Thanks for visiting!

This project is now in update mode. Check back regularly to see how things are progressing.

Insect Zoo's Eat-a-Bug experience

Raised toward our $4,000 Goal
25 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on June 29, at 09:00 AM CDT
Project Owners

Insect Zoo's Eat-a-Bug experience


The Iowa State University Insect Zoo is a traveling zoo. We visit schools, daycares, nursing homes, fairs, family nights and birthday parties all over Iowa. Since its creation in 1997, the Insect Zoo has sparked an interest in the natural world for children and adults of all ages. We have inspired children to reach out and find something they love within an animal that is more commonly feared. Since 2001 the Insect Zoo has reached approximately 253,108 Iowans.


You may have seen us at the Iowa State Fair or one of the many county fairs. Perhaps your child or grandchild has come home talking about what it means to be milli-pede, or that they got to touch Rosie, our Chilean rosehair tarantula. Or maybe you have a Maggot Masterpiece hanging on your fridge. The Insect Zoo wants to be apart of every Iowans life. We want to provide the very best hands-on, educational experiences for people of all ages and in every county.


Last year the Insect Zoo hosted its 1st annual Bug Village. This open house was held in the Science 2 building on campus. Wow, we were not prepared for the crowd that attended. We had approximately 800 people in the Science 2 building on a Wednesday! The participants enjoyed insect art, hands-on with bugs, cockroach races and our fabulous display of animals.


This year, the 2nd annual Bug Village will be held on Saturday, August 27th in the Atrium of the Molecular Biology building on the ISU campus. We will have plenty of space to stretch out in this beautiful space. We will have roach painting, racing roaches, hands-on with bugs and our display. We will also be showing insect movies AND hosting The Bug Chef, David George Gordon.


Here is a little about The Bug Chef

David George Gordon is the award-wining author of The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook and 19 other titles about wildlife and wild places.  As The Bug Chef, he’s shared his exotic cuisine with visitors to the Smithsonian Institution, Singapore Food Festival, Yale University,  Virginia Tech, The Explorers Club and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museums in Hollywood, San Francisco and Times Square.  He has appeared on The Late, Late Show With James Corden, Late Night With Conan O’Brien and The View.  To his peers, he is known as the Godfather of Insect Cuisine.  He lives in Seattle, Washington.

The Bug Chef will be doing LIVE cooking demonstrations for the guests of the Bug Village. Some of the tasty treats he will be cooking are deep-fried tarantulas and scorpions, grasshopper kabobs, mealworm tempura and more! What an exciting opportunity to see how these animals are prepared for human consumption. Those of the guests who truly want to savor in the experience will get to sample these exotic dishes! We will also have a display talking about entomophagy throughout the world. 


The Bug Chef will be a great addition to the 2nd annual Bug Village, but we need your help! A donation of any amount will help to get The Bug Chef here and offer an once-in-a-lifetime experience to the people of Iowa. 



Here is some love the Insect Zoo received from participants!

WE LOVE BUGS!!!!!!!! Last year Shuler Elementary in the Waukee Community School District had the amazing opportunity to have Ginny Mitchell come to our school to educate our second graders about insects.  The Insect Zoo program supports our second grade standards on the life cycle.  Ginny has a true love of insects and passion for her job to educate students that they can love bugs too!!!!!  My students were in awe of the insects and even the girls were proudly holding the bugs!  The other second grade teachers were so impressed with the hands on experience the students received that we have decided this program is a must in our curriculum every year!

Julia Roegiers                                                                                                                                                            Shuler Elementary                                                                                                                                                    Waukee Community School District


I am a community volunteer with Youth & Shelter Services in Ames.  We held a Chili Cook-off / auction fundraiser on February 28th, 2016, for the GRIP Mentoring Program in Boone and Story County. I am a member of the Chilly Chili Challenge Committee and was responsible for planning fun family activities to take place during our event.  I had previously been involved with an after school STEM program where we had invited the Insect Zoo to do a program for grades K-5 children. The Zoo did a fantastic job with those children and so I wanted to get them involved in the YSS event.  We asked the Zoo to set up an interactive display program. In addition to three knowledgeable Zoo staffers, they brought lots of amazing bugs for everyone to look at and touch. We had about 125 people at the event and many comments on our follow-up survey stated that the Zoo was one of their favorite parts of the event. 

The Insect Zoo was easy to contact, easy to work with, and so fun!  We loved having them at our event and would definitely ask them to participate again!


Karen Wickert                                                                                                                                                                   YSS Chilly Chili Challenge Committee                                                                                                                           YSS GRIP Mentor


Ginny our students love the insects.  You always include the really cool millipedes with lots of legs, the mealworms that do tricks, the hissing cockroaches that hiss when the students are quiet.  The students love learning about the insects.  Some with fears of insects find out they do not have to be afraid.  Our students help pay the fee to cover the cost of the insects.  It is so worth the expense.  We usually have the program come to our school at the conclusion of our unit of the study of insects.  The students have a good base knowledge of what is an insect.  It is a great program and we are so fortunate to be able to get you to come to our school.  

Mrs. Cathy Soukup                                                                                                                                                           St. Jude Elementary                                                                                                                                                       2nd Grade Teacher


Has the Insect Zoo impacted your life in some way? Want to share your Bug Love? Send your love to the Insect Zoo at We will post your Bug Love in our updates!

Choose a giving level


Bug Friend!

As a Bug Friend you know how important bugs are to our earth! Your donation will help to get items like cooking oil for The Bug Chef's cooking demonstrations. At this donation level your name will be added to the Bug Wall of Fame at the Bug Village. Thank you!


Bug Hugger!

As a Bug Hugger, you help our bugs find a new place to live when found in your home! Your donation will help to pay for lodging and transportation while The Bug Chef is visiting Iowa State University. At this donation level your name will be added to the Bug Wall of Fame at the Bug Village. Thank you!


Bug Hero!

You are a Bug Hero! You help our bugs by stepping over them, not on them. Your donation will help get The Bug Chef from Washington to Iowa. At this donation level your name will be added to the Bug Wall of Fame at the Bug Village and you will receive a handwritten thank you from the Insect Zoo. Thank you!


Bug Whisperer!

As a Bug Whisperer you know the secrets of bugs. You know they aren't as bad as some people make them out to be. Your donation will help to pay our dues to The Bug Chef for his culinary expertise. At this donation level your name will be added to the Bug Wall of Fame at the Bug Village, you will receive a handwritten thank you from the Insect Zoo and an Insect Zoo bumper sticker. Thank you!


Bug Lover

You are a Bug Lover! You love bugs and can't get enough of the Insect Zoo. Going above and beyond our monetary goal will help us provide new enclosures for our beloved animals. At this donation level your name will be added to the Bug Wall of Fame at the Bug Village, you will receive a handwritten thank you from the Insect Zoo, an Insect Zoo bumper sticker and an invitation for 2 to a private cooking demonstration by The Bug Chef on August 26th, 2016.

Our Crowdfunding Groups