Audubon Buttery Fly Gardens and Insectarium

New Orleans has long had a reputation of being full of creepy, crawly things and leave it to this offbeat city to have a Bug Museum dedicated to them. It’s actually called the “Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium” but don’t let this lofty name fool you, because it’s filled with lots of critters that many people absolutely abhor….or adore!butterfly-leaf
Once you enter, get ready for a true experience that can best be described as “Beauty and the Beast”…because for every hideous Giant Hissing Cockroach that you’ll see, there’s a beautiful Monarch Butterfly waiting to greet you later on.
Most of the insects housed here are native to South Louisiana with a few specimens from far away to add the thrill. Let’s start with one species of the insects found in almost every house throughout our area…the roach! As I mentioned above, there is an imported Giant Hissing Cockroach that is the thing that horror movies are made of. But, the one exhibit that I found even more disturbing, is the one that at first glance seems to be a lovely antique wooden pantry filled with cans and items from the 1940s. As you pull the door open however, you notice that it’s overrun with thousands of common household roaches that seem ready to pour out and run up your arms.
Next you can move on to the Termite Gallery that lets you see how these destructive but industrious insects live in their nests of wood and lumber as they happily munch away on a wooden model of the city.
There are more exhibits featuring the more unsavory insects of the area but you’ll be happy to know that you’ll end your trip in one of the most serenely beautiful exhibits…the Asian-inspired Butterfly Garden…with its soothing Asian flute music and peaceful ponds. The moment you step inside the hot house, you’ll be amazed at the variety of butterflies swooping and soaring and flitting around with many of them coming to rest on your shoulder or out-stretched hand. It’s a very Zen way to end your day amongst the bugs of NOLA.
The Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectorium is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm with an adult admission of $16.95. But if you want a truly unusual souvenir of your trip, be sure and pick up a box of Chocolate Covered Ants or Deep-Fried Crickets to present to your friends back home from the Bug Appetit Store. They’ll either hate you for it…or love you for it…but always remember you with this creepy culinary treat you’ve brought back to them from your visit.

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