worms (will go through metamorphosis to become moths)
Emperor Scorpion (Chem lab)
Mealworms (Separate enclosure)
Crickets (Separate enclosure)
Wax Worms (Separate enclosure)


Get Bugged Out!
The BioLab demonstration (available on weekends) will focus on the nutritional aspects of insects. Yes, that’s right…we said the nutritional aspects of insects, so we hope you’re hungry. We’ll prepare a variety of recipes with crickets, mealworms (a type of beetle larva) and wax worms (a type of caterpillar), while we talk about how these insects benefit our bodies. Then, visitors will have the chance to taste a sampling of our yummy recipes!

The Emperor's New Glow
The Chem Lab demo focuses on insect chemistry, featuring the emperor scorpion as the star of the show! We’ll explore the science of bioluminescence and investigate the chemical compounds that make our scorpion glow, along with other “light” insects such as lightning bugs. This demo is available on weekends.

Insect Investigation
Upstairs, in Infestation Hall, our field camp educators will give visitors a hands-on insect experience! Visitors will get to touch giant cockroaches, caterpillars and beetles. Plus, we’ll give you tips on how to catch and identify bugs in your backyard or during any camping adventure.

After walking with giant insects, visiting the live insect zoo and admiring many beautiful specimens, give your students the opportunity to explore insects with an in-depth insect lab! Classroom Activities are approximately 45 minutes and can be reserved for an additional cost of $2 per student during your already scheduled field lesson. Maximum 30 children per Classroom.

Being a Butterfly
Students will learn all about the life cycle of a butterfly as they act out each stage of development. ACOS Objectives - K:6 / 1:4 / 2:6

Grasshopper Dissection
Students will discover the grasshopper up close as they dissect this interesting insect. ACOS Objectives - 3:8 / 4:5 / 5:5

While visiting Giant Insects, guests can enjoy one of the two IMAX films that will also open Jan. 22 in the J.L. Bedsole IMAX Dome Theatre. Bugs: A Rainforest Adventure and Lost Worlds: Life in the Balance are both exciting films with breathtaking scenery that will transport viewers to exotic locales. Visit our IMAX page for more information and show times.

Giant Insects is included with general admission and combo admission tickets.

GENERAL ADMISSION (Includes permanent exhibits & Giant Insects)
Adults (19-59) - $14.00
Senior (60+) - $12.50
Youth (13-18) - $12.50
Child (2-12) - $12.00
Members - $2.50
Children under the age of 2 are free.

COMBO ADMISSION (Includes permanent exhibits, Giant Insects & an IMAX)
Adults (19-59) - $18.00 / Members - $9.00
Senior (60+) - $17.00 / Members - $8.00
Youth (13-18) - $17.00 / Members - $8.00
Child (2-12) - $15.50 / Members - $7.50
Children under the age of 2 are free.

© 2014 Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center