Insect Zoo - Kansas State University
The Insect Zoo at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas includes displays of preserved, live and fossil insects. Several of the displays are hands on, including the use of microscopes to view preserved insects, and a creative kitchen where each cupboard or drawer has examples and details about the creatures that may be found there. There are even live cockroaches in the sink.
Insect Zoo visitors can have formal tours where entomologists or trained docents give an educational tour or they may have self directed tours. The displays detail information on the biology, habitat, importance, and distribution of the species. KSU's 1100 square foot insect zoo opened in 1999, and is housed in the former Dairy Barn on the Kansas State University Campus.
Our favorite display in the zoo is the Leafcutter ant display. You can watch an army of ants remove pieces of leaves and carry them through the large display, then through a clear hose and finally to the colony in a second case. The leaves are fed to fungus which provides nutrients for the ants.
The Insect Zoo has a small gift shop where baby tarantulas are sold. When we visited the zoo in the fall of 2019, the baby tarantulas were priced from $20-80. If you are wanting to purchase one during your visit, call in advance, because the selection may be limited at times, particularly if the K-State Insect Zoo Coordinator is not present.
The Kansas State University display gardens are quite nice. They were not very large the first few years we visited, but have been enlarged over time and even the driveway back to the Museum and garden parking is now nicely landscaped. There is a visitors center, but it is only open weekdays and special events. The conservatory (greenhouses) may also be open then.
Admission to the K-State Insect Zoo is $3. $2 for military. Under 3 are free. Guided tours (maximum of 20 people) are $4/person with a $24 minimum and must be scheduled a week in advance. Insect Zoo tours include the opportunity to handle some of the insects in the bug petting zoo.
The display gardens are free. Together with the Insect Zoo they take about 45 minutes to view. Combine them with Manhattan's Sunset Zoo and (if you are there on a weekday) the visitors center for a longer experience.
copyright 2005-2020 by Keith Stokes