August 15, 2017 by lkreslins
by Laris Kreslins, Bartram’s Garden
This year marks the first year that Dr. John Cambridge of The Philadelphia Insectarium & Butterfly Pavilion will be participating in Honey Fest. We’re so grateful to have him participate and share his wealth of knowledge concerning our great pollinators. The Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion is a local treasure, now in its first year back open following the ground-up renovations, the museum is an oasis of hands on activities for people of all ages. The space and programming are in constant evolution recently adding new interactive touch screen games and an updated Butterfly Pavilion. Definitely worth a visit if you have the time and are interested in first-hand activities with everything from bees to Simandoa cave roaches.
Why is participating in the Philadelphia Honey Festival Important to you?
We are supporters of pollinator education and community engagement so it’s natural for us to partner with the Philadelphia Honey Festival. We will be at all the days of Honeyfest showcasing our amazing live insects, giving presentations on honey bee and insect ecology topics, and running interactive demo’s with kids!
Can you share your favorite honey or bee related story?
Well, that’s a hard question because “favorite” locks you down and we have tons of great honey bee stories at the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion. However, here’s a new one: we have a new observation hive at the museum we just put in a few weeks ago. It’s actually just a weird custom prototype at the moment. People can come and explore the hive to learn about the structure of the inside as well as observe honey bee behavior. When we were installing the exhibit, we had to actually sculpt a bunch of existing hive combs that had thousands of buzzing bees on them. We created a small room out of mesh curtain material and then just began molding the living frames to fit in our new weird hive. I was expecting that the air would be absolutely thick with bees but that wasn’t the case at all. A few did definitely fly around but they mostly just crawled all over everything and hung out by the windows. The surprising thing was I didn’t get stung at all during the process. What makes it even more interesting is that I was not wearing protective gear. Bees are amazing!
After the festival, what programming might The Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion have for honey and bee enthusiasts?
We have tons of educational honey bee/pollinator programs for people to come check out.
Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion; regular hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Sunday, 8046 Frankford Ave., $11.95 (general admission); $9.95 (seniors, first responders, students, children 3-13); free (children under two); $9.00 (group rate), 215-335-9500, www.phillybutterflypavilion.com.