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BUGarium Grand Opening Ceremony with the Mayor

New Botanic Garden exhibit is the largest collection of arthropods in the Southwest

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - It was a project 10 years in the making and now it's official - the ABQ BioPark BUGarium will have its grand opening ceremony this week.

Mayor Richard Berry will cut the ribbon and speak at the event, which takes place at 10:30 a.m., Feb. 18, at the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden BUGarium exhibit.

"The BUGarium has been years in the making, and we are pleased to introduce the public to the world of arthropods," said Catherine Hubbard, Botanic Garden manager. "We are proud to house the largest collection of arthropods in the Southwest, and know that visitors will love this interactive, immersive exhibit."

The BioPark launched a soft opening of the exhibit in October 2015, while staff slowly introduced new animals to the facility. Now, all of the BUGarium's exotic arthropods - representing hundreds of species from across the world - will be out for visitors to enjoy.

Animals include a leaf cutter ant colony, stick insects, tarantulas, roaches, mantids, bees and even some naked mole rats, a rodent that shares community behavior in common with ants and bees.

Exhibits are detailed and immersive, ranging from the New Mexico desert to a waterfall, aquatic area and a dark nocturnal jungle. Many areas are designed to remove or limit barriers between bugs and the public.

Funding for the BUGarium came from voter-approved bonds totaling $1.4 million and $400,000 donated by the NM BioPark Society. The BioPark has been collecting and rearing bugs since 2008 in the adjacent Arthropod Rearing Lab.