Washington A new Smithsonian Institution exhibit of creepy crawly creatures takes to the road soon in an effort to demystify the often-misunderstood insects for the country's grade-school students.
The exhibit, which is packed in a colorful 18-wheel truck, will feature interactive displays, a small theater and plenty of preserved insects. Local entomologists will display their live counterparts outside the truck, all aimed at teaching first- through fifth-graders about the role insects play in the ecosystem.
The $2.2 million exhibit, the Smithsonian O. Orkin Traveling Safari, is a condensed version of the popular O. Orkin Insect Zoo on permanent exhibit in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington. The traveling exhibit will visit schools, museums and shopping malls in more than 100 cities across the United States. Admission is free.
Officials at Orkin Pest Control hatched the idea as a way to recognize the company's 2001 centennial. The exhibit's truck is under construction in Atlanta, where it will premiere March 1. It will wind up its cross-country tour in November.
Information about the tour, geared mostly to schoolteachers, is available on the Web.