The Insectarium is getting a complete facelift. The museum closed on March 11 for an overhaul that will take two years to complete and cost $36-million. The new Insectarium will have more species of insects, be able to accommodate more visitors, renew its educational programs and have bigger, better facilities.
The current building will be demolished, and the new museum will be an all-glass building featuring a big vivarium (a structure to keep animals under semi-natural conditions for observation or study) and an underground tunnel system.
Museum Director Anne Charpentier says that the new concept will be based on a more immersive visitor experience. “We want visitors to see and feel the world like an insect,” she says. “It will be an innovative insectarium that you won’t be able to see anywhere in the world.”
The building will first bring visitors down a tunnel where they can experience the perspectives of different insects. Families will be able to see the world with multi-faceted eyes like a bee, balance on stems like a cricket, crawl into holes and niches like larvae, feel vibrations through their body to hear like an insect, and experience what it’s like to be a fly on the ceiling.
The vivarium will be home to numerous butterflies and other free-flying insects. Other features will include a space for the large collection of dried insects, a workshop area with craft activities for parents and kids, and an outside garden dedicated to pollinators in the summer.
The current building is almost 30 years old, and Charpentier says that the Insectarium has far exceeded initial expectations. “From day one, it was popular,” she says, adding that the museum no longer has the space or services for the number of people who visit. The museum plans to reopen the beginning of summer 2021. This reconstruction is the latest in a series of renovations of the Space for Life museums, which include the Insectarium, Biodome, Planetarium and Botanical Garden.
The Biodome has been closed for renovations for the past year and is set to reopen by Christmas 2019.
For more information on these attractions, visit espacepourlavie.ca.