Located in downtown Victoria, British Columbia, the Victoria Bug Zoo is an indoor zoological park dedicated entirely to insect and invertebrate species, showcasing more than 50 unique species and offering interactive guided tours. The Victoria Bug Zoo was founded in 1997 by entomologist Carol Maier, who wished to increase public awareness and appreciation of insects and arachnids throughout the British Columbia community.
Meier is now the manager of International Bug Zoos, Incorporated, a company dedicated to expanding the Bug Zoo franchise to other international cities and tourist destinations and to training future generations of entomologists. In 2014, the original Victoria Bug Zoo facility was sold to the Victoria Bug Zoo, Incorporated corporation and is no longer affiliated with International Bug Zoos, though it remains open in its downtown Victoria location and retains its original programming.
Permanent Exhibits and Animals
Today, the Victoria Bug Zoo is owned and operated by Victoria Bug Zoo, Incorporated as a private indoor zoological park facility dedicated to the conservation and display of insect and invertebrate species. By allowing visitors to interact with insects in a controlled manner, the zoo strives to decrease fear of insect species and promote greater understanding of invertebrate creatures. Many of the zoo’s insects may be handled by visitors of all ages, although some species are reserved for adults only due to the sensitive nature of the creatures. A variety of public educational and special event programming is offered by the zoo, connecting the British Columbia community with the natural world.
The Victoria Bug Zoo facility consists of two rooms featuring more than 50 species of insects and arachnids, including the largest collection of tropical insects hosted anywhere within North America. The Zoo’s Ant Farm exhibit is the largest known ant farm in the nation. Visitors may observe leaf cutter ants transporting food, building tunnels, and reproducing within the exhibit. Other insect and invertebrate species on display include glow-in-the-dark scorpions, walking sticks, hairy tarantulas, millipedes, and praying mantises, which are displayed in exhibit cases and habitats throughout the facility. All insects on display at the zoo are live and active throughout the day in their tanks for visitor observation.
In addition to exhibit areas, the Victoria Bug Zoo offers a gift shop facility, selling a variety of insect-themed souvenirs and educational items, including books and multimedia, insect collection gear, and bug-themed apparel. Fine arts and crafts pieces depicting insects and arachnids created by local artisans are sold at the store, as well as unique items such as edible bugs. Gift certificates are also available at the facility, which is open to the public during regular zoo business hours.
The Victoria Bug Zoo is open year-round, offering business hours in the late morning and early afternoon throughout the week. Extended hours are available during school holiday break times, with current updated visitor information and hours available on the zoo’s website. Admission rates are available for adults, seniors, students, and children, with children four and under admitted free with paying guardian ticket. Annual zoo passes are available at a discounted admission rate. All children under the age of 13 visiting the facility must be accompanied by an adult guardian. No outside food or drink, tripods, commercial photography, or audible cell phones are permitted within the facility. The Victoria Bug Zoo is fully handicap-accessible, though no strollers are permitted within the main exhibit area.
Guided tours of the facility are available during regular business hours. Tour participants are encouraged to interact with zoo insects at their own comfort level. All insect handling experiences are supervised for safety by zoo employees. A variety of school and summer group trip programming is available for primary and secondary school students, including curriculum-incorporated field trip opportunities. All school group visits include hands-on time with insects and question-and-answer sessions with onsite insect handlers.
The Victoria Bug Zoo is located near the Inner Harbour area of downtown Victoria and is within walking distance of several other major area tourist attractions, including Beacon Hill Park. The large public park features a pond, petting zoo, playgrounds, water parks, gardens, walking paths, sports fields, and an event stage area. The park was formalized in 1882 and serves as the western end point of the Trans-Canada Highway. The Inner Harbour neighborhood of Victoria is a popular tourist destination. The waterfront area is the docking location for many resort ferries and passenger boats, making it the first part of the city that many visitors see upon arrival. A number of boutique and high-end retail stores are located within the neighborhood, along with popular restaurant chains, local cafes, and family-friendly museums.
631 Courtney St, Victoria, BC V8W, Canada, hone: 250-384-2847