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Botanic Garden Breaks Ground for New BUGarium June 25

New Facility To Feature Arthropods From Across Globe

Botanic Garden Breaks Ground for New BUGarium June 25

A dragonfly at the Botanic Garden's Dragonfly Sanctuary Pond. Photo by Jenny Sanchez Soto.

June 24, 2014

If you've ever attended the ABQ BioPark's annual Valentine's Day Love Bug tour, you've gotten to see behind-the-scenes in the BioPark's Insect Rearing Facility. Soon, many of the mantids, katydids, tarantulas and other arthropods that live in the lab will be on exhibit at the Botanic Garden's new BUGarium.

Mayor Richard J. Berry will lead a ground-breaking ceremony for the new exhibit on June 25 at 1:30 p.m. The building--dubbed the BUGarium--will be an impressive, innovative exhibit. The building's 3,500 square-foot interior will be enclosed by a dragonfly wing-inspired architectural design, and in some places, the ceiling will soar to 25 feet high. The BUGarium is slated to open in 2015.

"This new exhibit is an exciting addition to our growing BioPark," said Mayor Berry. "The BUGarium will be yet another great experience for Albuquerque families and visitors."

In the new BUGarium, BioPark visitors will see exhibits of insects from across the world, including Malaysian walking sticks, giant bird-eating tarantulas and southwest velvet ants. Visitors also will see a tropical tree home to leaf cutter ants, a working bee hive, a nocturnal exhibit for viewing tarantulas, giant katydids and African scorpions under infra-red lights, and much, much more.

"I'm excited about getting all the crazy bugs that we have in the lab out for viewing by the public," says Ralph Charlton, Curator of Insects. "We've been raising some of the insect cultures in the lab for 5 years, and we've benefited by establishing robust, self-sustaining cultures, but we're looking forward to sharing them with more guests."

The BUGarium will be adjacent to the Dragonfly Sanctuary Pond. During construction of the new building, the dragonfly exhibit will be closed to the public. Insect-lovers can still enjoy the dazzling colors of butterflies in the PNM Butterfly Pavilion. Several tropical butterflies are in the exhibit, including iridescent-blue morphos, eye-spotted owls and elusive, translucent glasswings.

Watch a fly-through of the exhibit plans:

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