View a video clip of an Insect Zoo visit!
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:
On Campus Visit
The insect zoo is currently housed in the Science II building at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Accommodating groups of more than 15 can be difficult and special arrangments will need to be made. Groups of more than 30 are coordinated with other tours on campus allowing visitors to experience other aspects of Iowa State. The Insect Zoo Display Room readily captivates visitors and it is easy to spend up to 45 minutes there. At least 30 minutes per program is suggested. In general, older students ask more questions and require more time to complete a tour.
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.
Insect Zoo Visits
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 two 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 at least 45-60 minutes and can last up to 90 minutes depending on your time requirements. 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 1-2 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.
Please note that the Insect Zoo charges for all of our programs. For precise quotes, please contact us. We will contact you as soon as possible to set up a date and to answer your questions.
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:
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!