Iowa State University

Insect Zoo

Department of Entomology

About the Insect Zoo

The Insect Zoo in Iowa State University's Department of Entomology is an outreach program developed to foster an appreciation of insects found in Iowa and throughout the world. Participants can view and interact with live insects and other arthropods. We emphasize the diversity, ecology and behavior of arthropods while the students are exposed to many basic concepts of biology. Participants will learn about interrelationships among diverse insect groups and their important role in life on Earth.

Feel the impact of an up-close and hands-on experience! We have two different options:

All Insect Zoo inquiries must begin by filling out the REQUEST FORM. Only inquiries received via this system will be considered. Using this system will not only put a formal request in for Insect Zoo programming, but it will also provide basic and additional information to you once you have registered (pricing, requirements, lengths, etc.). Filling out the request form DOES NOT contractually lock you into a program!

The Insect Zoo LOVES to have parents invite us to their child’s class. However, we ask that the classroom teacher fills out the request form. We need information from the teacher on what has been happening in their class with insects and the teacher needs information from the Insect Zoo on what to expect when we visit. If the parent is paying for the Insect Zoo visit, they can be listed as the billing contact.

Option 1:

On Campus Visit

Request Form

Come to the Insect Zoo! We will host your group on the ISU campus for a bug filled program. During your visit your group will be introduced to the same animals we take out on the road. Please allow 1 hour for your visit with the Insect Zoo. Each 1 hour program is limited to 30 participants, adults or chaperones are not included in the count. When classes are in session, scheduling a classroom can be difficult. It helps to be flexible with time. If you are scheduling other activities on campus, we recommend scheduling the Insect Zoo first.

Those who can't visit our facility can request a traveling Insect Zoo visit. The Insect Zoo covers the entire state of Iowa, bringing exciting entomological concepts to thousands of participants each year.

Option 2:

Insect Zoo Visits

Request Form

The Insect Zoo travels all over Iowa visiting schools, libraries, church groups, Boy/Girl Scouts, and other educational venues. The Insect Zoo can be set up to specifically address certain biological concepts or curriculum requirements. This program was developed by educators and thus encourages the public to maximize its teaching potential.

The Insect Zoo offers on-site presentations for those who cannot visit our facilities housed at the Iowa State campus. We offer four options, depending on the needs of your group. Please read the following information carefully, and then proceed to the Request Form.

Site Visit Option A: Hands-on presentation, incorporating age-appropriate information on insects and other Arthropods. We recommend this option for participants Kindergarten through adult ages in a formal educational setting. Trained educators will bring living insects and other Arthropods to your school or group an introduce everyone to the exciting world of Arthropods.

Each presentation requires 60 minutes. Smaller groups allow for more hands-on interactions and thus we strongly enforce a maximum of 30 participants per hands-on presentation.

Rates are based on 1-hour sessions. Mileage will be billed for presentations outside of Story County, IA.

Site Visit Option B: Display only. We recommend this option for public and large group settings such as fairs or open houses. The Insect Zoo will set up a number of live and interactive displays for the public to view as they walk through. We provide 2-3 staff members to provide information to participants about arthropods and interactively engage passerby’s with the arthropods.

Rates are based on 1-hour displays, with a 2-hour minimum. Mileage will be billed for presentations outside of Story County, Iowa.

Site Visit Option C: Hands-on presentation with art activity. This option includes all of option A but with an art activity included so the participants can take something home! The art activity can range from something simple like recreating a butterfly’s life cycle with pasta to more advanced like making an insect key chain with beads. Activities will vary and depend on age. Those who choose this option will be contacted to talk about art activities available.

Rates are based on 1.5 hour sessions. Mileage will be billed for presentations outside of Story County, IA.

Preschool programs are offered for children ages 3-5. This program has less hands-on and more bugs to look at. We require that the preschool groups have no more than 15 children and have at least 2 adult helpers. These programs last 30 minutes. Please indicate that you are requesting a preschool program under Special Instructions in your request form.


Please not that the Insect Zoo charges the following fees for our programs
and displays:

School programs are $60.00 per 1-hour session (limit of 30 participants for each session).
Non-school programs are $87.50 per 1-hour session (limit of 30 participants for each session).

Birthday parties are $155.00 and include a 1 hour session with bugs plus an insect themed art project and an Insect Zoo t-shirt

Displays are $142.50 per hour with a minimum of 2 hours.

We offer family visits with reservations for $7.00 per person. Family visits are 1 hour with a limit of 7 people. Please indicate you would like a family visit on your form.

Mileage is an additional charge.

Please fill out a request form for a precise quote. Quotes will not be given via email or phone.

Please note that our geographic range is limited to the state of Iowa.

Contacting the Zoo

Please use our Request Forms to request tours and visits. If you have additional questions, please contact us:

Ginny Mitchell
Educational Program Coordinator
ISU Insect Zoo
440 Science II
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa 50011


Please note that we are often on the road presenting to schools and other groups. We will answer your request as soon as possible. Thank you!

The Insect Zoo-Community Outreach!

The Insect Zoo Engaging Young Minds

Iowa State University Department of Entomology Insect Zoo continues to educate Iowans.  The Insect Zoo was featured on the children’s segment of the Iowa Outdoors program. If you missed the show you can view it here.

Be sure to check out the Insect Zoo on Iowa Outdoors to see what fun we have at schools!